Biodynamic farming and gardening involves a different approach to caring for the land and all life forms that directly or indirectly acquire their sustenance from the soil. It is an organic system and as such finds the use of chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides unacceptable and unnecessary.
Biodynamics promotes a holistic approach to organic agriculture, gardening, food and nutritional health. (“biological – dynamics” meaning active life forces in living organisms).
The principle behind biodynamics is to replace the use of, and reliance on, chemicals with alternatives in soil and animal husbandry as indicated by Rudolf Steiner in a series of “Agriculture Lectures” given in 1924 to a group of experienced farmers and scientists who were concerned about the waning vitality of their soils and farm produce.
Steiner talked about the earth and the farm as living organisms, about the crucial role and benefits of the cosmic rhythms that the solar system brings and about the life forces at work in nature that need our help to restore balance and fertility. He introduced the “biodynamic preparations” as the means for us to achieve the healing processes of our soils and to rebuild soil fertility in order to produce highly nutritious, healthy, chemical–free food.
To farm and garden biodynamically means having to think differently about the way we manage our farm or garden, to recognise that our entire property is a living organism and part of the surrounding environment which includes the cosmos.
Treating the farm or garden as a living system means we have to apply some different farm and garden practices to focus on building healthy, living soils that increase humus levels in order to produce food that nourishes and vitalises.
Applying the biodynamic preparations regularly is the way to achieve this.
The biodynamic soil, foliar and atmospheric sprays, the compost preparations and tree pastes are all used to stimulate and develop the soil food web, the micro-organisms and earthworms, enhance photosynthesis, improve flavour and nutrition in our food and enhance the fermentation processes in compost heaps and liquid manures.
The best way to learn about biodynamics is to practise it. We host numerous field days that give members an opportunity for hands on learning. Members get together twice a year to make, bury or unearth our biodynamic preparations that are sold through the organisation. Members also host workshops and field days teaching important techniques such as how to make a BD compost or Cow Pat Pit. Click here to find out more about Bio-Dynamics Tasmania.
The Biodynamic Preparations
A vital part of biodynamic practice is the application of biodynamic preparations. These are often made within a biodynamic organisation as much time, patience and specific knowledge is required to produce them. The application of preparations happens at specific times depending on the preparation, all have different uses.
BD 500 – Horn Manure.
The health and vitality of the soil life is enhanced through the spray of BD 500, otherwise known as the cow horn manure. This is neither a foliar spray nor a liquid manure, but rather a biological stimulant devised to increase the microbial activity within the soil. In its working with Calcium, 500 promotes a balance of soil pH and lushness of plant growth. Soil treated with 500 develops a crumbly open texture, is more easily penetrated by plant roots, and contains a greater quantity of humus and soil life.
BD 501 – Horn Silica.
Cow horns and finely ground quartz are used to produce a silica preparation, used as a fine spray. This gives structure and strength to plants, enhancing photosynthesis. 501 improves the flavour, ripening, and keeping qualities of fruits and seeds.
BD 502-507 - The Compost Preparations.
These are made from complementary herbs and animal organs, and are used as a set of 6. They enhance and guide the breakdown and assimilation of materials and enliven the activity of particular minerals and bacteria within the digesting compost heap, Cow Pat Pit or liquid brew. They also help to prevent the leaching out of nutrients into the environment. The result is a richer, more balanced product, which when applied to the land spreads out the beneficial influences of the preparations.
The Antipodean Astro Calendar
Gain insight into the cosmic rhythms and how to work with them in planting, sowing, ground preparation and other activities by using the Antipodean Astro Calendar. Available in the BD Tas Shop.
How to Read the Astro Calendar – by Brian Keats (pdf link)
Below is a list of downloadable articles that we have selected. More to come.
Sidereal and Tropical Zodiacs – by Brian Keats (pdf download)
Australian Native Bees – by Brian Keats (pdf download)
Animal Peppers - Venus in Scorpio – by Brian Keats (pdf download)
Triple Aspects – by Brian Keats (pdf download)
A World Map of Biodynamic Agriculture – by John Paull and Benjamin Henning (pdf download)
The Koberwitzers: Those Who Attended Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Course at Koberwitz in 1924, World’s Foundational Organic Agriculture Course – By John Paull (pdf download)
Ernesto Genoni: Australia’s pioneer of biodynamic agriculture – By John Paull (pdf download)
Ileen Macpherson: Life and tragedy of a pioneer of biodynamic farming at Demeter Farm and a benefactor of Anthroposophy in Australia – By John Paull (pdf download)
The Betteshanger Summer School: missing link between biodynamic agriculture and organic farming – By John Paull (pdf download)