- Author: Betty Homer
Disclaimer: This article does not express the views held or advocated by UCCE or its affiliates with regard to biodynamic gardening or farming. It only seeks to introduce the concept of biodynamics to readers as another alternative system of sustainable gardening.
For all of you gardening enthusiasts (which I assume all of you are, since you are reading this blog), it is likely that at some point, you have come across the term “biodynamic” gardening or farming.
Biodynamic gardening/farming is usually regarded as one of the earliest organized systems of organic gardening, emphasizing the interrelationships between soil, plant and livestock management (i.e., the garden or farm is regarded as an organism). The foundation for biodynamic gardening or farming arises from a series of lectures given in 1924 by the Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner, to farmers seeking his assistance. Perhaps the defining feature of biodynamic gardening/agriculture and what people find most intriguing, is the use of what is known as “preparations,” (of which there are nine (9), divided between field and compost preparations) which generally consist of manure and/or specific flowers/herbs fermented in a vessel such as a cow horn or the bladder of a red deer/elk, as applicable. The preparations are typically diluted with water, stirred in an exacting manner for a specific period of time, and then sprayed onto a field or compost to stimulate plant growth, as appropriate, and microbial activity. Although these preparations sound esoteric and inaccessible to the average person, people seeking to incorporate biodynamic methods in their garden, may purchase preparations from biodynamic trade organizations and/or other biodynamic gardeners and farmers.
The popularity of biodynamics has gained steam in the mainstream, as many wineries, both local (some even in Napa and Sonoma Counties!) and abroad, have adopted such practices.
For further information on biodynamic gardening or farming, please feel free to visit https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=290 or google the term, “biodynamic gardening,” “biodynamic farming,” or “biodynamic agriculture.”