What is Biodynamics?
Biodynamics is both a young and ancient, holistic and scientific approach to care of the soil. Subtle aspects of plant, animal and ecological processes are observed and understood within their wider cosmic context. Specific herbal remedies are used to create balanced compost and stable humus. The result is the renewal and maintenance of soil fertility and the production of high quality, nutritious organic food.
Biodynamic agriculture is a way of working with and relating to nature. It combines good common-sense practices, an understanding of ecology, awareness of the specific environment of a place, and the inner development of each practitioner. Biodynamics brings a holistic approach to agriculture, gardening and forest care.
Biodynamic farming and gardening seek to work actively with the life-giving forces and rhythms of nature, relating the ecology of the earth to the structure and function of the entire cosmos. Biodynamics seeks to bring about a re-vitalization and reconnection with the forces that have helped to create the entire soil, plant, animal and human world.
History In the early 1920's, a group of farmers concerned with the decline of the soil sought the advice of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, Austrian scientist and founder of anthroposophy. The fundamental principles of biodynamic farming and gardening emerged from a series of lectures and conversations held at Koberwitz, Poland in 1924. The approach developed from those lectures is now practiced worldwide and continues to expand.
Focus on Soil Biodynamics looks upon the soil, farm, and garden as living organisms. The support of soil life is seen as a necessity to maintain the soil for future generations. The maintenance of soil life is vital in order to protect soil from erosion and maintain or improve the humus content. The result is the production of high-quality crops which provide animals and humans alike with nutritious, high quality food.
Biodynamic Compost A living soil is supported through the creation and use of biodynamic compost. Compost heaps are created by piling animal manures and plant materials in alternating layers. Biodynamic preparations are then inserted into the heaps as a catalyst for controlled fermentation. The practice of covering the heap greatly aids the retention of nitrogen.
Biodynamic Preparations The biodynamic compost preparations and sprays are a cornerstore of this agricultural method. The compost preparations consist of medicinal herbs enriched in vitalizing substances through a long process of fermentation. When inserted in the compost they direct the fermentation toward the desired neutral colloidal humus. Preparations are not fertilizers. Rather, they serve as agents of change for the transformation of raw organic material into stable humus. Each preparation has a unique role in helping plants absorb vital nutrients in a balanced way.
The preparations are named after their herbal and mineral constituents, and also numbered 500-508. Preparations 502-507 (Yarrow, Chamomile, Nettle, Oak Bark, Dandelion and Valerian) are applied to compost piles in very small quantities. Preparation 500 (Horn Manure) is applied on the soil to stimulate root growth. 501 (Horn Silica) is sprayed on plants to enhance photosynthesis/light metabolism and structural strength. 508 (Horsetail) is used to prevent and treat fungal imbalances.
(Adapted from www.biodynamics.com)