Getting Started with Biodynamics
Understanding the basics and how you can get started…
You’re probably already somewhat familiar with the concept of organic gardening. Organic farms and gardens forego the use of all chemical fertilizers and pesticides, instead relying upon natural techniques to control destructive pests. These techniques generally include composting, crop rotation, and using other plants and insects to control the harmful ones. The philosophy of biodynamic gardening goes even further.
The concept of biodynamic gardening is that the garden itself is in organism, which must be in balance in order to remain healthy and productive. In fact, many biodynamic gardeners take an even larger view that the health of the “garden organism” also depends on environmental factors that are outside the boundaries of the garden itself, such as the activities that occur on nearby properties.
The first step in biodynamic gardening is changing your own point of view. While it’s certainly possible to analogize the various components of your garden to organs of a human body (the plants are lungs, the soil and ground is like the heart, etc.), for many people it’s sufficient just to expand their perspective and consider the ways in which all of the individual parts of the garden work together and depend on one another. Depending on your own beliefs and personality, you can approach biodynamic gardening from more of a spiritual perspective, or a slightly more scientific one.
Biodynamic Farming Basics and How You can use them in Your Garden
by John from –
For example, strict biodynamic gardening involves a number of different “preparations,” each of which is intended to transfer certain life forces into the soil or to maximize the effectiveness of your compost. The two field preparations (identified as “500” and “501”) involve spraying diluted mixtures of two different substances over your garden area. The 500 preparation is based on a decomposed substance of cow horn and cow manure, while the 501 preparation is a decomposed substance of cow horn and crushed powdered quartz.
There is some evidence to indicate that these two preparations also nourish the soil in a scientifically measurable way, in addition to the supernatural benefits that proponents of biodynamic gardening espouse.
A similar concept underlies the seven different preparations used to prepare a compost pile. Small amounts of medicinal herbs are to prepare the pile specific decomposition processes that will occur when the composting process is underway. The herbs and plants used in these preparations include valerian flowers, dandelions, oak bark, chamomile, stinging nettle, yarrow and horsetail.
Again, there is some scientific evidence to indicate that these various preparations do in fact aid the composting process, although the variables inherent in composting make such benefits more difficult to measure.
The biodynamic gardening principle for controlling pests and weeds is that a healthy garden will be strong enough to repel them before they can cause problems. If pests do invade your garden, then the pests and weeds that are causing problems should be collected, burned, and their ashes added to the garden.
If you’re looking to move beyond organic, consider biodynamic gardening. But be aware that it’s not just a matter of implementing a new technique or two; it’s an entirely new way of thinking about your garden.
Happy Gardening 🙂