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Happy to answer questions about BD

 
James Bowen
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Hi! I am a farmer, gardener and consultant for food growers of all kinds. I am happy that I found this forum! The focus of my prep making has been with Barrel Compost (CPP) It is fun to make it and watch the results. Check out http://www.soilwellness.com for a slide show I put together that illustrates the process!
 
Adam Klaus
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Hi James, welcome to permies and glad you are here to share about Biodynamics.

Here's a question I would love to hear your thoughts on-

How do you conceptualize the function of the BD Preps? I hear folks talk about them as microbial innoculants, and also homeopathic medicines. What do you think? I am interested to learn more about why these specific preps are so important for our compost making. Any ideas very much appreciated.

And again, big welcome to the site!
 
James Bowen
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Adam,
I think both are true. Getting to know these plants and how they are used as medicines is helpful. I always try to think of the relation the plant has with the cosmos above and what it is bringing to the earth. First looking at it's physical attributes and then moving into it's "gesture" I think Steiner meant for these preps to be objects of concentration so we could observe the totality of nature. In organic farming the compost is just "dead matter" The preps help to keep things moving and alive. The farmers consciousness contributes to this process as well. I am speaking broad terms but perhaps we could convo some more?
 
Miles Flansburg
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Welcome to permies James !
 
Kris schulenburg
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Hi James,
Thanks for answering questions. I have been wondering about biodynamics and apple trees. I have 3, 8 year old trees. 2 Macintosh and 1 Gala. the trees are very health but the apples always get too bug infested to ripen. The only spray i have used is dormant oil. Was wondering what regimen might help them.
Appreciate your time, Kris
 
Stewart Lundy
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Adam Klaus wrote:How do you conceptualize the function of the BD Preps? I hear folks talk about them as microbial innoculants, and also homeopathic medicines.


If you want a more complete understanding of what Rudolf Steiner meant, I recommend Hugh Courtney's introduction to "What is Biodynamics"? http://www.amazon.com/What-Is-Biodynamics-Rudolf-Steiner-ebook/dp/B007F2H284 There are nine "realms" and each of the preparations correspond to a specific realm. I will be honest that none of this has clicked with me, but it is explicated by Hugh in all its strangeness.

Another way of thinking of the preps is that they each embody certain behaviors (or "energies"). Each plant is an exemplar of a particular kind of activity. These are the Olympians of the plant world. Each is in association with a particular organ in the human body and helps stimulate those functions in plants (which lack organs in the conventional sense).

For example, Equisetum grows in boggy water-logged conditions: in order to live in such wet conditions, it naturally builds up a lot of silica to make strong fungus-resistant stems. The plant itself is virtually all stem. Using a "tea" made out of this plant bestows the silica directly on the leaves of other plants. The "power" of the plant is imparted to the one that receives the tea. Another practical example: mushrooms grow in festering conditions, usually with lots of rival bacteria; thus, mushrooms produce natural antibiotics and antibodies. When we consume mushrooms, we appropriate those antibodies. Which is to say: how a plant grows and its activities can be given to us. Equisetum resists fungus, mushrooms resist putrefaction. Independent (non-BD) research has verified that silicon helps defend against frosts AND mildew. How Steiner knew that, I do not know.

Oak Bark, whose mineral ash can be as much as 78% Calcium (!!), is another great example. Want stronger plants? Oak Bark helps. Let that bark compost, and it gets digested thoroughly by Calcium-activating bacteria (the only kind interested in Oak Bark). Use that on your plant, and calcium is not only directly imparted, but the "activity" of those Calcium-liberating bacteria is activated in the soil around the plant.

stinging nettles, which has a unique association with the heart, is particularly high in Iron. As chlorophyll increases red blood cell count and circulation in plants, Iron assists plants in their own chlorophyll production... and so forth. Does that help?
 
Adam Klaus
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Stewart Lundy wrote:
Oak Bark, whose mineral ash can be as much as 78% Calcium (!!), is another great example. Want stronger plants? Oak Bark helps. Let that bark compost, and it gets digested thoroughly by Calcium-activating bacteria (the only kind interested in Oak Bark). Use that on your plant, and calcium is not only directly imparted, but the "activity" of those Calcium-liberating bacteria is activated in the soil around the plant.


Nice Stewart. That is exactly how I conceptualize the utility of the preps. The different prep plants themselves cultivate certain microbes and bacteria that perform useful functions in the soil. These plants are catalysts for microbial activity.

I didnt resonate with Hugh Courtney's book either, or any of his writings really. Steiner neither. I am very much into biodynamics, and it forms the philosophical basis of my farm, but I find that the 'classic' Biodynamic authors really leave something to be desired in their explainations. E. Pfeifer is the one exception, and I really enjoy his work.

I think that discussion amongst practicioners can help us to formulate a more clear explaination of Biodynamics to the uninitiated layperson. Thanks for contributing!
 
Stewart Lundy
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Kris schulenburg wrote:I have been wondering about biodynamics and apple trees.


Horn Silica (BD501) can help improve the "Brix" level (sugar) level of fruit and help make stronger membranes. But you might consider The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_holistic_orchard:paperback

I think Phillips said: it's not that you have a bug excess problem you have a duck deficiency problem. The problem is the solution: something needs to be predating those pests, whether it is duck or chicken or pig or wasp. Habitat needs to be estbali
Not "Biodynamic", but certainly beyond organic. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer has some interesting essays on orchard management and biodynamics you might want to check out. I can't recommend Pfeiffer's careful and scientific approach to biodynamics.
 
Kris schulenburg
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Thanks Stewart
That book is on the top of my list. Have been working on ecosystems. Have the ducks and just added chickens. keep adding herbs and flowers around the trees. Sooner or later will hopefully get the dance right.
Off to look for Pfeiffer's essays.
Appreciate everyones knowledge and experienced
 
Stewart Lundy
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Kris schulenburg wrote:
Off to look for Pfeiffer's essays.


If you are not familiar yet with the Soil and Health Library, you should be! It's an essential resource. Here are virtually all the back issues of Biodynamics Journal with lots of Pfeiffer (free downloads!): http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/BD.Journal.TOC.html

Also consider this bigger section of the S&H Library, Agriculture: http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/01aglibwelcome.html Pfeiffer's superb work "Soil Fertility, Renewal & Preservation" is there. It is a great companion to William Albrecht's "Soil Fertility and Animal Health." I can't recommend either enough. Albrecht is not "biodynamic" but is indispensable.

Kris schulenburg wrote:keep adding herbs and flowers around the trees.


You might like the BB50 beneficials mix around your trees: http://www.rinconvitova.com/material.htm regarding pest management, consider this hippie Dr. McBug: http://drmcbug.com/
 
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