The biodynamic preparation’s day at Whole Circle Farm, a farm which is also a member of the C.R.A.F.T. Ontario program (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training in Ontario), was held last Saturday. Nearly all the preparations used in biodynamic farming were dug up during that day and it took us an hour and a half to drive down to this farm with Connor, from Saugeen River CSA. When we arrived there, they had already started the day. A gathering of thirty people was listening carefully what Johan, the farm manager, was talking about. It was just the beginning of the introduction of the day.
The aim of biodynamics is to make the plants sensitive to their environnements. All along the day Johan kept saying that energies and life forces (not substances) are what we are working with when applying biodynamic principles on a farm.
After this little introduction, we went in the garden behind the building to dig up the first preparation: the horn manure called also preparation 500. When we burry the preparations, it is important to spot them with a post. After 6 months into the soil, we are not able to see where they are
anymore if not. To dig a hole 2 feet (60cms)deep can sometimes be a hassle if we miss the right position only from few inches. Johan was commenting the day. Each preparation has a different number (from 500 to 508). They are originated from Rudolf Steiner, an austrian clairvoyant who gave a series of 8 lectures to agriculturists in 1924 in Koberwitz – which is now western Poland. These lectures are gathered in the book Agriculture and give the foundation of biodynamics (from the greek bio – life and dynamics– forces).
Hundreds of cow horns, originally from Texas, were buried. The horns were stuffed with cow manure last fall and buried over the winter.
Ideally, horns should be from the farm itself in order to respect as much as possible the close living organism concept that Steiner talks about in his lectures. The notion of farm individuality is something they are still working towards here at the farm. If you want to respect all what Steiner said, you’ll never get started said Johan. Horns can be used three to five times one year after an other, depending of their state. You have to take horns from cows which have been fed with hay or grass, no grains, silage or corns, because their digestive system (with four stomachs) responds to it better. The 500 enlivens the bioactivity into the soil.
To apply it, you empty the horn (1oz per acre or 100g per hectare) in a bucket filled with water (3gallons per acre or 30 l per hectare). Then you stir it for one hour. Start on the outside, and as you keep moving, you go towards the middle until you get a nice vortex.
Once you have a vortex, you reverse the movement and create a chaos. Then you start in this new direction and you carry on this procedure the whole hour. You can apply the preparation with a brush or a whisk all over the farm. Or if you want to spray them you have to strain it before.
- One way to apply the 500: using a whisk
- Idealy a copper container would be the most appropriate. The 500 is sprayed before we plant anything. It is applied after sunset when the earth is inhaling. We are feeding the soil. When the lunar forces are stronger in wet years or weaker in dry years, the 500 helps restore the balance.
It is the silica preparation. Saturday, we will just talk about it with Johan but normally it is a preparation that you make in spring. You bury it over the summer and dig it up at fall. It is grounded quartz, made into a paste, and stuffed in a cow horn. It helps the plant takes the light and it is used mainly in cloudy and wet areas. It is used homeopathically using only one teaspoon per acre (not even 1g per hectare) put in 3 gallons (10 liters) of water, and stirred also for an hour. The radiation of the silica has been transformed into the water. Regarding the rythm of the earth – inhaling during evenings and exhaling during mornings – it is a preparation which should be made before sunrise. So, ideally, start stirring half an hour before sunrise and apply it half an hour after sunrise over your fields. Sometimes the silica can have a burning effect, this is how strong this preparation can be. In any case, don’t apply it after 10.30am.