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Spring Awakening: March in our Gardens
3/3/2010 10:16:34 AM

This month it is gray, cold and wet in our Biodynamic® gardens at Weleda Naturals in Wetzgau, Germany. But I love it when the birds return and start singing, the sun becomes a little brighter, and the first tiny tops of our perennial plants appear from the soil. I also love it when our gardeners return!  It’s an exciting moment when we meet each other again, after four months of winter break.

This is the time of year when we start plant production in the greenhouse; we cultivate nearly all of our annual and perennial plants inside before we plant them out in the garden. Each young plant has its own germination needs. Some seeds require a special fertilizer or soil type, others need a specific temperature. Some of the plants we seed in boxes, while others are sown into single pots. Fortunately my colleague Benjamin Sattler knows about so many different plants. He learned at Germany’s largest botanical garden in Tübingen.

March is also the month of root harvesting. We use extracts from the roots of certain plants for our medicines and products. Iris germanica (iris) root extract, for example, is used in our Iris Facial Care. We harvest the roots as soon as the snow is gone and the soil is no longer frozen. That’s when you can see the first little shoots of the plants, which helps you find them in the ground.

Viola tricolor (pansy)We also do plant and cultivation research throughout this month. We recently began a trial with the beautiful Viola tricolor (pansy), pictured here. It is naturally comprised of salicylic acid, tannins and flavonoids and known for its soothing and healing properties. We use it as a key ingredient in Skin Food. It grows in the wild, on the perimeter of fields and meadows. Each year, as the demand for Skin Food rises, so does our need for viola tricolor. Imagine collecting this fine and delicate plant in the wild! What an effort! Because it’s so laborious, and because we need so much of it, it will be necessary for us to cultivate it ourselves in the future. So we will test some selections and origins to find strong, high-yielding and qualitative plants for successful cultivation in our own gardens.

In my next blog, I will be spotlighting some of the plants that we harvest this month. Until then, tell me what’s happening in your garden? I’d love to hear what seeds you’re sowing this time of year!

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