“Biodynamic agriculture, a method of organic farming that has its basis in a spiritual world-view (anthroposophy, first propounded by Rudolf Steiner), treats farms as unified and individual organisms, emphasizing balancing the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil, plants, animals as a closed, self-nourishing system. Regarded by some proponents as the first modern ecological farming system, biodynamic farming includes organic agriculture’s emphasis on manures and composts and exclusion of the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include the use of fermented herbal and mineral preparations as compost additives and field sprays and the use of an astronomical sowing and planting calendar.”
One problem with definition is the word ‘spiritual’. Some recent very vocal opponents of anything biodynamic linked ‘spiritual’ with religion and claimed by biodynamics was a ‘faith’. They went on to criticise Garden organic (HDRA) for having a biodynamic garden at Ryton organic Gardens (well worth a visit) and some even say that it anti religious.
It is important to understand that biodynamics is a way of gardening or farming. It is not a religion, or a faith, but a proven way of getting higher yields of high quality crops. There is evidence that it works and I suggest the curious look at “The Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar 2009 by Maria Thun and Matthias K. Thun where they will find evidence of ongoing trials. This is the best moon planting calendar and includes details of planting trials. Please note: moon planting is based on ASTRONOMY and NOT astrology as some critics suggest.
I have used the above moon planting calendar for many years. I can’t prove whether it works or not in the ‘scientific’ sense because I have never done any double blind trials. What I can say is that people have remarked on the quality, size and yields of the crops from the garden even in difficult years. You may dismiss moon planting as a joke, an engineer friend did just that some years back. My response was to ask him about the energy needs of the world and suggest that if we could harness the power of tides that move enormous amounts of water around the world twice a day then we could satisfy the world’s energy needs many times over. If you consider the forces needed to create tides, it easier to accept that such huge gravitational forces have an effect on living organisms.
Update 08 Feb 2009. There is an article in the 07 Feb 20009 edition of New Scientists magazine which says that researchers have linked the gravitational pull of the sun and moon to earthquakes.
“Besides causing ocean tides the sun and the moon also pull at the Earth’s crust and upper mantle, resulting in “Earth tides”. At its strongest, this pull can ease enough of the pressure on the tectonic plates for them to slip against each other.”
Although the article says the effect is small in terms of the power needed to create earthquakes, it is a factor and once again shows just how strong the pull of the sun, moon and planets can be. This if further evidence to suggest that these huge forces could well have an effect on plant growth; in fact it would be surprising if they did not!
Bockemuhl, Joachim, In Partnership with Nature. Anthroposophic, USA.-, Extraordinary Plant Qualities for Biodynamics, Floris.
Cloos, Walther, The Living Earth, Lanthorn.
Colquhoun, Margaret and Axel Ewald, New Eyes for Plants, Hawthorn.
Conford, Philip, The Origins of the Organic Movement, Floris.
Grotzke, Heinz, Biodynamic Greenhouse Management, Biodynamic Literature, USA.
Klett, Manfred, Principles of Biodynamic Spray and Compost Preparations, Floris.
Koepf, H.H. The Biodynamic Farm. Anthroposophic, USA.-, Research in Biodynamic Agriculture, Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Ass. USA.
Kranich, Ernst Michael, Planetary Influences upon Plants, Biodynamic Literature, USA.
Moore, Hilmar, Rudolf Steiner’s Contribution to the History and Practice of AgriculturalEducation, Biodynamic Literature, USA.
Philbrick, John and Helen, Gardening for Health and Nutrition,
Garber, USA. Remer, N. Laws of Life in Agriculture, Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Ass. USA. –Organic Manure, Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association, USA.
Sattler, F. & E. von Wistinghausen, Biodynamic Farming Practice, Biodynamic Agricultural Ass.
Schilthuis, Willy, Biodynamic Agriculture, Floris.
Soper, John, Biodynamic Gardening, Biodynamic Agricultural Ass. Steiner, Rudolf, Agriculture (A Course of Eight Lectures), Biodynamic Literature, USA.
Storl, Wolf, Culture and Horticulture, Biodynamic Literature, USA.
Thun, Maria, Gardening for Life, Hawthorn. -, Results from the Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar, Floris.
von Keyserlink, Adelbert Count, The Birth of a New Agriculture, Temple Lodge. -, Developing Biodynamic Agriculture, Temple Lodge.
Weiler, Michael, Bees and Honey, from Flower to Jar, Floris.
Australia: Biodynamic Agricultural Association, PO Box 54, Bellingen, NSW 2454.Tel: 02 6655 0566. Fax: 02 6655 0565. Email: email@example.comWeb: www.biodynamics.net.au
Canada: Demeter Canada, 115 Des Myriques, Catevale Que. JOB 1 WO.Tel: 819-843-8488. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.demetercanada.com
New Zealand: Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association, PO Box 39045, Wellington Mail Centre. Tel: 04-589 5366. Fax: 04-589 5365.Email: email@example.com Web: www.biodynamic.org.nz
South Africa: Biodynamic and Organic Agricultural Association, PO Box 115,2056 Paulshof. Tel: 011-803 1688 Fax:011-803 7191.
UK: Biodynamic Agricultural Association (BDAA), Painswick Inn, Gloucester Street,Stroud GL5 1QG. Tel/Fax 01453 759501. Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgWeb: www.biodynamic.org.uk
USA: Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, 25844 Butler Road, Junction City,OR 97448. Tel: 888-516-7797 or 541 -998-0105. Fax; 541-998-0106.Email: email@example.com Web: www.biodynamics.com