THE ESSENCE OF BIODYNAMIC AGRICULTURE
Many people are unaware that biodynamic and organic agriculture are viable alternatives to conventional (chemical) agriculture and many do not know what differentiates them from each other. While organics may involve the importation of many farm fertility inputs, biodynamics is based on a farm being as much a closed system as possible.
The reason biodynamics works so well is that every aspect of the method, based on scientific understanding, meticulous experiments and extensive field trials, is focused on building and protecting essential soil life, the collective function of which in Nature is to convert organic matter and any free soluble elements into stable humus. This feeds plants as Nature intended, sun driven, not indiscriminately through the soil water charged with soluble fertilizers. The biodynamic preparations are powerful stimulators of biological activity in the soil, and when combined with associated biological agricultural practices, enable farmers and gardeners to produce food of the highest quality with minimal inputs.
|Soil fertility is created by recycling animal and plant wastes produced on-farm through on-site composting and making of liquid manures using the herbal biodynamic compost preparations to maximise nutrient recovery and order the breakdown of materials into humus. – Green manure crops are grown and carefully incorporated into the soil using biodynamic soil sprays and compost preparations. – There is a limited use of mineral supplements to balance marked soil deficiencies in establishment of biodynamic methods. – The soil food web is stimulated by the use of biodynamic soil preparations to efficiently convert organic matter in and on the soil into humus and to stimulate root growth, leading to better structured, richer, deeper and darker soils.
|Farmers seek to create a self-sustaining farm organism, able to supply plant nutrition through recycling of farm produced waste. They also recognise that plants can obtain everything that they need, more than sufficient to replace what leaves through the farm gate, for optimum growth through biodynamically managed soils and atmosphere. Animals are an integral part of the farm organism.
|Farmers recognise the importance of the cosmos: the Moon, Sun, planets and stars as well as light and warmth. They use the biodynamic preparations as tools to mitigate against environmental extremes such as drought and flood, as well as managing their activities around Moon and other planetary and solar rhythms.
|The farmer recognises the activity of the Spirit working with the material world. – Within the farm organism, the gardener or farmer is the human agent of creative thinking and acting, who endeavours to bring varied forces together enabling plants to attain full potential in taste, nutrition, beauty and fragrance as well as post-harvest keeping quality.
|Judicious use of specialised cultivation tools that aid soil life and structure are used e.g. a fine tined fork rather than a spade to cultivate garden beds.
|Farmers tend to use open pollinated seed which they can save for reuse next season, and don’t use GE seed.