A biodynamic farm functions as a strong, self-sustaining and vibrant single organism that recognizes and respects the basic principles at work in nature. It is a complete system in which all the different components of the farm are seen as parts of a greater whole. With farm animals at the centre a self-sustaining, balanced and harmonious environment is the result.
Special manure and herb-based preparations are applied to the fields and compost to enhance and stimulate the microbiological life in the soil and improve fertility. These have been shown to significantly improve the health and well being of soil, plant and animal as well as enhancing the vitality, flavour and keeping qualities of the produce for the benefit of the consumer. With the soil sequestering up to 25% more carbon than conventional farming methods, the health of the planet is also cared for. Biodynamic is a sound basis for sustainable food production.
Further to this biodynamic farmer recognizes that the life of a farm is exposed to wider as well as internal farm-based influences. The more subtle rhythms associated with the sun, the moon and the planets form the basis of an annually produced planting calendar. This guides the farmer towards appropriate times for cultivation and sowing for maximum quantity and quality.
The result is a rich and diverse farm built on sound organic principles that is embedded and sensitized to its surroundings. It produces food with such an individual quality that, as with wine, it can be described as having the ‘terroir’ of the farm – the sense of the place where it was grown.
Seeing the Garden as an organism
Fundamental to biodynamic gardening is the recognition that all life is inter-connected. Each plant, each insect, the rocks below, the moving clouds and the stars above, all form part of the living organism of our planet. Every piece of land, including the smallest garden can be considered a microcosm of this greater whole. The biodynamic gardener works as an artist within this context.
Feed the soil with life
Instead of simply supplying the plant with nutrients, the biodynamic gardener aims to bring such life and vitality to the soil that the plants themselves are eager to grow and find what they need.
Compost - the heart of the garden
The farmer enlists the help of domestic animals to intensify soil vitality. The gardener achieves this through intensive composting work. The heart of the biodynamic garden is its compost heap. All accumulating organic waste materials can be skilfully transformed (with only a small amount of brought in animal manure) into humus-rich compost with the help of what are known as biodynamic compost preparations.
The compost preparations are made from six well known medicinal plants - yarrow, chamomile, stinging nettle, oak bark, dandelion and valerian. Their specific properties are enhanced and made effective for soil life during the course of a unique process of fermentation. Some of the herbs require a sheath made of certain animal organ materials. These serve as catalysts for bringing about the required process.
When they are ready these humus-like substances are added to the composting material in minute amounts and radiate their effects throughout the heap. These preparations help to guide and regulate the decomposing and humus forming processes in the soil and make plant nutrient substances (sulphur, potash, nitrogen, calcium, silica, phosphorous) available in precisely the form needed by the plant for healthy growth.
These preparations can be purchased ready made from our webshop
- Getting started with Biodynamic Gardening
- Back garden biodynamics: nourishing the soul of the soil and the soil of the soul
Grow your Garden with our Special Membership offer!
Join as a member this autumn and you can buy the fantastic new book " Biodynamic Gardening"
by Monty Waldin /DK books for £12 ( incl P&P - RRP £16.99 plus P&P)