Bio-dynamic Growing Methods
“Bio” refers to life and organisms while “dynamic” refers to the changing, cyclical rhythms of nature. Bio-dynamic agriculture is a way of farming that is full of life, rhythm and variety. It is a holistic system of agriculture that grew out of the investigations of Rudolf Steiner. This is a relatively new approach to agriculture in the Western world, taking us back to ancient wisdom and practices... giving us a more intimate relationship to our food supply and reconnecting us with something more spiritual and meaningful in our lives.
The ideal bio-dynamic farm is a self-sufficient eco-system that produces its own composts, seeds, livestock replacements, etc. and operates within the larger context of the region, planet and universe.
A bio-dynamic farmer should represent the best of land stewardship, allowing animals to enjoy a native diet and a humane existence, and seeking to grow nutritious food that supports the whole human, physically and spiritually. We indeed are what we eat and Mother Nature has provided all the natural plants and herbs we need for our food and medicine.
It is said that we can be fed to live peacefully or fight, to think or dream, to work or sleep, to be virile or pathologic, to be physically, mentally and spiritually developed or retarded, etc. Nutrition and the environment are among the most fundamental concerns for our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Bio-dynamic farming is a response to this need.
Bio-dynamic and Organic ....
Bio-dynamic is the same as “organic” in that no harmful sprays or chemicals are used, no antibiotics or hormones, and that the soil is built up with compost. But bio-dynamic goes beyond organic farming by working with subtle energy forces, cosmic influences and spirituality.
Bio-dynamic has many aspects....
- food production and agricultural activities are done in harmony with nature's rhythms using optimal times for seed sowing, transplanting, cultivating and harvesting
- re-mineralization of soil - enlivened rock powders (paramagnetic and diamagnetic)
- working with subtle forces, cosmic influence of moon, sun, stars and planets
- using dowsing methods to obtain information and locate energy patterns
- composting... not only physical material, but also spiritual values
- bio-dynamic preparations channel subtle energy forces into the soil
- measuring energy levels by dowsing and use of intention and prayer
Principles of Bio-dynamic Farming ....
The earth is a living, breathing planet. Through micro-organisims, the soil breaks down and recycles organic matter. Water filters, purifies and provides the life-giving element for all organisms. Algae, plants and trees purify the air and transform sunlight into chlorophyll. Every morning, the fog lifts, the dew evaporates, and in the evening the moisture settles in as the Earth literally “breathes” in and out. Each species of life has its own unique expression and plays an integral part in the Divine order of the whole. Humanity provides a “higher consciousness”, an awareness of existence that the Earth reflects back to us in ways of beauty or in abhorrent destruction.
Steve dowsing for subtle energies
We were not simply placed on this planet to have fun and do with it whatever we want. To pollute and destroy the Earth will obviously result in destroying ourselves. We are not only a part of this living planet, but indeed, we are part of an even greater cosmic order of the universe.
The idea that the arrangement of the heavens has anything to do with farming and gardening is not an easy thing for the modern mind. We have lost our awareness of the cosmic dimension of nature's life. Physical elements are carriers of spiritual and subtle forces. Carbon is the carrier of creative formative forces. As the Earth and moon pass through the Zodiac, each constellation bears qualities of the elements (earth, water, air, fire) and imparts the associated subtle forces of those elements to the energy field surrounding us.
Bio-dynamic Practices ....
- use of bio-dynamic preparations (by Steiner)... #501 to #508 imparting subtle forces to the soil, plants and compost
- “peppering” - sprinkling ashes of weeds or pests around affected areas
- cosmic pipes... broadcasting subtle energies
- use of crystals, stones, towers, nature spirits, dowsing, etc.
- water - purifying and energizing
- improving soil humus... certain herbs and plants will draw nutrients up out of the deep subsoil
- crop rotation to improve soil composition... cover crops will fix nitrogen into the soil
- optimal compost building methods using bio-dynamic preps
- natural pest control... certain plants will attract predatory insects and trap scab spores
- method of soil tilling... no-till, raised beds, etc.
- weeding strategy... certain plants will shade-out invasive grasses
- manure handling methods
Nature is dynamic and living, and since times and circumstances are ever-changing, the bio-dynamic farmer must be sensitive to the land's unique conditions.