The spray preparations

Biodynamic viticulture: the basics
26th April 2016
The biodynamic sowing and planting calendar
26th April 2016

These are field sprays made from cow manure and quartz meal, known respectively as ‘Horn Manure’ and ‘Horn Silica’. Horn Manure is cow manure that has been fermented in the soil over winter inside a cow horn. Horn Silica is finely ground quartz meal that spends the summer in the soil embedded inside a cow horn.

“We don’t really know how to quantify the effects of these biodynamic field sprays, but there is no question in our minds that there is a visible difference in the vigour of the growing plants. Once we harvest the plants, the qualities we can discern in their depth of colour, taste and improved storage are very apparent. We regularly make the time to stir and apply the sprays throughout the growing season”

Jane Scotter and Harry Astley, “Helping our Crops to Reach their Potential”, in Fern Verrow, published by Quadrille, 2015

Stirring the preparations

Before being applied, very small amounts of the spray preparations are dissolved in water and stirred rigorously for one whole hour. This is done by stirring (preferably by hand) in one direction in such a way that a deep crater is formed in the stirring vessel (bucket, barrel). Then the direction is changed, the water seethes and slowly a new vortex is formed. Each time a well-formed crater is achieved the direction is changed until the full hour is completed. In this way the dynamic effects concentrated in the prepared manure and quartz meal are released into the rhythmically moved water and become effective for soil and plant. It is then sprayed out immediately.

Horn Manure is sprayed towards evening directly on the soil prior to sowing and planting, or on pasture in the spring or after mowing or grazing. It encourages healthy root growth, vitalises the soil and helps the plant find what it needs from the soil.

Horn Silica is sprayed as a fine mist directly on the growing plant early in the morning. It helps to stabilise plant metabolism and enhance the qualitative development of the crop.