1. I am new to biodynamics, how do you recommend that I start?
Begin with applying BD 500 (Horn Manure) and BC (Biodynamic Compound Preparation) in the spring to your garden(s) and lawn (after ground is thawed and before planting). See answers 3 – 11 below for more information. Also order at least one unit of BD 501 (Horn Silica) to be applied in the summer once all your plants are fully established.
If you have a compost pile that is ready to be used this spring (and has not yet received the Compost Preparations, then we recommend a set of the Compost Preparations be inserted into your pile at least one week before you plan to use the compost. Otherwise, we recommend that you insert the Compost Preparations when you are ready to “put your pile to bed” as they aid in the decomposition process as well as enhancing vital elements in the pile. This will likely not be until the fall. Fall is also the time to reapply BD 500 and BC.
To Recap: In the spring we recommend ordering BD 500, BC, and BD 501 along with a planting calendar to guide your day to day work, and a set of Compost Preparations if you have a compost pile that has not yet received them. In the fall we recommend BD 500, BC and a set of Compost Preparations for a pile you will be retiring for the winter.
You can place your two orders now and we will ship at the times you designate depending on your climate. Be sure to indicate in the “notes section” of your order, which items you would like shipped on which dates.
2. Which is more important, using the biodynamic preparations or the biodynamic calendar?
They are both equally important and work hand in hand. The preparations are an occasional commitment undertaken at opportune times. Whereas the calendar guides your day to day work in the garden/farm.
3. I just have a small garden, is it too small to use the preparations?
No matter the size of your garden the preparations will benefit your plants and soil, and eventually you, if you are growing food. One unit, stirred in 3 gallons of water, is enough for up to one acre of land. Don’t forget to broadcast it on your lawn and nearby woodlands too, not just your garden. And if you have extra share it. Remember though, it is best to spread it within a couple hours of completing the potentizing stir.
4. How do I spread BD500 (Horn Manure Preparation) and Biodynamic Compound Preparation on my garden/field?
We recommend putting a portion of the preparation in a bucket so that it is comfortable for you to carry with one hand. Then take a masonry brush (looks like a large paintbrush) or a handful of evergreen boughs (pine is particularly good). Dip the bush/bough into the bucket of preparation and fling it to the left and right. Take a few steps and repeat this action. These two preparations should be applied in large droplets (as opposed to a fine mist, as for 501 and equisetum).
5. What if my acreage is too big for one or two people to cover within 2 hours of stirring?
You have three options:
- Invites some friends to help you (provide buckets and brushes/boughs for them). Have the group spread out in a line on one side of the field (we space people 8 giant steps apart), then walk together across the field, flinging the preparation, and keeping spaced apart as you go. Refill your buckets as necessary and continue back and forth across the field until you have covered the whole area. It is wonderful to have many people walking the land and blessing it in this way.
- If you cannot find helpers, start by spreading the preparation around the entire perimeter of the field then spiral inward toward the center. Remember the preparations are energetic in nature and your intention and blessing is also important as you spread them.
- Use an agricultural sprayer that attaches to the back of a tractor. Some purists prefer to not to use machines.
6. Is it necessary to get the preparations on every square inch of the ground or plant?
NO. Remember, you are dealing with the energy of the preparations. When the preparation hits the ground or plant it radiates out from the point of contact effecting the entire system.
7. Can I spread BD500 (Horn Manure) and BC (Barrel Compost) at the same time?
YES. When you are stirring, begin with your one hour stir for BD500 and at the 40 minute mark, add the BC which only needs to be stirred for 20 minutes.
8. Do I really need a sprayer to apply BD501 – Horn Silica?
YES, it is important that this preparation be applied as a fine mist. You can get an inexpensive hand held sprayer at your local garden store, or if you are covering a larger area, a backpack sprayer works well. And if you have many acres and access to a tractor sprayer, that’s great. We spray even our 10 acre field with two people and two backpack sprayers. We start by spreading the preparation around the entire perimeter of the field then spiral inward toward the center. Remember the preparations are energetic in nature and your intention and blessing is also important as you spread them.
9. I don’t have enough compost for all my needs, is Barrel Compost Preparation (Biodynamic Compound Preparation) a substitute for using biodynamic compost?
Barrel Compost (BC) will bring the energetic qualities of biodynamic compost to your garden or field, however it is not a substitute for the fertilizing quality of compost or other organic fertilizers. We suggest you use both.
10. Does it matter when you stir and apply the field preparations (BD500, BD501, BD508)?
- BD500 (Horn Manure Preparation) should be stirred in the mid-late afternoon and then applied immediately in the late afternoon, and within about two hours of stirring. It enlivens the soil, promotes root activities and stimulates seed germination. It should be applied twice during the growing season: once, in the spring after the ground has thawed and before significant vegetative growth begins; and a second time in the fall, when you are putting your garden to bed. We strive to stir and apply BD500 on a Root Day (according to the biodynamic calendar).
- BD501 (Horn Silica Preparation) should be stirred at sunrise and be applied immediately following in the early morning hours. It enhances photosynthesis and the vitality and keeping qualities of your vegetables and fruits and other crops. It can be applied often during the summer after the plants are off to a strong start. Because it requires a one hour stir, you will likely not use it as often as you could. We tend to use it about a week before harvest. The day on which you would spread it (according to the biodynamic calendar) is in relation to the aspect of the plant you are interested in enhancing (Leaf, Root, Fruit or Flower). Some practitioners are experimenting with spraying BD501 in the late afternoon for root crops. Experimentation is encouraged.
- BC (Biodynamic Compound Preparation AKA Barrel Compost) is used to bring the energetic qualities of all of the Compost Preparations (BD502-507) to your garden/fields. We stir and use it simultaneously with BD500.
- BD508 (Equisetum Arvense) is used when you are experiencing fungus problems in your garden. We recommend stirring and applying it on a day that corresponds to the fungal issues, generally that is a Leaf Day (according to the biodynamic calendar). First you make a tea, then you stir for 20 minutes and apply as a fine mist.
11. I am not sure I have the stamina to stir for one hour, is it really necessary to stir that long?
- Yes, it is and yes you do have the stamina. I felt the same way when I was new to stirring, but you will find that an amazing thing happens, you will settle into a rhythm and the water will “cooperate” with you.
- Find a comfortable position in which to stir, sitting or standing, with a pole, a paddle or your hand. To a degree this will be dictated by the amount you are stirring.
- It can be helpful to have a stirring buddy with whom you share the finished preparation. Take turns stirring. There are many ways to do this, switching with each change in direction or take turns for a number of minutes each.
- Find what works for you. It is definitely doable, and yes, it does take a commitment, which you can think of as a commitment to the health of the land you steward.