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Erfurt, Germany: Peace Palace offers hands-on course in Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture
by Global Good News writer
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9 May 2014
In his second visit to the Maharishi Peace Palace in Erfurt, Germany, Dr Peter Swan went into great detail on organic gardening while teaching a popular course he created about Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture.
Please see Part I of this series: Erfurt, Germany: Role of Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture in creating ideal cities
Dr Swan started with a public lecture, Introduction to Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture and Gardening. Besides local practitioners of Transcendental Meditation, many people from the surrounding areas attended. In the introduction and throughout the course, Dr Swan emphasized the importance of organic agriculture and of eating organic food. He explained that conventional agriculture, with all its sprays and toxic treatments, poisons the food supply. To avoid ingesting a dose of toxins with every meal, he suggested selecting organic foods at the grocery store.
The course was organized so that the theoretical material was offered during two weekends. During the week, as the practicum for the course, participants applied what they had learned.
In the first lesson course participants learned how to analyze the condition (fertility, etc.) of soil. As land adjacent to the Maharishi Peace Palace was available for a garden, it was natural to test the suitability of the soil for planting. Analysis revealed the soil needed a substantial amount of compost to amend and nourish it.
Dr Swan taught the class how to make 'tea' from compost, which is used to fight off an array of pests, as well as to maximize crop growth and production. Once the compost tea is steeped it is applied to both plants and ground. Using Dr Swan's microscope, course participants were able to view the transformations created by the tea in the soil.
The course project was to plant 150 square metres of no-till potatoes. The impetus for this specific project came from research results showing that for the past nine years potatoes grown using the no-till method have yielded 17 per cent more than those grown conventionally.
To prepare the ground they first covered it with large pieces of sturdy cardboard, to prevent weeds from coming through. Instead of digging out the weeds, which can be a tremendous amount of work, this method simply covers the soil and weeds with cardboard. After about three months the cardboard has broken down into soft soil, and in the absence of light or nourishment the roots of the weeds have died off underneath.
A layer of compost was then spread out on top of the cardboard in order to catalyze the beginning of the nutrient cycle for the potatoes.
After this they 'planted' the potatoes by setting them directly on top of the compost in even rows. There was no digging whatsoever, Dr Swan said.
Then the whole area was covered with a thick layer of straw to prevent sunlight from getting to the potatoes, creating a dark growing environment, as if underground.
Lastly the straw was watered, so the area could retain enough moisture to create an appropriate environment for the plants' growth.
Dr Swan explained that in this method, the potatoes grow up through the straw. When mature, after about three months, they are harvested simply by pulling back the straw and lifting the potatoes out. The usual heavy work of digging is not needed in any part of the process.
Reporting about the course recently, Dr Swan also commented that Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture encompasses the adoption of new techniques being discovered in modern organic agriculture—such as the no-till method—that have been proven scientifically to be more effective than those used previously.
Research has shown that crops raised without digging are healthier and less susceptible to pests and disease; soil quality improves every year; and the overall method is much more economical and less labor intensive.
The Maharishi Peace Palace offers courses in Transcendental Meditation and its advanced techniques, as well as many other applications of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Vedic Science and technology of consciousness.
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