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- Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation
The same can be said about compost —there is such a wide variety of feedstocks and processes involved in its production and the end product can have major differences in appearance, smell, nutrient values and biology, but we still use just one generic name for it.
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On a personal quest to find the highest expression of the art of compost making, I came across the traditional recipe for biodynamic compost. At the heart of biodynamics is a deep respect for fertile, productive soil and the crucial role of compost in sustaining it.
McKean County Biodynamics featuring Master Gardener L. A. Rotheraine -
Steiner had some remarkable insights about how plants grow—to enhance the uptake of nutrients he provided a recipe for compost that has stood the test of time and has been proven by scientific research. Beginning with a simple base of organic dairy cow manure and straw, the biodynamic recipe requires six botanical ingredients, which are concentrated by specific alchemical processes during the course of a year before they are added to the pile. The six biodynamic preparations are yarrow, chamomile, nettle, oak bark, dandelion and valerian. Each of these relates to one or more plant nutrients and it is thought that the preparations act as catalysts to influence biological availability and nutrient uptake by plants.
For example, nettle is linked to potassium, calcium, sulfur and iron, while valerian assists in the utilization of phosphorus. Hydroponics has proven that plants can be grown under artificial conditions—but the plants are often stressed, which is the underlying cause of disease.
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Disease prevention can be achieved with high-quality compost because the massive numbers of beneficial microbes good guys it contains outnumber the disease-causing organisms bad guys so problems like powdery mildew tend to be suppressed. Plants have evolved with this web of interactions—with processes like the symbiotic relationship between themselves and fungi and especially the nutrient cycling that goes on whenever a microbe is swallowed by a predator and pooped out back into the soil.
Gardeners of all levels of experience would be wise to explore this fascinating aspect of working with plants. Always use the best-quality compost you can find. Make your first assessment with the compost testing tools you already possess—your eyes and nose. There are some obvious visual clues: there should be very few, if any, pieces of recognizable woody bits or other plant material, and you should look for the color of dark chocolate.
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About 70 percent cocoa content. As far as smell goes, anything other than a pleasant, earthy smell is a bad sign. Compost is a fertilizer. Ask the manufacturer for a copy of the lab reports on their compost, both the nutrient analysis and the biological assay. In my opinion, any trustworthy company should be regularly producing these reports and they should be willing to share them with customers.
They brought with them their son Christoph and daughter Wiltraud. With the advent of World War II in Europe, Pfeiffer took his family to Kimberton, Pennsylvania near Philadelphia , where Alaric Myrin offered Pfeiffer the opportunity to create a model biodynamic farm and training program.
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Starting in the late s he taught biodynamic farming and gardening at the Kimberton Farm School. One of his students, Paul Keene, who worked and studied with Pfeiffer there for two years and shortly thereafter co-founded Walnut Acres, recalls: " While at Kimberton, Pfeiffer led the initiative to found the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, and to start its journal. While at Kimberton, Pfeiffer also met J. This relationship gave biodynamics a little-known place in the history of the American organic movement. Interpersonal difficulties - a motif of Pfeiffer's life - brought to a close the Kimberton Farms chapter.
Aiming to continue his work training biodynamic farmers, Pfeiffer bought a farm in Chester, New York, where a small colony arose focused on farming, education, and the administration of the Biodynamic Association. His copper chloride sensitive crystallization theory brought him an honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine from Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital in Philadelphia in In , at his home in Spring Valley, N. Introduction by Hugh J. November In —in response to questions about the depletion Rosemary, mint, and onions are commonly found in kitchens, but physician Markus Sommer asserts that Already treasured by some within the biodynamic movement, In Partnership with Nature deserves wider attention The inventory of knowledge that is generally warehoused under the classification of biodynamic is rich June Based on knowledge attained through his highly trained clairvoyance, Steiner contends Ehrenfried Pfeiffer was a pioneer of biodynamics in North America.
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