Australia is a land of extremes – drought and subsequent wildfires and flooding rains are common place. This Summer season is no exception.
While we at Bellingen have not had the extremes experienced in other locations, we have had 40 C plus days followed by overcast and drizzly weather in the 20’s, which puts a lot of stress on plants. We have had a very dry Spring and Summer so far, with very little moisture in the subsoil.
Having used the biodynamic preparations regularly on my farm since 2005, I notice that pastures and orchard trees bounce back from any extremes of weather.
I can only agree with Shane Joyce’s observations (Newsleaf #86) of the results of a long term regular biodynamic regime:
- better water infiltration and retention
- increased pasture diversity
- improved soil structure
- increased grass growth
- better nutrient status of soils
- improved animal health
Strategies for Vegetables in the Heat and Drought
Keep up the application of biodynamic soil sprays monthly. Water gardens before applying sprays. If possible apply biodynamic spray to bare soil before mulching. Be careful with the use of Horn Silica in the extreme heat. Use liberal amounts of biodynamic compost when preparing beds.
In the sub-tropics, it is important to protect more tender vegetables from extreme heat. Consider using shade cloth over a portion of your garden – 60% + is good. I have grown passionfruit and snake beans over my caged vegetable garden, which give some shade protection to the other vegetables.
Grow the vegetables that thrive in the heat – sweet corn, sweet potatoes, snake beans, Ceylon spinach, okra, taro, zucchinis, melons, pumpkins etc.
When you have watered deeply, or after a good rainfall event, mulch your garden deeply – min 100mm with pasture hay, straw, grass clippings. This will keep the soil moisture in, keep soil cool and provide food for earthworms and soil food web. You will also not need to water as frequently.
Strategy for Encouraging Rain
Experimentation with the sequential spraying of biodynamic preparations in the USA and Australia since 1987 has resulted in the occurrence of significant rain in drought affected areas in 90% of farms surveyed. What sequential spraying of all of the preparations actually does is to restore a healthy in and out breathing of life energy to an environment that has become stagnant.
To encourage rain, the sequence of application of preparations over a farm (minimum of 1ha) or home garden (up to 2000m) is:
In the evening stir Biodynamic Soil Activator for 20 minutes and spray out.
FARM (1ha) – 75g in 33 litres water
GARDEN (2000m2) – 15g in 8 litres water
Day 2 – morning
In the morning (as near to sunrise as possible) stir the following preparations together for 1 hour and spray in a fine mist over the same area covered the previous night.
FARM (1ha) – 2gm Horn Silica (501), 10gm of Summer Horn Clay and 10ml Fresh Equistetum (508) in 16 litres water
GARDEN (2000m2) – 1g Horn Silica (501), 4gm of Summer Horn Clay and 5ml Fresh Equistetum (508) in 5l water for up to 2000sq m
Day 2 – evening
In the evening stir Combined Soil Preparation for 1 hour and spread over the same area.
FARM (1ha) – 245g in 33 litres water
GARDEN (2000m2) – 100g in 8 litres water
In the morning (as near to sunrise as possible) stir for 20 minutes and spray out the following in a fine mist:
FARM (1ha) – 4ltr of Fermented Equisetum and 10ml Valerian Preparation (BD507) in 20 litres water
GARDEN (2000m2) – 2ltrl Fermented Equisetum and 5ml Valerian (BD507) in 8litres water
This sequence of spraying should occur when the moon is in a leaf/water sign. The effect of sequential spraying appears to be reinforced when done prior to the full or the new moon.
Shane Martin’s study of pasture and soil recovery (NL#92) with the application of biodynamic preparations compared to a control where the preparations were not used point to a dramatic speeding up of recovery under a biodynamic regime.
Regular use of biodynamic soil and atmospheric preparations and biodynamic compost will insure the maximum resilience of farming or gardening enterprises against extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent with climate change. They will lead to a quick recovery after natural disasters such as cyclones, floods or fire.
This article by Alan Johnstone, was extracted from News Leaf Edition #94.