Lecture by Alan Chadwick in Saratoga, May 16, 1972
Lecture 3, Part 3.6
An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms
The full text of this lecture segment
Contents of this Segment:
Carnations need oyster shell because the origin species grew along the seashore on ancient shell deposits; Live lime as a disinfectant; Seaweeds restore vitality in plants; Bracken fern as natural disinfectant, mulch in strawberry bed, and frost inhibitor.
Villa Montalvo Lecture Series
Saratoga, California, 1972, Lecture 3,
Fertilization, Part 6
...You will get far better scent, far better quality, far better juice, far better bloom on the foliage. And it’ll bring out all the attributes, because it’s happy. It’s in its emanation, its environment.
Limestone rock: Then the three matters that concern lime. Now, as you understand, lime comes from an endless marine deposit of fishbone and snail, and it comes from chalk, to put it into a phraseology. And therefore, live lime is fired chalk. So that when you put water with it, it bubbles and boils and will blister you. In other words, it’s a first class agricultural destructor, if you need one. If you’ve had a terrible epidemic of slug, or egg of some troubles, snails, or mildew, or even moss, a dressing of live lime in the Fall, on your ground before cultivation, will eradicate this problem by a kind of firing of it, cleansing in other words. It’s a huge disinfector. It’s violent. You must never, you must never resort to it as a continual use. But, there is every attribute in using it in sour soils, in really sour soils, once in three years, as a corrector. It’s a natural procedure. That is live lime. But it will burn slightly.
If you want, the two members that will not burn, and that are equally effective in sweetening your soil as a disinfectant, but will not destroy slugs and snails and and so on, you should use agricultural lime, or basic slag. Now, some of these things you will say “Well I’ve never heard of them.” Well the little book that I will bring with the address will tell you where you can get them, and then you will hear of them.
Seaweeds: Seaweeds, even in the total scientific laboratory world have just been discovered as one of the huge controllers of the problem of weak juices in plants, as a result of chemicalization, fertilization. That they bring about the sound juices in a plant, which cause an animal or an insect to have enough if they have a little, and also the vitality in the juices in the plant that withstand the areas of atmospheres. In other words, they do not fall prone to diseases. Seaweed is entirely in line with the many herbs that I am going to talk about tonight. Would someone please tell me the time, and make sure I’m not over-running things? Nine? Is it really? Gracious. Well, I... We’ll have to tread on the accelerator a lot. If I go too fast, just shout out.
Now, I must touch on Bracken. Bracken is a fern, I am sure you all know it. It grows all over the world. It grows in the tropics. It even grows up into the arctic regions. It is a fern which has a lateral root like that, and then, what do you call it, horizontal? No, horizontal is there, and lateral is there. Yes? Vertical, thank you. As I say, it grows all over, anywhere almost. The only thing is that it’s almost impossible to cultivate. It will not respond to man’s attentions. And that is the way in which you can eradicate it, of course. But it has enormous attributes, and Steiner introduced me to this plant when I was a boy, very largely. It has huge qualities. It is a natural disinfectant. It does not... It is not inhabited by any insects. If you want a mulch for your strawberry bed, don’t use straw if you get woodlice, use bracken. You won’t get them. It does not… It is not inhabited by slugs and snails.
It has other extraordinary qualities. It is this: As a mulch, particularly in soft fruits, berries and so on, it is a complete eradicator of the entry of frost. Quite a thin layer of fresh bracken… I don’t mean bracken mold, I mean the fronds of dried bracken, spread on the ground, just lightly, like a blanket. Frost does not penetrate. And, the extraordinary matter is that it operates exactly the same in the summer from sun scorch. Sun scorch does not penetrate the bracken mulch at all. And the capillary goes on underneath, and contains a very healthy soil. Most mulches produce an unhealthy area. Bracken produces a healthy area. Apart from that, it has enormous mineral qualities which are absolutely unique to it as a soil manufacturer. And if anybody has adobe, or a clay soil, nothing is finer for bringing about a texture in that soil and lightening it and breaking it up than bracken. You… I’m sure everybody knows that you can go and collect cart-loads of it, and nobody says anything. And they’re almost grateful if you will do it, and they’ll think you a complete lunatic, imbecile to collect it. It’s invaluable. It’s also beautiful for storing in, instead of straw. It’s much cleaner, generally. So, bracken is very much part of the garden...