I find Biodynamics really hard to write about, explain… even understand in specific terms. But I love to practice it. I love to stir and I love the way the garden- any garden- feels after I spray the preps. It just works. Biodynamics works to increase general garden health, to improve the soil – this I’ve experienced- and it is Highly resource-efficient. So we like it. And we like the philosophy a lot, but we dont know how to effectively write about it yet, so: Here’s how we made a Bd compost pile at Sugar Creek Garden. I hope it encourages you to explore bd in your own garden!
The challenge is translating Biodynamics in all its rich-wonderfulness to an urban environment without compromising its wholeness beyond function. That’s what our little group Urban Biodynamics, guided by Jim Jensen here in Decatur (Atlanta) GA is working to do.
1. Compile your materials. Manure is critical. The most life-force comes from the living. Animals= astral force. We used goat-manure because it’s very local. Cow manure is the best. Because it’s scraped from the goat pen, the manure is mixed with quite a bit of hay. Need a balance of carbon like veggie scraps or ‘brown’ materials like straw or leaves, wood chips. We used a lot of raw kitchen scraps from a pile that was 1/2 way done, eggshells too. We used granite sand and some existing dirt from the site.
2. Build it up, baby- layer cake. Of all the different ingredients- each layer about 2-4 in thick. Keep the pile moist as you go- add water if you must (non-chlorinated!). When the pile is 1/2 way done, add the compost preps, except only 1/2 of the Valerian mixture (#507) goes now, the only one not in granule ‘dirt-like’ form. It’s a liquid that stirred in water. We are imbuing the energy of prep 507 into the water by stirring in a special manner for 10 minutes. Stirring is a wonderful experience.
3. The Biodynamic Compost Preps. JPI has a brief description of each prep that goes into the pile #502-507. As far as I know, the numbers dont mean anything but the herbal preparations are Very meaningful, very potent in what could be considered homeopathic doses. Josephine Porter Institute is promoting widespread use of Biodynamics without compromising it’s quality, (says me). They are an excellent resource for info as well as preps, if you dont make your own- and you probably won’t in the beginning unless you are a larger-scale, established farm. I buy mine from Bio-Ag Resources in Kentucky.
4. When 1/2 the pile is built up and the preps are in, layer the rest of the pile. Jim likes the manure to be nearest to the center, so the astrality which tends to scatter is contained within the pile. He also likes the manure near the preps. We layer backwards, in the opposite direction we built the first 1/2. Begin with leaves, then granite sand, wood ash, lettuce plants, hay/manure- preps- hay/manure- partially decomposed veggies, dirt, granite sand, ash, leaves. You get the idea. Its not an exact science, more of a feel you get for it. And dont forget to add your water if the pile is feeling dry.
5. Finish with a fine spray of the rest of the activated (stirred) 507 and a nice ‘skin’ as Jim likes to say. A layer of leaves or carbon is good.