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A Definition of Intelligence

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A definition of intelligence is the ability to respond successfully to a new situation. This type of intelligence resides in a humus-rich soil which is permeated with beneficial micro organisms. The new situation would be a new crop, and a response is the colonization of the new roots with the specific microbes that create maximum production and crop health.

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Some of the plants we use to make the biodynamic preparations might be replaced with something else, but one plant is irreplaceable. Although we like to stroke what we are fond of , we can be very fond of stinging nettle and still not want to stroke it. Small hairs on this plant will make your skin feel likes it is on fire.

Gardeners use tea made from nettle to perk up their plants. Soak one part nettle to ten parts rainwater for a few weeks, stirring it a few times daily, to make a decoration for watering sickly plants. A little peat moss sprinkled on top will keep the odor down.

You wouldn’t think it, but stinging nettle makes a delicious pot herb, cooking it like you would spinach. I add it to potato soup sometimes. With a high concentration of iron, it is helpful for anemia and is a great spring tonic. Nettle is also used as a hair rinse. With a long-sleeved shit and gloves, I cut the two foot long stalks in June, just as they begin to flower. Then I strip the leaves and blossoms off of the stems and pack them tightly into a clay tile. A nylon screen covers both ends of the tile, and it is buries up in the orchard in a pit lined with peat moss. I leave it there for 16 months, so it spends two summers in the earth.

When I dig it up there is not much left. It decomposes into a soft black humus that almost sparkles. I put it into the center of the compost piles in slightly larger amounts than I do the other compost preparations. It can also be added to compost tea.

The reason for the clay tile is that when I don’t use it I can’t find the nettle when I dig it up. It disappears. I think earthworms are the culprits.

This condiment will make the manure intelligent and give it the faculty to make the earth into which the compost is worked intelligent. The soil will individualize itself in a nice relationship to the particular plants which you are growing.

We don’t understand all of the microscopic activity involved in plant growth. Although I can rattle off names like enzymes, hormones, auxina, and the various species of bacteria and fungi, I don’t know how they help plants grow. It is not so important for me to be intelligent about them. I simply want intelligent soil, and stinging nettle helps.