Saturday 19th March | Fern Verrow

Saturday 19th March

Today according to the biodynamic planting calendar, is a prime opportunity for us to be sowing leaf crops in the Northern Hemisphere. The moon has moved from the twins (Gemini) to the crab, a water element.

Now why follow a calendar?

Let us  imagine we had no clocks or watches or any man-made devices for time-telling. No diaries, no calendars, no news bulletins on the radio and no-one on television to tell us the hour.  How would we begin to register the passing of time?

We would look to the natural phenomena around us. The rising sun would herald the day and its setting and disappearing over the western horizon would signal for us the coming of night. If we were to take note of where the Sun appeared in the East each morning and how high it climbed in the sky through the course of the day we would see this change ever so slightly each day. And if we continued our daily observations from the same location, after about 365 days,  the Sun  would be rising and setting in the same positions as when we began. And as we took note and acknowledged where the Sun was each day in the sky, we would notice the changes of temperature and in the weather and the changes in the trees and plants  around us and we might identify these changes into four seasons.  A more frequent cycle to observe would be the movement of the Moon around us every 27 days which we would notice from its filling (waxing) and emptying (waning) of light.  If we continued to observe the Sun and Moon we would notice that their movements were all taking place within a framework of certain “fixed stars” which retain their relative positions in the sky. We would see the Sun, Moon and planets continually changing positions within these constellations and we would probably give these constellations names, and the names would mark the Sun’s movement and behavior throughout the year. (Zodiac- from Greek “Zo-idion”- “living creature”).

This mnemonic lists the Zodiac in order that the Sun and Moon travel within them, ( as we observe the Sun and Moon travelling around us) and starts at the Vernal equinox, or the beginning of Spring where day and night are in equal measures.

The Ram, the Bull, the Heavenly Twins

And next the Crab the Lion Shines,

The Virgin and the Scales;

The Scorpion, Archer and He-Goat,

The Man who bears the Watering-Pot

And the Fish with the glittering tails.

So today has been a day that is beneficial to the sowing of leaf crops. So that is indeed what we have done, the first of the year. Temperatures are cool but the light hours are long and we should have germination over the next few weeks. We have sown lettuces, red florence onions, fennel, parsley and some sweet cicely for the most wonderful herb tea, and an old favourite summer savoury.  Harry has had his first sortie of the year on the land with the tractor and tynes, lifting and working the ground ready for the very important process of muckspreading early next week. The soil is looking very good with the freezing temperatures of December and January having worked their magic. The extended and excessive cold has penetrated deep into the soil, and and the dry conditions of the past month making our job an easier and a less stressfull time.  Tomorrow is a fruit day and we will be sowing tomatoes, courgette and sweet corn. We do much of our sowing in module trays and raise the young plants in a semi controlled enviroment to give them a chance to get established. With a few more dry days and hopfully a little sunshine, the soil will be ready for planting the new potatoes and the main crop onions.

This week at the Arch we have some nice swiss chard and spinach for sale, herb wise we have parsley, chervil and coriander from our greenhouse and some organic mint from Hampshire. The last of the red russian kale. Eggs are more plentiful, and with the newly purchased hens we should have many more eggs in the coming weeks. Please look out for some goose egg lemon curd for sale too this weekend. The goose eggs are very rich and we think makes the very best lemon curd. No meat sadly this week, after having our van broken into last week with all the bacon and hams stolen! Someone around the Elephant and Castle area have been eating like kings at breakfast time this week. Next week we will have chicken and duck for sale. The chickens will be quite large, as they will be cockerels, the hens will be happy we think to see a few less around as they ( the cockerels) are rather frisky with spring on its way. By the way, for Easter we have a few Turkeys and Ducks for sale, if you would like one we are happy to take orders, so please drop us an email to reserve one

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