Hello all, I've been studying permaculture for a while now. I've been aware of biodynamics but am new to it. If one has a biodynamic farm can you sheet mulch? Or does that contradict with the belief system?
"Biodynamic farming involves managing a farm utilizing the principles of a living organism.
A concise model of a living organism ideal would be a wilderness forest.
In such a system there is a high degree of self-sufficiency in all realms of biological survival.
Fertility and feed arise out of the recycling of the organic material the system generates.
Avoidance of pest species is based on biological vigor and its intrinsic biological and genetic diversity.
Water is efficiently cycled through the system."
" In day-to-day practice the goal is to create a farm system that is minimally dependent on imported materials, and instead meets its needs from the living dynamics of the farm itself.
It is the biodiversity of the farm, organized so that the waste of one part of the farm becomes the energy for another, that results in an increase in the farm’s capacity for self-renewal and ultimately makes the farm sustainable."
"This requires that, as much as possible, a farm be regenerative rather than degenerative.
Consider carefully materials that are imported onto the modern day organic farm.
Where do they come from? Often they can be tracked back to a natural resource provided by the earth.
Examples include petroleum to move materials around, ancient mineral deposits, by-products of unsustainable agriculture-related industry, and the life of the seas and waterways.
An important social value of Biodynamic farming is that it does not depend on the mining of the earth’s natural resource base but instead emphasizes contributing to it. "
Those are the basis of Biodynamics. Quoted from Demeter Association Inc.
Sheet mulching will indeed fit within the parameters of biodynamic practices and should be used everywhere you have a need to utilize on site materials for control of what grows where and to protect moisture from evaporation.
it will build soil as fast as any other method.
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
posted 4 years ago
One thing a lot of people don't grasp about biodynamics is this: Steiner said that you must first have good farming practices and that without those, your farm won't work. Biodynamics is just tweaking already good farming practices. The biodynamic "preparations" are just that -- they are not a panacea. Virtually anything, as long as it is regenerative, fits into biodynamics.
Indeed if you don't know good farming practices, you must learn and practice them before any biodynamic methods will make significant changes.
If you don't know how to make compost you certainly will not be able to build a biodynamic feeding system.
I used to do a lecture series " Field Enhancement Protocols and Their Practical Uses in Farming Practices for the USDA back in the 1980's.
In this series I built upon good farming practices and showed that every step was dependent upon the previous step(s) taken.
I discouraged heavy tillage with the explanation that a good farmer doesn't want to watch his top soil be blown to his neighbor's farm, using heavy, deep tillage methods simply insures this will happen.
Cover crops work best when chopped and dropped, not turned under by disks, the mulch holds moisture in and keeps soil from being blown away.
No till seed drills not only save soil structure but also prevent soil loss to wind by not exposing the soil to the wind in the first place.
Liquid applications of compost/ manure teas are better ways to get new nutrients into soil and they will promote greater microbial activity than commercial, chemical based applications which kill off the microbes needed for good soil health.
The farmers that decided to try these methods found they had fewer tons of soil lost to wind erosion, had to use less irrigation water over the year and had increased their yields significantly. They also had less need to use insecticides and they reduced or stopped needing chemical fertilizers. Now, after 20 years of practicing these methods, most are still operating in the black, are not consumed by worry over drought periods and with the continued cover cropping, they have increased their fields soil health and productivity to the stage where they reap bumper crops year after year.
The farmers that stuck with the methods they and their fathers/ grandfathers had always used, saw no changes to the positive side, they could still depend on loosing several tons of top soil a year, crop yield was lower even with application of chemical fertilizers and insecticides.