GROWING BIODYNAMICALLY

Biodynamic agriculture was the first ecological farming system to arise in response to commercial fertilizers and specialized agriculture after the turn of the century, yet it remains largely unknown to the modern farmer and land-grant university system. The contribution of biodynamics to organic agriculture is significant, however, and warrants more attention. The following provides an overview of biodynamic farming and includes additional details and resources on the specialized practice of biodynamic composting.

A distinguishing feature of biodynamic farming is the use of nine biodynamic preparations described by Steiner for the purpose of enhancing soil quality and stimulating plant life. They consist of mineral, plant, or animal manure extracts, usually fermented and applied in small proportions to compost, manures, the soil, or directly onto plants, after dilution and stirring procedures called dynamizations.

The original biodynamic (BD) preparations are numbered 500-508. The BD 500 preparation (horn-manure) is made from cow manure (fermented in a cow horn that is buried in the soil for six months through autumn and winter) and is used as a soil spray to stimulate root growth and humus formation. The BD 501 preparation (horn-silica) is made from powdered quartz (packed inside a cow horn and buried in the soil for six months through spring and summer) and applied as a foliar spray to stimulate and regulate growth. The next six preparations, BD 502-507, are used in making compost.

–  ATTRA

Like most of us city folks, if you are one man/woman, with NO cow, on one planet this new product at our online store incorporates many of the biodynamic principles which anyone can use in their garden.

I know a lot of our reader’s are curious to know which natural applications, especially now that we are incorporating alternatives to any (organic) NPK fertilizers, we are using in our garden.

JungleFlora is a fermented blend of Composted Cow and Chicken Manures, Vermicast, Acadian kelp, Fish emulsion, Volcanic rock dust, Potassium Humate and Filtered Rain Water

Farmer D and J inform me that we are now going on 12 months of applying this  ‘Jungle Juice’ to the garden along with EM and Rock Dust they have been using to increase plant (and soil) health and productivity.

When You Garden You Grow

Farmer D, leading Freedom Garden proponent, has said all along that gardening is not just about growing vegetables, but soil and for over 20 years we have been doing just that here on our 1/10 (one-tenth) acre garden.  Through our hard work and efforts we have, over time, been blessed with productive results.  And over time, we’ve learned from our successes and failures (and more failures) and are still growing to this very day.  Every day there are new challenges to overcome, problems to solve.  Each day teaches us that we are masters of none, but student gardeners who learn and grow with each growing season.

With that in mind, it’s great to see fellow Freedom Gardeners spurred on to tally up their gardening results.

Just Dig It!

Fact: in 1943 gardens were planted by about 20 million families and would eventually provide nearly half of the fresh produce consumed during the war period.  In fact, the gardens were so productive that Americans produced eight million tons of fruit, vegetables and herbs in their own households.

It’s our earth, we dig it – don’t you?

Even Prince Charles has rallied his country folks to “just dig it” and grow their own food.

Comments(8)

  1. Brendan says:

    It seems to me like a slight to anyone who came before Rudolf Steiner to use biodynamic farming, every part of biodynamic farming that has been shown to have any measureable effect was figured out before he came along, and yes he was the first to piece it all together, but he pieced in a whole lot of crazy with it. If you aren’t burying elk bladders by the light of the summer sun and filling cow horns with cow manure and burying them 40-60 cm deep you aren’t biodynamically farming, and you should send the credit towards the non-quacks who put in the time to figure out what we need to heal our soil, rather than inserting a bunch of nonsense and doing a lot to ensure that people all over the English speaking world see organic farming as a waste of time.

  2. Brendan says:

    It seems to me like a slight to anyone who came before Rudolf Steiner to use biodynamic farming, every part of biodynamic farming that has been shown to have any measureable effect was figured out before he came along, and yes he was the first to piece it all together, but he pieced in a whole lot of crazy with it. If you aren’t burying elk bladders by the light of the summer sun and filling cow horns with cow manure and burying them 40-60 cm deep you aren’t biodynamically farming, and you should send the credit towards the non-quacks who put in the time to figure out what we need to heal our soil, rather than inserting a bunch of nonsense and doing a lot to ensure that people all over the English speaking world see organic farming as a waste of time.

  3. KK says:

    I’ve been aware of Steiner’s methods since I’ve owned organic gardening books and mags through the years, but I’ve never applied Biodynamics in any systematic way, for the same reasons that Brendan describes…It’s kind of kooky!! All I know is my year-long aged compost I made last year, and dug into my tomato and pumpkin and bell pepper areas have been the most productive! And I’ve always relied on grandma’s advice of using fish emulsion, especially for tomatoes. And I have seen good relsults with rock powders…I’ve even made my own by finding volcanic rocks in my area, and crushing them and applying to the soil with noticable results. I do want to try some of the bokashi stuff PTF was showing, to see how that works, especially when you get some problems and don’t quite know what to apply…

  4. KK says:

    I’ve been aware of Steiner’s methods since I’ve owned organic gardening books and mags through the years, but I’ve never applied Biodynamics in any systematic way, for the same reasons that Brendan describes…It’s kind of kooky!! All I know is my year-long aged compost I made last year, and dug into my tomato and pumpkin and bell pepper areas have been the most productive! And I’ve always relied on grandma’s advice of using fish emulsion, especially for tomatoes. And I have seen good relsults with rock powders…I’ve even made my own by finding volcanic rocks in my area, and crushing them and applying to the soil with noticable results. I do want to try some of the bokashi stuff PTF was showing, to see how that works, especially when you get some problems and don’t quite know what to apply…

  5. mary says:

    While I do appreciate the stewardship model of what I have read about biodynamic farming – I do not agree with the spiritual philosophy often connected to this method. The link you posted with the above quote included the following:
    “In a nutshell, biodynamics can be understood as a combination of “biological dynamic” agriculture practices. “Biological” practices include a series of well-known organic farming techniques that improve soil health. “Dynamic” practices are intended to influence biological as well as metaphysical aspects of the farm (such as increasing vital life force), or to adapt the farm to natural rhythms (such as planting seeds during certain lunar phases).
    The concept of dynamic practice—those practices associated with non-physical forces in nature like vitality, life force, ki, subtle energy and related concepts—is a commonality that also underlies many systems of alternative and complementary medicine. It is this latter aspect of biodynamics which gives rise to the characterization of biodynamics as a spiritual or mystical approach to alternative agriculture.”

    I would be curious to know where the Dervaes family stands on this. How do you square your personal faith with these mystical/metaphysical connections to biodynamic farming?

  6. mary says:

    While I do appreciate the stewardship model of what I have read about biodynamic farming – I do not agree with the spiritual philosophy often connected to this method. The link you posted with the above quote included the following:
    “In a nutshell, biodynamics can be understood as a combination of “biological dynamic” agriculture practices. “Biological” practices include a series of well-known organic farming techniques that improve soil health. “Dynamic” practices are intended to influence biological as well as metaphysical aspects of the farm (such as increasing vital life force), or to adapt the farm to natural rhythms (such as planting seeds during certain lunar phases).
    The concept of dynamic practice—those practices associated with non-physical forces in nature like vitality, life force, ki, subtle energy and related concepts—is a commonality that also underlies many systems of alternative and complementary medicine. It is this latter aspect of biodynamics which gives rise to the characterization of biodynamics as a spiritual or mystical approach to alternative agriculture.”

    I would be curious to know where the Dervaes family stands on this. How do you square your personal faith with these mystical/metaphysical connections to biodynamic farming?

  7. Jake says:

    I am chiming in for the first time. I love your goals, your accomplishments, and the examples you have provided for your public. I have a biodynamic farm in Ohio (Lavender Lane Biodynamic Farm). I run it as a CSA. I have twenty families that I feed from less than an acre of land. Interestingly enough, I farm side by side with my Amish brethren here in Ohio. Wendell Berry, as usual, nailed this one down: “I looked for marks of erosion [on an Amish farm]. There were none. If possible, I think, to say that this is a Christian agriculture, formed upon the understanding that it is sinful for people to misuse or destroy what they did not make. The Creation is a unique, irreplacable gift, therefore to be used with humility, respect, and skill.” I should add that the spray we use on a biodynamic farm could be likened to holy water. By blessing the earth, we are thanking her for her loveliness. She responds in kind by healing, healing from human error and misuse. To me, this is where we find the essence of spirituality connected with biodynamic farming. This is why, too, Rudolf Steiner was called upon to come up with a solution. He was asked why crop yields were so low. As Farmer D says and Rudolf Steiner understood (like the elephant in the room), it’s the soil. Please correct someone, by the way, when they say, go dig some “dirt.” You will offer respect to the earth by correcting, and saying, it is “soil” and not “dirt.” Keep up the great work!!

  8. Jake says:

    I am chiming in for the first time. I love your goals, your accomplishments, and the examples you have provided for your public. I have a biodynamic farm in Ohio (Lavender Lane Biodynamic Farm). I run it as a CSA. I have twenty families that I feed from less than an acre of land. Interestingly enough, I farm side by side with my Amish brethren here in Ohio. Wendell Berry, as usual, nailed this one down: “I looked for marks of erosion [on an Amish farm]. There were none. If possible, I think, to say that this is a Christian agriculture, formed upon the understanding that it is sinful for people to misuse or destroy what they did not make. The Creation is a unique, irreplacable gift, therefore to be used with humility, respect, and skill.” I should add that the spray we use on a biodynamic farm could be likened to holy water. By blessing the earth, we are thanking her for her loveliness. She responds in kind by healing, healing from human error and misuse. To me, this is where we find the essence of spirituality connected with biodynamic farming. This is why, too, Rudolf Steiner was called upon to come up with a solution. He was asked why crop yields were so low. As Farmer D says and Rudolf Steiner understood (like the elephant in the room), it’s the soil. Please correct someone, by the way, when they say, go dig some “dirt.” You will offer respect to the earth by correcting, and saying, it is “soil” and not “dirt.” Keep up the great work!!

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