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Garden-Servant Update: fertility, nourishment, & water in temperate climate mid-spring

There comes a time in mid spring in the edible forest garden, when the impulse to reproduce is strong among plants, insects, & animals. I often witness this in May, just before the main roses & peonies bloom, and just as many of the fruiting trees & shrubs have gone from blossoms, to tiny fruits (smaller than peas). During this time I sense a high need for water & nourishment from many plants all at the same time.


There is a balance in co-creating with a garden, between using your human energy to provide water & nourishment needs, and letting the garden's resilience strengthen through reaching its roots deeper for the water and nourishment. I sometimes miss that ideal balance, and the plants can show signs of stress and needing my attention if they are to survive & thrive.


This spring I'm again at that point, where my impulse to be in service to the garden is in high gear. (ie garden-servant). I'm driven to provide water to my fruiting plants by carting out all the hoses & watering cans and not trusting that it will rain in just a few more days. I get up extra early in the mornings half awake to spray compost tea to the plant leaf's stomas to provide an extra boost of nourishment, since our temperate soils are often still too cold to release nutrients. I'm often behind on planting all my summer edible crops and behind 'harvesting' the wild guardian plants for the compost pile before they set seed (ie. what some folks perceive as weeding).


Maintaining a peaceful walk may be a challenge, during this high demand time to plant, water, harvest, nourish, prune, deadhead, answer client questions & coach new gardeners, host & attend garden tours/classes/work-parties, and its a challenge I'm graced to experience. As my walk on the earth lengthens, I'm more drawn to watch the bees, listen to the birds, and Be-Still in each moment, frequently enough to witness the miraculous visual, auditory, & olfactory natural symphony of beauty & wonder that is unfolding right before me almost hour by hour.


I also notice a fertile population explosion of insects (ie aphids, ladybugs, worms, slugs, etc) and of disease & virus. Those fertility cycles sometimes give me a scare...but my walk has been to chose to put my energies into increasing biodiversity and soil/plant nourishment rather than putting my energies towards fighting & destroying another life form. Yes it does make sense to study & observe these life forms, and I occasionally will find a way to move these critters away from my pampered plants, to another wilder location. It is important for each of us to enjoy the wild areas within our gardens & yards, that are a places of refuge containing a diversity of life forms: plant & animal eating, insect eating, scavengers, and predators.


May we remember that humans are within the cycle of nature. We have the choice to destroy or change what has been created (the power of the blade), or the choice to co-create & nourish life (the power of the chalice).



I embrace the Beloved Mystery - of Spirit - of Life - of Creation...

We may have been created from stardust and to stardust the body may return.


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The author, Heather works as an ecologist, consultant, & educator for a business that does ecological design & restorations for home sanctuaries & larger landscape-planning.

“Co-Creating With Nature's Wisdom: - 'Organic – Sacred – Intuitive' “ . She is certified as a permaculture designer, a graduate of Warren Wilson College, and has worked within the fields of education, horticulture, medical/therapy, and cares for numerous edible-forest-gardens in both temperate & tropical locations.

She is in recovery from 'western civilization', and frequently escapes the online & industrialized world, walking barefooted within wildlands & garden sanctuaries

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Comment by David MacLeod on May 21, 2010 at 5:35pm
Lovely blog post Heather! And thank you for the reply to my concerns.
Comment by Heather K on May 18, 2010 at 3:01pm
Summary response to my friends question about insects in his fruit trees:

* Make yourself a cup of warm brew and go outside and observe your garden & trees & use all your senses to breath in deep the wonders unfolding.
* Water the trees deeply once a week, provide some extra nourishment through foliar feeding when you're able, prune out & remove dead wood or heavy insect infestation, and research the insects life cycle and take action based on what you learn and intuit.
* Share your experience with others....Make a cup of brew....Be outside listening....

David, link that was provided on the winter moth by the ag-extension looks good:

If you have just moved into a new home, often the best thing to do at a new homeland, is observation for a whole year – full solar seasonal cycle.
Some of your choices are the “Do Nothing” method of waiting it out with the critters, or the “Manipulative, Armed & Dangerous' methods.....or the method I've described above of “Co-creating as a Garden Servant providing water & nourishment & diversity”

Winter Moth Infestation discussion post at:

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