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spindly spinach, herbs and sheaths

September 27, 2011

on friday, we got our last transplants of the season in the ground — a final bed of fall spinach. transplanting, with the extra-small seedlings and only janet on the back, was an experiment in just how slow i could make the tractor go.

looking back from the driver’s seat, the 3 lines of tiny spinach led directly to one of the farm’s few established trees (seen in 3 of the photos below) bracing itself against the cold fall wind. the recent transplants in neighboring beds still looked small and tentative, growing slowly in the cooler temperatures and shortening days. during the 40 minutes it took us to creep along the 100-foot bed, zoe the farm dog zigzagged across the fields, compensating for our pace with her energetic explorations.

saturday found me at the annual biodynamic preparation day at zinniker farm, the oldest biodynamic farm in the united states (and new location of the biodynamic association‘s office). a mix of several dozen old timers and newcomers came out for the afternoon to help prepare and bury the preparations, combinations of herbs and animal parts used in biodynamic farming to inoculate compost and improve the soil and crops.

of the nine preparations recommended by steiner, we worked with four on saturday: 500 – horn manure, 503 – chamomile, 505 – oak bark and 506 – dandelion. the children especially enjoyed burying the manure-filled horns in the garden, jumping in and out of the twin holes and grasping the horns with great enthusiasm. the preparations will be unearthed in the spring, transformed by their winter underground into sweet-smelling, humus-like medicine for the land.

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