Gérard Ducerf is a botanist specialised in soil analysis, which he evaluates in terms of the plants which grow there. He visited Mazet’s estate in the Cévennes on 6 June 2015. Below is his assessment of the soils and medicinal plants.
He has written several publications, including an Encyclopedia of bio-indicator plants (3 volumes, éditions Promonature).
The botanist makes the connection between soil, plants and human beings.Since the appearance of plants, they have colonised a multitude of environments, adapted to different soils, weather conditions and even farming practices. Is there a relation between poppy fields and past farming practices ? Why is my garden invaded by bindweed ? What are dandelions telling us when they appear in abundance in our meadows ? Why are therapeutic indications for the treatment of humans and the healing of the planet so similar ?
Gérard Ducerf gives a global and dynamic overview of soil evolution based on the study of the plants which grow there naturally. He offers applicable solutions to help individual gardeners, as well as professionals, to enrich their soils. He knows the medicinal uses of each plant, as well as their uses as food products.
All our medicinal plants are harvested according to the standards of organic agriculture, and certified by Ecocert.
Gérard Ducerf visited Mazet on 6 June 2015. Having examined the plants growing there, he confirmed that our soils are indeed free from chemical residue, which makes Mazet an exceptional estate in the context of the modern world.
His comments during the visit
- Adenocarpus complicatus, a yellow flowering Fabaceae, is a siliceous plant endemic to the Cévennes – it bears witness to the absence of chemical residue – it is a marker for the quality of the soil
- (Walking down to the chestnut grove) – Golden chain is an endemic species of the local flora. It prefers hot, acidic fields.
- Black Nightshade, Solanum nigrum, and the White Goosefoot, Chenopodium album, are widespread on the Mazet estate – they grow on rotted granite rock, or mica, which is very rich in insoluble magnesium and potassium, and are witnesses to the existence of anaerobic microbial life.
- In the luzerne plantation, there grows a gramineae – Cynosurus echinatus – this plant is very sensitive to pesticides, and is a good indication of the excellent condition of the soils in the plantation.
- In the angelica plot, we note the presence of Orobanche angelicifixa – it is a parasitic plant containing no chlorophyll. It does not tolerate pesticides, and is believed to be extinct in France..
- Rough Horsetail, Equisetum hiemale, prefers soils which are in the process of decomposition, while Field Horsetail, Equisetum arvense, prefers soils which are not yet not structured – the presence of this plant causes Gérard Ducerf to comment that Field Horsetail is more suitable for children and adolescents, while Rough Horsetail is more suitable for adults.
- Aristolochia clematitis is present in the spaces between alluvial forests and dense forest – it is a liana which has mutated over time.
His comments regarding crops
- To break the dormancy of plantain seeds, add chicken droppings to the soil.
- Mazet’s Luzerne is magnificent, which is an exceptional case this year. Before sowing, add limestone sand to soil (2 days beforehand, at a rate of 200g/m²).
- Matricaria prefers limestone soils – plough the soil before sowing, and sow preferably on a rainy day to ensure the seeds will sprout properly.
- Roman Chamomile, Anthémis nobilis, prefers dry and more asphyxiated soils.