Biodynamic Farming is a view of agriculture based on a holistic and spiritual understanding of nature and humans role in it, which considers a farm as a self-contained evolving organism, relying on home-produced feeds and manures with external inputs kept to a minimum.

Preparation

The first group of preparation material includes 6 different herbal substances; they are numbered 502-507 and are added in small amounts to manures and composts. So they are collectively called as compost preparations. These numbers are arbitrary, having been chosen by those who first produced the preparations. The second group includes the sprays; they are numbered as 500 and 501. Although not considered one of the eight main preparations, a ninth preparation, sometimes referred to as 508 is made by boiling the horse tail plant and is applied only in excessively wet years to prevent fungal diseases.

BD 500 Cow horn manure

It is basically fermented cow dung. It is the basis for soil fertility and the renewal of degraded soils. It is buried in Sept. /Nov and lifted in Feb/March. This is the period when the earth is breathing in and comic earth forces are most active (winter).

Materials

  • Cow horns
  • Fresh cow dung from a lactating cow. Average 50-150 gms dung/horn (depends on horn size)

Preparation process

  • Feed cattle with high quality food for two days prior to collecting dung for BD 500 (good green fodder and less protein artificial feed).
  • Prepare burial pit: 18 inches deep. Pit area should not be subject to flooding, vigorous root systems or earthworms BD 500 takes the character of the soil it is buried in, so good quality earth in the burial pit is essential.
  • Collect cow horns – remove any paint.
  • Collect fresh dung – reasonably firm.
  • Fill cow horns with cow dung in October/November (rather than September due to India's warmer climate).
  • Place horns in burial pit, 1 inch apart with base downwards, surround with 50% compost and soil.
  • Cover with soil and bury for 4 to 6 months. If the soil is not rich enough, add compost to an extent of 50% to enhance soil quality.
  • Keep burial pit soil moist and shaded, at temp of approx. 20oC and free from weeds and earthworms.
  • After 4 months check for dung fermentation. Dig up one horn. If the green cow dung has turned into dark, smooth earthy smelling humus (BD 500) they are ready to be lifted. Remove the BD 500, use and store. If not, leave them longer.

Application process

Apply when the dew is falling (the earth breathes in) i.e. late afternoon or evening – descending Moon.

  • 25 grams BD 500/acre in 15 litres rain/pure warm water (approx. 15-20 °C)
  • Check water for high calcium, iron or other minerals
  • Stir for 1 hour alternately clockwise and anti-clockwise forming a vortex
  • Spray in the late afternoon or evening (just before sunset), when Moon is descending
  • Spray 4 times a year – during the beginning and after rains, i.e. Feb-May-Nov-Dec.

Effect/result

  • Promotes root activity
  • Stimulates/increases soil micro-life
  • Regulates lime and nitrogen
  • Helps to release trace elements
  • Increases germination

BD 501 Cow horn silica

This is finely ground quartz crystals specially prepared. The crystal should be of good quality, shape and clear. It is buried in a similar manner to preparation 500 but this time it is buried during the summer time (buried in April/May and lifted in September). This is the period when the earth is breathing out and the cosmic light energy is most active (summer).

Materials

  • Cow horn
  • Silica quartz crystal – should be clear and well formed. Average 200-300 gms powdered quartz crystal/horn

Preparation process

  • Crush silica quartz using a pounding rod, a mortar and pestle, or hammer
  • Grind to a fine powder between 2 plate glasses
  • First glass - 12” square and 9 mm thick with a wooden frame. 
  • Second glass - 4" square glass plate mounted in a wooden block (handle).
  • Ensure that the quartz dust is not inhaled as it could lead to silicosis. It is advisable that masks are provided while making the preparation.
  • Moisten with water to make a stiff paste
  • Fill horns with the silica paste
  • Bury horns in soil pit, 1 inch apart with base downwards, surround with 50% compost and soil from March/April (spring equinox) to September (autumn equinox)

Application process

Apply 501 only after one or two applications of BD 500. Apply when the dew is rising (the earth breathes out) i.e. early morning 6-8 a.m. at sunrise during ascending Moon or Moon opposition Saturn.

  • 1 gm silica (enough to cover the small finger nail) in 15 litres of warm quality water
  • Dissolve silica in water, stirring for 1 hour before sunrise, alternatively clockwise and anti-clockwise forming a vortex
  • Spray the plants using a low-pressure sprayer (Knapsack 80-100 psi). Spray into the air to fall as a gentle mist over the plants
  • As a general rule, spray twice during the planting cycle; at the beginning and again just before harvest

Effect/result

  • Enhances light metabolism, photosynthesis and chlorophyll
  • Helps to improve color, aroma, flavor and keeping quality of plants

Compost preparations 502 – 507

These are a series of preparations made from various medicinal herbs, in such a way as to enhance their inherent qualities. Experience in India and in many overseas countries of using these preparations in composts and liquid manures, has shown that they accelerate the processes of humus formation and as such avoid losses of valuable plant nutrients.

BD 502 Yarrow (Achillea millifolium)

This is made from yarrow flowers combined with the bladder of a stag.

Method of preparation

  • Urinary bladder of the stag is used. The stag with its antlers magnifies the effect of the cosmos.
  • Smell of the stag bladder and that of the yarrow are similar.
  • Cosmos activity of the flower is enhanced by the cosmic activity of the bladder.
  • The energies received by a stag from the cosmos through the antlers center around the bladder.
  • Start the preparation making under the planetary influence of Venus.
  • Blow up the bladder with air when the bladder is fresh.
  • Air dry and then collapse.
  • At the time of use moisten to make it flexible.
  • Cut the bladder, insert a funnel and introduce the flowers till the bladder is packed.
  • Moisten the flowers with plant extract, stitch up the slit with cotton thread.
  • Store in a closed basket to keep away rodents/pests.

Time of burial to lifting

  • Hang up in march to get cosmic influences
  • Bury from September to March in a mud pot with earth inside

BD 503 Chamomile (Matricuria chamomilla)

This is composed of the flowers of the Chamomile plant combined with cow intestine.

Method of preparation

Harvesting

  • Pick flowers when petals are horizontal (mid morning-10 am)
  • Ideal flower will have two rows of petals around the cone
  • Harvest into a tray as the flowers if left together produce heat
  • Use drying trays

Preparation

  • The intestine of a cow or bull can be used
  • Do not wash intestine
  • Cut into 15 cm bits
  • Run finger along intestine, like milking a cow, to squeeze out undigested matter
  • Tie cut bits at one end with a cotton string
  • Fix funnel to open end and fill with dry flowers
  • Pack not too hard or loose
  • Stack the filled sausages into a bundle, which could be placed in a mud pot surrounded with fertile soil

Time of burial to lifting

Bury in October and let it remain in the soil till Feb/March.

BD 504 Himalayan stinging nettle (Urtica parviflora)
Method of preparation

  • Fill the dried leaves into terracotta pipes or mud pots
  • Press well into the containers
  • Ensure that the lid is on
  • Place the pot under the influence of Mars

(Moisten dry leaves with juice of leaves before filling if found dry)

Time of burial to lifting

  • Harvest leaves in May and September
  • Lift the preparation in September after a year

BD 505 Himalayan oak bark (Quercus glauca)

This is prepared by combining bark of the oak tree with the skull of an animal.

Method of preparation

  • Crush the oak bark
  • The skull of any domestic animal may be used
  • The link between the skull and bark is their calcium properties
  • Further, it is the Ca formation and the skull formation that takes place first in the case of the development of the embryo
  • Place the crushed oak bark in the brain cavity of the skull. Block the opening with a well shaped bone piece.
  • Place the skull in a watery environment with weeds and plant muck which would have been damaged by the local diseases that effect the crop. This helps buildup the resistance of the plants and follows the principles of Homeopathy.
  • It should be placed in a location where there is exchange of water such as rain drain/swamp.
  • It should be noted that a foul smell is emitted on lifting the preparation and removing it from the skull
  • This gradually reduces with drying after removal in a dark dry place
  • Fungus may form
  • Turn over frequently to correct the same

Time of burial to lifting

The preparation is placed in September and lifted in March.

BD 506 Dandelion (Taraxicum officinalis)

It is made from the dandelion wrapped up in a bovine mesentery.

Method of preparation

  • Use the mesentery of the cow. The flower is very sensitive to light and hence it is placed in the mesentery of a cow, which itself is sensitive
  • Ensure that extra fat is cut off
  • Do not wash the mesentery
  • Place the dried flowers in the mesentery and wrap into a parcel and tie with a jute thread
  • Place the parcel in a good mixture of soil and compost into a pot
  • While lifting the preparation the mesentery may or may not be seen.

Time of burial to lifting

  • Place in September and lift in March.

BD 507 Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

The juice of valerian flowers is used for this preparation.

Method of preparation

  • Place the clipped flowers into a mortar and pestle and grind into a paste
  • This paste is added to water in the ratio of 1:4 in a bottle
  • Ensure storage in a cool place
  • Use 1 gram each (502-506) for every 5 cubic metres of compost and 10 ml of 507 at 5% in 2-5 litres of water. These could be added to liquid manures and cow pat pits also.

BD 508 (Equisetum arvense)

  • It is very high in silica; it can be used as a tea to control fungus in the early season
  • It should be sprayed at full Moon (2-4 days before) and at Moon opposition Saturn, the same as BD 50

Materials

  • 1 kg Equisetum arvense (Horsetail herb) or Casuarina
  • 10 litres water

Preparation process

  • Make a strong tea/tincture by boiling the Equisetum arvense or Casuarinain hot water for 2 hrs. Let it sit for 2 days.

Application process

  • Dilute the tincture: 50 grams tincture to 10 litres of water
  • Spray onto the soil or over the plants in the early growing stages
  • For mild fungus problems BD 508 is often sufficient, but for more severe problems BD 501 is more effective.

Authors:
Sneha Chawla
Faculty, Amity institute of Organic Agriculture
Tata Chemicals Ltd., Aligarh.

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