The timing of the application of biodynamic soil and atmospheric preparations is something that develops for each individual practitioner as they get a feeling for their developing garden or farm and for the biodynamic method of agriculture.
When putting out preparations for the first time, it is important to do so as soon as possible so that the biodynamic preparations can begin to work in the soil and atmosphere.
There is much written about the best time to spray out biodynamic preparations according to the moon. Don’t be constrained by this. These refinements in practice can come later. The most important thing is to begin biodynamic practices.
Broad guidelines are:
- To start with an application of biodynamic soil preparation – BAA recommends Biodynamic Soil Activator which contains all of the biodynamic preparations and kick starts the biodynamic processes. Biodynamic Horn Manure and Biodynamic Combined Soil Preparation are also suitable to use
- Apply the soil preparation in the evening when it has begun to cool down as this enhances the preparation’s absorption into the soil
- If possible, apply to soils with some soil moisture in them – a good guide is if the garden or pasture has dew on it in the early morning
- Don’t apply soil preparations if it is raining heavily – drizzle is OK
- If possible apply to gardens when they don’t have a thick cover of mulch and to pastures that have been slashed or grazed down. This allows good contact of the preparation with the soil
Once the biodynamic soil preparation has been applied, it is important to spray out the biodynamic atmospheric preparation which creates balance in the atmosphere and plants.
A few guidelines are:
- Horn silica needs to be applied in a mist spray into the atmosphere as soon as possible after daybreak. If applied when the sun becomes too strong it can burn plants
- Do not apply if it is raining as it works best with sunlight
- Do not apply if plants are moisture stressed (eg during drought)
- Do not apply to fruit crops when they are flowering as it can desiccate the flowers before they are pollinated = no fruit!
- Apply after periods of rainy and humid weather as it helps to balance the effects of too much moisture
Frequency of Application of Biodynamic Soil and Atmospheric Preparations
When starting out with biodynamics, it takes some time – up to three years to create well developed biodynamic soils. The minimum recommended number of applications of the biodynamic soil and atmospheric preparations is twice per year – in autumn and in spring around the equinox. However BAA recommends spraying out the preparations at least four times in that first year to get the biodynamic impulse working in the garden and on the farm.
General guidelines are:
- For broadacre farming at least twice per year and four times per year in the first year of biodynamics
- For home gardens and market gardens, use the biodynamic soil and atmospheric sprays whenever beds are cleared and new crops are planted or when incorporating green manure crops. Preparations should be sprayed out at least monthly during the growing season to maximise the biodynamic effect
- For intensive horticulture (orchards, vineyards), use the biodynamic soil spray at least four times per year and the atmospheric spray when the fruit has set, when it is half grown, two weeks before harvest and onto the tree or vine once the fruit is harvested
Frequent use of the biodynamic preparations will insure resiliency in your farm or garden and help it to quickly recover after intense environmental events such as flooding rains, heat waves and bushfires.