Organic garden

Organic garden

 
One of the pillars of the project is our work and enjoyment on the land. We are surrounded by fantastic and intoxicating countryside: forests, fields, paths, stars, animals, air, crystalline water... we hope to learn and collaborate on this natural, holistic and organic journey that surrounds us, little by little returning us to our natural ways of living.
 
The vegetable garden is our little school for this education. How can we boost the soil biology, rehydrate the earth, harvest the rainwater and regenerate the land making it more fertile and productive without external inputs?
 

How do we create our “own” ecology at Collesplanes?

Levi Strauss said that our greatest error is that we always see ourselves as the “masters of creation.”
The philosophy of Fukuoka is based on working with nature, not against her; it’s the philosophy of meticulous and meditative observation, more than meticulous and thoughtful work.
“Our” vegetable garden is an experimental plot where we work on our most recent joy, a Vegetable Garden Mandala our organic vegetable garden and our rotational vegetable garden. We are sometimes led by the stars and the biodynamic forces of Rudolf Steiner, whil all we do is 100% organic and in search of the path to our own vegetable garden.
 

Slow Food Terres de Lleida tell us:

“Bring the producer closer to the consumer, by which we reduce costs, reduce CO2 emissions and cut distances to a minimum, and improve freshness and quality.

Reincorporate into our gastronomic culture seasonal foods and maximum utility.

Return to making homemade preserves and jam with fruits and vegetables at their best.

Return to making cakes and biscuits for our children without additives and preservatives.

Recuperate and enjoy traditional cuisine linked to the land and its natural cycle through the products its offers us.

Contribute to the creation of a good food education based on natural products, quality, consciousness of the importance of diet for our health and the benefits we should take from medicinal plants and other natural therapies. The future of health depends on our diet.

 

Harvesting wild strawberries
A fallow plot at Collsesplanes
Free range organic fed chickens
Heritage tomato harvest
A view down onto the organic vegetable garden
The start of the mandala garden

Organic & Ecological

The vegetable garden is a system for growing crops, in which work is carried our according to the principles of nature. Whilst in traditional agriculture today, work is carried out along the lines of “what can I demand from the soil?”, the organic vegetable garden belongs to ecological agriculture that works along the lines of “what can the soil give me?”

  • Growing crops organically implies:
  • Don’t destroy the earth;
  • Use the vegetable waste generated in the home;
  • Don’t use synthetic chemical pesticides o control insects and disease;
  • Don’t accelerate growth using chemical fertilizers or hormones;
  • Maintain and improve biological diversity (through crop variety);
  • Improve the soil, using natural composts and rotating crops.

Creating an organic vegetable garden is a simple and efficient way of cultivating vegetables intensively without great effort or the use of machinery. The work is only at the beginning of the construction, when you “work” the soil just the once, to later leave it.

Organic tomatoes - heritage seeds

Biodynamic

What we expect from biodynamic agriculture is not bright, shiny and large fruits and vegetables, but healthy crops that are vigorous and full of energy, including spiritual energy… food for the soul. This would seem pretentious, but it is born of good intentions. By way of explanation here’s an extract from an article by Ricardo Colmenares, “Scientific grounds and the technical foundations of biodynamic agriculture”.

Biodynamic agriculture has emerged since the drive for cultural renovation lead by the Austrian Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), framed by what he referred to as Spiritual Science or Anthroposophy. What is commonly known from this is the branch of teaching applied at the famous Waldorf Schools.

In particular, the fundamentals that gave rise to the development of the biodynamic agriculture movement as we know it today were established in a series of eight conferences given by Steiner in June 1924 at a farm located in Koberwitz, Breslau (Poland) of around 7,500 cultivated hectares. The contents of the lectures can be found in a book known as “Agriculture Course” (Ed. R Steiner 1988).

This book is the basis for the first year of study in biodynamic agriculture imparted by the, Asociación Española de Agricultura Biodinámica.

Today any reference about the origins of ecological agriculture, as a diverse social movement, dynamic and innovative, when considering the relationship of human beings with Nature, and her transformation into food and items for consumption, inevitably draws on the pioneering role exercised by the biodynamic agriculture movement.

Fundamentals of biodynamic agriculture

The concept of the farm as a being, as an individual, is one of the basic concepts of biodynamic agriculture that was rapidly adopted by organic agriculture, its inseparable companion in the path of evolution towards ecological agriculture, which took its name precisely from this fact (Scofield, 1986): The farm is considered to be an organic whole, alive and dynamic, a unit in itself, sustainable and ecologically stable, biodynamically complete and balanced”. That’s to say, the distinct activities, components and structures of the farm act like its vital organs that maintain the health of the whole.

The influence of the planet and the stars on the farm

Rudolf Steiner doesn’t share the organic vision of the earth that is proposed by the modern Gaia hypothesis, he goes further and proposes an organic concept of the universe as an ecosystem where our planet interacts with other celestial bodies from the Solar System and with stars fixed within the zodiac that are annually traversed. With the particular feature that life on Earth comes from and depends on the communication between the centre, our planet, and the periphery, the cosmos.

Biodynamic preparations

The use of biodynamic preparations, as described by Steiner in his Agriculture Course, plays a central role in the practices of this school of ecological agriculture. Its objective is to promote the vital processes within the individuality of the farm and also its surroundings, both near and far.

As the renowned French (also known in Catalonia) biodynamic assessor Xavier Florin (1990) says, if one wants to start practicing biodynamic agriculture, one should start with the fundamentals and apply three basic medicines that traverse three essential stages: 1) fertilise with compost that contains the biodynamic compost preparations, 2) the application of the cow horn manure or the 500 preparation, 3) the application of the horn silica preparation (501).

These preparations are responsible for improving the aroma, the taste and the colour of the fruits for consumption according to the individual nature of the cultivated plant, but also the capacity for reproduction, the viability and the vigour of its seeds.

 

Biodynamic agriculture Catalonia
Making biodynamic agriculture preparations
"Horse tail" used for biodynamic agriculture
Making biodynamic agriculture preparations1
Making biodynamic agriculture preparations2
Biodynamic agriculture Catalonia

Permaculture

Mandala Vegetable Garden

We are experimenting with a garden whose plots are organized in the form of a Mandala. It’s understood that a Mandala has a circular form, with a balanced geometric equilibrium. The word comes from Sanskrit and specifically defines an ancestral symbolism from India and Tibet, a symbolism that evokes a world view: where our world is seen integrated in a greater and total body, the universe, and interrelated with each of its parts…

But not only have these millennial oriental cultures used circular symbolism in their spiritual collective imagination, but coincidentally numerous ancient cultures from different parts of the planet have used it to express their world view and as a ritual element, contemplative, meditative, medicinal, etc… to grant them healing properties: to harmonise, to balance, to centre etc.

Mandala vegetable garden
The pond, the mandala's centre point
The pond is essential for biodiversity
A view of the mandala from above
Anton, one of the creators with some of the first harvest
Working at the water's edge