Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Biodynamic compost at Brantwood

Last Thursday we were in the Lake District at Brantwood, Ruskin's house on a hillside by Coniston Water, a garden that we love and have visited many times. Sally Beamish is the Head Gardener at Brantwood and they have just held the 2nd Northern Biodynamic Spring Conference there. As well as trialling biodynamic methods at the garden, the Conferance enabled Brantwood to become a conduit for linking hill shepherds, gardeners, farmers and anyone interested in biodynamic culture. Sally is following the 2008 Northern Hemisphere Astro Calendar of Brian Keats and Stefan Mager - we hadnt come across this one, using the Thun's calendar ourselves (see my other posts) but it did seem to have a nice clarity in its layout, a more pictorial approach.

The photo above is of Sally's compost heap which is in the pretty orchard below the house. It was more than twice as high when made and has sunk to this level, topped by sheep's wool and incorporating biodynamic preparations. Around the orchard are examples of the six major plants used in some of the preparations - yarrow, chamomile, nettle, dandelion, valerian and oak bark. We havent so far experimented with these preparations at Chesters Walled Garden but think we will in future to see how they work. Sally is doing an agricultural trial at Brantwood with chromatography soil testing to measure the effects from biodynamic preparations against untreated turf.

This picture is of the woven lattice fence in the herb garden at Brantwood, beautifully made of thin layers of locally harvested wood.

No comments: