In the first part of this series I talked about how the first two chapters of Art of War apply to gardeners and how using them can make us better gardeners. In this part I will cover the remaining four chapters.
*Chapter 3 – The Sheathed Sword – This chapter deals with the ability to accomplish tasks without ever actually having to fight the battles. It is essentially about avoiding conflict by being smart. Know your abilities, know your conditions, know what you face. Many people plant things that have no chance of survival again and again without any adjustment. Deception is also a key factor. If you can avoid fighting pests by planting a decoy crop you can deceive your adversary.
*Chapter 4 – Tactics – Sun Tzu says put yourself beyond possibility of defeat. Set up the defense first and then the offense. I look at defense like I look at mulch. If I put a good layer of mulch down then I can go on the offensive with water and the sun will never will the battle of evaporation and heat.
*Chapter 5 – Energy – To me, the best use of the lessons in this chapter are applied to companion planting. Sun Tzu says there are only so many musical notes but the combinations of those are endless. And also smaller forces are used like larger forces – So we can divide our garden into smaller sections and make those sections interact, like an army with divisions.
*Chapter 6 – Weak Points and Strong – Sun Tzu teaches to identify the weak points of adversaries and to take advantage. For instance, I commonly teach about the life cycles of certain insects and the reason is that during some life cycles insects are more vulnerable. We, as gardeners must exploit those weaknesses.