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"Farmers must understand something
about fostering insect life
and bird life,
because everything in nature
is interdependent
everything.
I have to emphasize
this again and again".

— Steiner

Biodynamic Farming

In its ideal form, Biodynamics is the only agricultural system that uses a truly sustainable, closed- loop of nutrients which work in harmony with the natural world to produce high- quality food for the betterment of humankind. A "perfect" Biodynamic farm is impossible to create, however, the compost pile is always at the core of the Biodynamic farm; recycling all the nutrients created on said farm; animal manures, weeds and vegetable waste. The pile is then inoculated with the six Biodynamic preparations, their influence saturating the earth when spread once or twice a year. The other three preparations are used judiciously at appropriate times as indicated by the Biodynamic Calendar. Preparation# 500 is stirred and spread when it's time to work the soil, and prior to planting. 501 is stirred and spread when it's time for plants to create fruit, to enhance seed and safeguard food quality. Equisetum is used when an abundance of watery influences are present, usually in the form of fungus and mold related diseases.

I often find it difficult to explain when asked about Biodynamics. Do I talk about the cosmic influences on plants? Or do I discuss the spiritual world behind these plants? In that case, people start thinking Findhorn, Devic spirits and such... all that exists, but the real point for me is that Biodynamics WORKS. Through the use of Biodynamics, my own farm got stronger and more resistant to various negative forces, whether those forces were frosts, hailstorms, droughts, or pests. The cost of inputs went down, and the flavor and keeping quality of my produce improved. My soil has also markedly improved, allowing me to use only a quarter of the water I used prior to Biodynamics.

Biodynamics originally was offered in a series of lectures in Koberwitz, Germany (then Poland) by the Austrian mystic, Rudolph Steiner June 7-16, 1924. The lectures came about through a series of requests from various farmers who were seeing a decline in the vitality of their pastures, animals and crops. Over and over in these lectures, Steiner stresses that one "must stay in the realm of the living” when working with the natural world. Hence this system of the nine preparations all based on plant, and animal materials. Steiner also pointed out the unseen influences that stream through the plant and animal world from the cosmos. Rhythms are also very important in the Biodynamic system. The rhythms of the earth, apogees and perigees, the monthly lunar cycles.

Almost daily someone comes up to me and says, "those carrots you grew, (or the garlic) were the best! And I felt so alive when I ate the food from your farm." These statements make me think about the infamous conversation between Rudolph Steiner and his protégé, Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, who brought Biodynamics in its present form to fruition in 1938. One day shortly before Steiner delivered the lectures, Pfeiffer posed a question to him that had been burning in his mind for some time. In particular, he was concerned with how one could build a bridge to active participation and the carrying out of spiritual intentions without being pulled off the right path by personal ambition, illusions and petty jealousies; for these were the negative qualities Steiner had named as the main inner hindrances to carry out the spiritual life their methods espoused. "Why is it the will for action, for carrying out the spiritual impulses...is so weak?" Pfeiffer inquired as they drove along a lone country road. Steiner calmly replied, "this is a problem of nutrition. Nutrition as it is today does not supply the strength necessary for manifesting the spirit in physical life. A bridge can no longer be built from thinking to will and action. Food plants no longer contain the forces people need for this."

I have seen charts which show the decline of measurable nutrients in our food over the last 80 years, the results of chemical agriculture. In Biodynamics, I believe, lie the path to restoring these vital nutrients back into our food, allowing us to return to a natural state of Farming and living, one in which the subtle energies of the universe are allowed to impart the building blocks of life back into ours, and our children's lives.

~ Melinda Bateman

 

On the one hand, theology demands the blind subjection of thinking to the statements of the church; on the other, science demands blind subjection to the statements of sense observation. Here as there, independent thinking that penetrates into the depths counts as nothing. The science of experience forgets only one thing. Thousands and thousands of people have looked at a sense-perceptible fact and passed by it without noting anything striking about it. Then someone came along who looked at it and became aware of an important law about it. How? This can only stem from the fact that the discoverer knew how to look differently than his predecessors.

~ Rudolf Steiner in Goethean Science



Biodynamic Preparations Table
500
Horn Manure
Promotes root activity and stimulates microbial life in the soil Cow manure fermented in a cow horn, which is then buried and over-winters in the soil Sprayed on the soil
501
Horn Silica
Enhances light metabolism of the plant and photosynthesis processes Ground quartz (silica) mixed with rain water and packed in a cow’s horn, buried in spring and then dug up in autumn Sprayed in the air above crop plants
502
Yarrow
Applied to compost along with preparations 503-507. Together these enhance the breakdown of the manures and compost, making trace elements more available to the plant Flower heads of yarrow fermented in a stag’s bladder Applied to the compost
503
Chamomile
Applied to compost along with preparations 502-507. Toget her these enhance the breakdown of the manures and compost, helping to make trace elements more available to the plant Flower heads of chamomile fermented in the soil Applied to the compost pile
504
Nettle
Applied to compost along with preparations 502-507. Together these enhance the breakdown of the manures and compost, helping to make trace elements more available to the plant Stinging nettle tea Applied to the compost. Nettle tea is also sometimes sprayed on weak or low vigor vines
505
Oakbark
Applied to compost along with preparations 502-507. Together these enhance the breakdown of the manures and compost, making trace elements more available to the plant Oakbark fermented in the skull of a domestic animal Applied to the compost pile
506
Dandelion
Applied to compost along with preparations 502 - 507. Together these enhance the breakdown of the manures and compost, making trace elements more available to the plant Flower heads of dandelion fermented in cow mesentery Applied to the compost
507
Valerian
Applied to compost along with preparations 502 - 507. Together these enhance the breakdown of the manures and compost,making trace elements more available to the plant

Juice pressed from Valerian flowers

Applied to the compost.
508
Horsetail
Used as a spray to counter fungal diseases Tea prepared from horsetail plant (Equisetum) Vineyard spray

 

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HOW TO STIR & APPLY > BIODYNAMIC PREPARATIONS