The compost preparations | Biodynamic Association

The compost preparations

Seeds
27th April 2016
Yellow Barn Biodynamic Farm
3rd May 2016

The 
compost preparations

These are made from six well known medicinal plants – yarrow, chamomile, stinging nettle, oak, dandelion and valerian. Their specific properties are enhanced and made effective for soil life during fermentation, often using sheaths made from animal organ materials, which serve as catalysts for bringing about the required process.

When ready, these dark, friable, sweet – smelling humus-like substances are added to the composting material in minute amounts where they ‘sensitise’ the compost, and radiate their effects throughout the heap. These preparations help to guide and regulate the decomposition and humus forming processes in the soil, and make plant nutrients (sulphur, potash, nitrogen, calcium, silica, phosphorous) bio-available i.e. available in the organic form needed for healthy plant growth.

Their effects are primarily qualitative, energetic and subtle. Research has also shown that compost preparations increase soil life and promote stronger, more robust, and pest and disease resistant plants.

502 
Yarrow preparation: Yarrow flowers are encased in a stag’s bladder, hung up in a tree over summer, then buried over winter. Yarrow is connected to the potassium and sulphur processes of the soil and helps draw in substances, finely distributed in the atmosphere and beyond, to replenish a soil grown tired through many years of cultivation.

503 Chamomile Preparation: Chamomile flowers are encased in a cow’s intestine and buried over winter. Chamomile is connected with living calcium processes and helps to stabilise plant nutrients, dampen down excessive fermentation, and invigorate plant growth.

504 Stinging Nettle Preparation: Stinging nettles are buried in wooden boxes or claypots encased in peat for 1 year. Stinging nettle has a relationship to iron, develops sensitivity in the soil, helps to stabilise nitrogen, and promotes the formation of humus.


505 Oak Bark Preparation: Oak bark is buried in a sheep’s skull in a damp place over winter. With its calcium rich nature, oak bark helps increases resistance to plant diseases and fungal attacks.


506 Dandelion Preparation: Dandelion flowers are buried over winter in a cow’s mesentery. Dandelion is connected with living silica processes, activates light influences in the soil, and enables the interrelationships of nature to become fully effective.

507 
Valerian Preparation: A solution of valerian flowers is sprayed over the whole compost heap. Valerian has a strong affinity to the activity of phosphorous. It acts like a protective skin and provides a warmth blanket around and over the compost heap.

Why are animal organs used?

Animal organs are chosen for the particular properties they possess as a result of their former function within the animal. For example, chamomile flowers are used medicinally to treat disturbances of the digestive tract. When making this particular compost preparation a section of bovine intestine (part of the animal’s digestive tract) is used as a catalyst in the fermentation. A clear affinity between chamomile flowers and this organ thus becomes apparent.

The need for such animal organ material for making compost preparations or horn-based field sprays may be understood by considering that fertile soil is not made up simply of mineral substances. It is alive and also filled with animal life. Earthworms are the best known of the animal organisms that live there. They spend their lives devouring decayed vegetable matter along with eroded mineral substances. The stable combination of plant and mineral matter found in the resulting worm casts is brought about through the workings of the worm’s digestive system. Soil has therefore been created through an active interweaving of mineral, plant and animal processes. Earthworms along with other micro-organisms act as catalysts in the creation of soil, so it’s perhaps not quite so surprising that several of the preparations require something from the animal world, in order to make them fully effective.