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  • Elie

The Making of Dirt

The Brown layer

The bio-dynamic slurry

Cow Manure Mix

Two Dirty Witches

The art and science of compost making is as ancient as dirt. Soil in the modern age is in dire condition, polluted with toxic chemicals, heavy metals and acid rain. It is dead and void of life and love. Farmers of old knew how to reincorporate old plant material, animal manure, kitchen scraps and all sorts of outdoor debris from trees, shrubs, herbs and vegetables. They knew when to add layers to piles of plant matter, they watched the moon turn to new and be in a fire sign. Creating a good compost, full of worms and microbes, bacteria, was the essential food for new crops. Each new planting was fertilized by the death of the old season. It is the true way of nature.

I consider Saturday to be the best day for composting. Saturn rules death, old age, degeneration. Saturn and Mars rule destruction. And a compost pile is a destruction of all the layers of material to create heat and dampness and a sacred space for all sorts of life. Worms, bugs, bacteria. The rich blackness of great Earth.

We use Rudolf Steiner's Bio-dynamic methods of organic farming. We use planetary hours and general astrological conditions to determine when and what to do in the garden. So last night, when I got home from a long day of psychic readings at the shop, I mixed up a batch of bio-dynamic compost bacteria starter paste. It has to cure 12 hours before use. Ed spent the day gathering the raw material. Most of this comes from our gardens and surrounds. Old banana palm fronds, all old vine and weed material, leaves of elephant ears, herb scraps, small branches pruned from our trees, the dirt from the existing compost pile. We buy a couple of pasture hay bales and some organic hen and cow manure. All these things are staged in piles near the compost area. Ed fills our rain barrels with city water and lets them stand for 24 hours to get rid of the chlorine. Then the fun begins at dawn, the first planetary hour of Saturn on Saturday.

The recipe we use is simple, green, brown, black; green, brown, black. First on the ground in a huge pile of the largest green plant material, the banana palms and the tree branches. A full watering can of the compost starter is applied onto every single layer. So I am mixing the slurry with the rain barrel water in a watering can. Then a layer of brown leaves and hay, then a layer of manure. Back to the green layer with bunches of smaller plant and vine debris, slurry water, brown leaves and hay, slurry water, manure, slurry water. Building and building in a pyramid shape until we are out of stuff. A final watering in with the remainder of the bacteria starter. We always add our coffee grounds, egg shells and kitchen produce scraps into the pile. Wow. Incredible. In two months this will be a huge pile of organic compost fertilizer food for our garden. Shovel full after glorious shovel full will be mixed in with our soil. Mother Nature, the Goddess of us all will sing and smile and be full of love.

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