By Darby Smith of Sun Dog Farm in Blairsville, Ga.
Life is an explosive force. There is no better time to witness this than early Spring. As the seeds emerge, the buds pop, and the ephemeral wild flowers set into bloom, the lush greenery is once again utilizing the power of the sun to expand, renew and reclaim. The roots and flowers of these plants embrace the essences of the celestial bodies to sculpt the world around them and restore texture to the valley. Praying mantis nests quiver with the activity of this year’s population, anxious to emerge. Thrushes and sparrows sing songs to the dance of new insect life, and hawks of all tribes congregate to surf the thermal lifts above our heads. Tadpoles have hatched, the bats are on wing, snakes are sunning themselves, and the season of sowing is here.
The farm transforms as the days grow longer. Seeds of all Spring and Summer varieties have burst, spreading their cotyledons, and our cold frames offer up the first of the transplants to be relocated in the garden. Navigating the rain and Stella Natura Planting Calendar, we continue the annual process of breaking down cover crop, preparing, and seeding the landscape. During this time of increased natural creativity and creation, I am reminded of the clean slate that exists in Spring. Throughout our lives it is inevitable to get distracted and ignore our inner voice. Spring acts as a fresh start, beckoning us to wake up by looking inward and acting outward. We have shed the burdens of 2014 and move into 2015 with limitless possibility. All we have to do is act.
Action is the agenda on all layers of the farm organism and surrounding ecology. Pregnancy gives way to lambs and chicks as fecundity hangs heavy in the foggy morning air. Wildlife carry out their intoxicated battles, bringing forth new life without a thought about what the world will hold for their miraculous contributions. As we transition from winter into the season of green, the energies on the Earth are shifting. The center-seeking polarity of limestone spent the winter months coaxing the forces of the cosmos inward, storing within the soil the powers to spur the explosion of Spring, buried under the happy biology of decomposing life.
As the days grow in temperature and light, the influences of Silica bring those energies from the soil into the atmosphere. Silica, governing the essences of reproduction, delights in the warm weather and utilizes the biological pathways constructed over the winter, in partnership with carbon structure, to create and enhance the edible fruiting bodies that grace our fields. As we continue our march into the season of tomatoes, watermelons, peppers, and eggplant, miracles are happening on every level of this complex exchange.
The nutrients within the soil have gone through an incredible transformation just as spectacular as any caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis. As the roots snake their way deeper into the humified soil, microorganisms meet them with nutrients mined from the sub soil. The roots respond symbiotically, as nature is prone to do, with delicious, sugary root exudates that keep the biology alive.
This relationship allows the plants to seek the nutrients they need to complete biological bridges necessary to grow leaves, produce flowers, and eventually create complex structures that we get to eat. The more balanced the nutrients are in the soil, the more expedited and harmonized the growth pattern of the crops. And so it goes, from weeds to trees, grasses to kale, life building upon life in an attempt to fill every nook and cranny with something to share, a place to hide, and or something beautiful whose artistry could only exist within the boundless imagination of the natural world.
This time of action calls to our weary, weathered souls and brings with it a renewed energy to seek harmony within our own growing beings. As our muscles are reminded of their strength, of their seasonal movements and challenges, our minds become stabilized by the busy schedule of the season racing for the finish line. Before we know it we are a part of it; our entanglement with it molding us into the rhythm of our valley. I walk at night, when the frog songs and insect choirs synchronize and sway, and I can hardly tell where the soil ends and my feet begin.