Working Biodynamically

Working biodynamically is about …

Using the horn manure spray, Prep 500, to stimulate the biological activity in the soil and improve the transference and retention of nutrients provided in the soil itself as well as that added through animal manure and vegetable compost.

Using the horn silica spray, Prep 501, to stimulate the parts of the plant that you wish to use or work with – e.g. rose flowers, lettuce leaves, potato roots, tomato fruits – to come to their full potential.

Enhancing your compost by adding the 6 compost preparations; this includes all organic waste products like your kitchen waste, weed compost and leaf mould, as well as any manure you use and local authority green-waste.

Adding biodynamic methods to your current organic means of weed and pest control to discourage them along with prevention strategies based on good plant nutrition and careful cultivar selection. If you’re just beginning with getting off chemicals and going organic then adding the biodynamic means in will increase the efficiency enormously and give you a feel-good factor to help you stick with it.

Biodynamics is a systems approach. That means looking at your garden, allotment, nursery or other horticultural undertaking as a living whole – rather like Lovelock’s Gaia – in which each part affects all the others. You put the preparations on the soil, plants and the compost heap in time with the rhythms of the Earth. The star calendar makes it easy to do this, to find the right day to apply the preps, once you understand the principles.

Working this way makes strong, healthy plants in healthy, well-structured soil that’s rich in humus and high in biological activity … all prerequisites for a sustainable bio-system. Over eighty years of worldwide experience, experiment and research has shown that biodynamics really helps improve the bio-system and even reverses degradation.

How adopting a biodynamic approach can help you …

Up to now, biodynamics has mostly been used by farmers but, with global warming, climate change, pollution and the loss of soil vitality through pesticides and chemical fertilisers, the time is ripe for gardeners and horticulturalists to get going with it as well. As a gardener it’s a bit more difficult to be self-contained as things like animal manure have to be brought in but the techniques still work very well as our own garden here at Archenland shows.

Pest and disease control is helped by working the garden as a complete organism – Gaia in miniature, if you like – that is in balance with itself and its surroundings. Biodynamics uses specific preparations, called peppers, for weed and pest control made from the weeds and pests themselves. This is like homeopathy and Hanneman’s law of similars.

Weeds and pests are very useful indicators of imbalances in, and between, soil and plants. Biodynamic gardeners use these indicators in a positive way. If you know what the weeds and pests are telling you about the state of the soil and the plants then you can work on the cause rather than putting a sticking plaster over the resulting hurt.

Advantages …

  • Less stress – everything works with you
  • The preparations increase the soil biology and help it to work for you
  • Using the preps naturally creates deeper soil and so root dept
  • The soil’s water-holding capacity increases, so helping both drought and flood
  • Plant health, beauty and yield improves
  • Weeds and pests are reduced to easily manageable levels
  • The beneficial animals and insects are encouraged to live in your garden
  • Vegetables, fruit, trees and flowers look good, smell good, taste good and keep longer
  • The garden quickly looks and feels gorgeous so you feel good too
  • Low impact on the environment through limited external inputs
  • It’s cheap and easy – you don’t have to spend lots of money every year on compost, chemical fertilisers, disease and pest control.