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Biodynamic vs permaculture?

 
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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Salkeela wrote:
Science - a means of discerning which stories about reality are based on truth and which are the product of pure fantasy, wishful thinking and imaginative salesmanship.



Very well said!
 
                      
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We have the dictionary, and we have the real world. I am absolutely convinced scientists don´t doubt they do exactly what dictionary describes here, even they don't. That's just the problem. Anyway, if you really do what is depictured on your garden, that's very good.

Random objections to real scientific practice
(the dictionary is wishful thinking or/and abbreviation - cp. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/democracy, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/love?show=0&t=1306151071 etc.):

1. in vitro and the real world are not the same
(many even scientific experiments showed many times we cannot apply what we
achieve in vitro in the real world, for instance bacteria colonies, viruses,
many others)

2. scientific work is based on axioms. it makes experiments because it wants
prove something (axioms, hypothesis, presumption), or because it needs to
discover something, usually something particular at the moment. not other way
round
.

(in bd or on simple observation, first I see something and only second I can
notice regularity, connection or anything what could appear as useful). it is not like that I
see the moon and I´m going to say: "oh, wouldn´t it be poetic if moon
would had some connection with my beautiful pasqueflower? let´s see if I
find any!" the simple observation is not burdened. this article is expressed also in the word "systematic" of yours. the systems gives the direction. this is what I call rigid (some permaculturists it rigorous - not beeing native English speaker, admit there could be difference)

3. science uses more than often the most expensive way to discover new knowledge. expensive
means also requiring huge amount of energy. CERN is the top of it.
price/perfomance ratio from practical point of view is ridiculous. in
addition, in similar projects there is not minor possibility of danger. other
example is nuclear energy. the possibilities of sciences go always after the
real time. often it reminds more of a virtual game, enough far from reality.
of course, I am aware of that it is sometimes needed for the results. but I doubt
the price is appropriate.

4. as Bill Mollison already said, those who make science are not those, who
apply it. two worlds rise here and they are not usually connected.

(in other words - you cannot make the same experiment as the guy in the
laboratory who works on it for 3 years of his grant made for some company
which pays it (other experiments don´t exist but let´s say that´s another
problem). that´s what I find religious on science. somebody proposed here the
case with UV radiation and how it works in the body. he used the well-spoken
expression it was explained to me. that´s what I am speaking about. in simple
observation, for example on your garden, you can always see how things works,
you don´t have to believe. if you want to call scientific this observation,
you can, of course. but then, you can call scientific anything you like. it is
simple life.

5. world is relative environment. science set up absolute thruths.

6. moon positions don´t have side effects.
 
                      
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If you don't want to practice science, don't practice it.  Personally I hope people don't give up on science as a way to try to understand the world.  It would be a sad thing to return to the Dark Ages at this point in our society.   

 
Tyler Ludens
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watta wrote:

5. world is relative environment. science set up absolute thruths.



Science does not set up absolute truths, science is always provisional.  This is the nature of science, that every theory is testable and can be challenged at any time. 


edited to delete a joke which was not understood
 
                      
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
If you don't want to practice science, don't practice it.  Personally I hope people don't give up on science as a way to try to understand the world.  It would be a sad thing to return to the Dark Ages at this point in our society. 




No, I haven't wrote anything like this - you can go through. I only systematically point out that science is not enough and that prejudices against biodynamic farming is hypocrisy because if they there are, they themselves evidence the same (enclosed) approach which they find on biodynamic and reproach for it. I find it very important for permaculture, that's why I emphasize it. It would be great if we all keep it in mind in our daily work and especially in our thinking, to prevent the world (us, nature) from similar errors we did in past by exactly the same approach. That's all.

I see this was Dark Ages what I know by my own experience and the consequences of it I see all around the world. I don't believe fairy tales about Dark Ages in our far past which where "Dark" only because man didn'n t know how to shave with an electric razor
 
Tyler Ludens
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watta wrote:
I only systematically point out that science is not enough



Great, then we agree. 


 
                      
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Speaking of relative:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/relativity-and-the-cosmos.html   




... you said and picked up the biggest dogma of 20st century physics, o-o,
 
                      
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Great, then we agree. 





Great. So we can start here in our practical efforts.
 
Tyler Ludens
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watta wrote:
Great. So we can start here in our practical efforts.



Looking forward to what you have to share in the practical realm. 

 
pollinator
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Paul, sure ..I'd read a biodynamic site...I am always interested in INPUT, learning..advancing..whether it is right or not is for each individual to determine for himself.

I always say, you glean the materials..you keep the seed and toss the chaff..in other words ..keep what works for you and toss the fru fru you aren't interstred in..

I do this with permaculture..I could care less about growing pinapples..I live in MIchigan..so unless i'm going to grom them in my house (not) I toss the info on growing pineapples..and stick to stuff that works for me in Michigan.

we shouldnever judge someone elses accomplishments..esp if we don't have the same conditions they do..mentally, physically, or spiritually
 
pollinator
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I am about mostly into permaculture. But as a curious person I am, I decided to test the biodynamics on my garden.

As I am a biologist by academic background, I love to put claims to test. I am also an open minded person. So I always accept that "weird theories" might just be correct as they might also be foolish.

What have I found? That actually biodynamics holds true to their claims. I sown radish every day, according to the zodiacal cycle of the moon, and I repeat this experiment on several months, while measuring the radish two months later. Yes, I had patience to do this.

First, the radish I sown at new full had longer downwards roots than the radish sown at full month (14 days later). The radish sown at full month (14 days later) had larger leaves, even though it was sown later. I used the same soil and growing conditions.

I also noticed exactly what they claim: radish sown in certain days (their "root" days, or moon in earth constelation) resulted in consistently larger radish (not by that much, but still clearly a difference). I tested this for other vegetables and same claims hold true. For a permaculturer like me, that uses the principle "learning from nature", this was a nice discovery.

Do I use biodynamics? Honestly, not that much. I am too chaotic to have patience and organization to sow seeds in specific days. If something fails, I sow on another and another day until I get it right. Yes, maybe I am out of touch with mystic cycles, but I did realize that they did exist.

I did try applying liquid feeds based in dandelion, nettles, valerian, horsetail, chamomile, yarrow, on several vegetables and I also did see a significant difference on their growth. For instance, yarrow and dandelion improve tomato growth, while valerian reduced it. The difference was not very large but was there. What this means? That I now always add yarrow and dandelion into my tomato potting compost! I don't mind if this is due to nutrients or to energies; what matters to me is that it works on a practical level.



 
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Todd Hoff wrote:We went and watched the Queen of the Sun last night (really liked it BTW) and we noticed that a lot of the people were biodynamicists. I've read a bit about it, but I'm not quite sure how it differs from permaculture. Anyone with a good sense of the differentiations?



Each movement comes from someone's writings. Pick and choose the elements that work for you and don't worry too much about purism.
 
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I'm sort of a skeptical science guy, cosmic energies etc don't make sense to me. But I have to say biodynamic farms always look way better than permaculture farms. Maybe the formulas but certainly the training to think of the farm as organism seems to really pay off.
Lots of things organic said 30 years ago seemed silly but now confirmed by science.
Steiner was also something of a proto-fascist and i'm not in love with that whole green fascism wing of our movement, past or present.
 
Eric Toensmeier
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To be clear I don't think biodynamic farmers are fascists!

Check out staudenmyer and biehl for background on ecofascism. Or theodoropoulos.
 
pollinator
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"Cosmic energy" is just what we know about physics and particles like electrons etc, the + and - that makes some electric circulation. Then, there is the lost contact with the mother making humans look for a lost feeling of oneness! So, oneness with the universe as well. The rest is poetry and personal feeling about reality...

I like science, and yes, things can be confirmed later by science. What do you think about plant properties discovered by people around the world, and even better, about mix of various plants? trial and errors for a mix of dozens of plants?

Now, there is one thing proved by science,
about our brain.
The autonomous system does not make the difference between imagination and reality.
(imagine you drink lemon juice. If you do not salivate, you do not imagine well!)

So, what is true is not the only important point!
the point is the usefulness for well-being.
People do not have a spiritual life because they are sure of something true, but because of the useful effect of their belief.
(I agree that people also killed because of believes, but it is more a question of social manipulation and another topic than what I state here)
So, I mean about the well-being at personal level.

Now you know why stories like superman or Harry Potter are great!
If you can come to believe it is possible to fly...
then as we say in french, "la foi déplace des montagnes", faith can move mountains!

And what's about the excitement to try a new thing in permaculture, that makes you wake up enthusiastically?
Hope is a strength, because of the strength of imagination!
"He didn't know it was impossible, so he did it"...

A belief may not be scientific, but the strength of believing is scientific.
And if you believe ONLY in proofed stuffs, then you weaken the power of believing!


I am lucky enough to feel some of this energetical things that some mention, and I do consider that it is real and physical.
I mean that I consider what I experiment and feel in the body, and not even speak about emotions (and less about spirits as ethereal beings).
for example, I can feel what some people feel in a strange way I thought impossible if my nerves where not connected to the person.
(obviously it is not possible...)
Then, a scientific article explained about some nervous cells that are called mirror neuron... and that such a connection is actually possible.

But I can tell you that I am not fond of any mysticism, and that even though I am irritated by some of the biodynamics, I do water my trees on earth (root) days ! And water days otherwise. At least it gives me a rhythm...
 
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I would LOVE a biodynamic forum.

One of the leaders at Wintergreen Farm, outside Portland, Oregon, said that after Chernobyl it was informally observed that there was no radiation on biodynamic farms in Europe.

Every rain brings more radiation from Fukushima to me here in Portland Oregon, and the government says nothing.

I want to know more about Biodynamics.

Paul, I love your podcast from Bellingham about the perfect squash on the Biodynamic farm.

Health for All Sentient Beings,

Pamela Melcher
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I will certainly use horsetail !! The problem is to grow it... Here there is not enough in the wild to take it away...

By the way, when something works and science does not know why...
some people say is it meta-natural or spiritual etc,
but might we call this "what science will verify later"?
When I spoke about the power of imagination, I do not mean it creates some new stuff of course. It might just be a way for some people to access to a better sensitivity or a better use of the brain (it is said we use a few % but never heard how we can use the rest!).

The question about finding solutions that are not scientifically proved is how you find it!
Finding about astronomy influence and homeopathy, plant dynamisation and so on, really implies to have the brain works like a computer and get access to all the accumulated info and observation of ones life, and connect them from different fields.
 
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Biodynamics and Permaculture are perfectly complementary methods...I use them both. To me it doesn't have to be one vs. the other.
Just because I don't understand how or why something works doesn't mean that it's not valid.
I don't understand how or why acupuncture works, and honestly, I don't completely understand how radio, wi-fi etc. work either.
But they do work! And seeing the results is enough for me. I don't need to analyze everything to death to make something worth my while to try.
To try to separate the spiritual from the life of the world as a whole, is the same to me as a doctor treating someone's cancer with drugs and not addressing their social, psychological and nutritional inputs; it doesn't exist in a vacuum, distinct and disconnected.
 
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I personally use quantum biodynamic permacultural techniques in my garden, which long ago dismissed all views that Science has or will ever prove itself beneficial as a fact, using the Scientific Method. Witness Monsanto, the most highly esteemed, ultimate Cathedral of the Scientific Method since its creation.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Hey guys, if we want to be pragmatical in growing our own food while observing and mimicking the patterns of nature, then we should at least be open to biodynamics, because it might, even if by a small chance, teaches us something.

If it works, then it can help us,. If it doesn't, it does not hurt to try so.
What is the problem with this? I certainly don't understand people rejecting biodynamics while they haven't tried it. It seems that people in permaculture are more passionate about its theory and principles then its practical application!

I would guess every permaculturist wants to increase its results. And if that is so, I want to know if other permaculturists have managed to increase their harvests by applying also biodynamics, or whether it is all for nothing.


I tried some preparations of biodynamics (but without the cow horn - that would be going too far), well just a lquid feed made of the several plants suggested by Steiner. To my positive surprise, several of these plants made into liquid feed, actually have significant results. Isn't this worth to permaculture? If people reject this, then they are stubborn and rigid and close minded.

I don't give too much interest about the workings behind it (whether it is energies or simply minerals), my motivation is mostly practical.
Horsetail does prevent mildew in my own experience, and yarrow works a excellent fertilizer (for fruit/flower/tuber production). Aren't these great tools?

I would like to investigate what ther other feeds from dandelions, nettles, valerian and chamomile do for the plants. Anyways, permaculturists already use comfrey as liquid feed. If adding a cow horn would increase significantly my yields, then I would be all for it (if I would have a cow, which I don't)

- - -

On the moon cycles: once again (pragmatically speaking) it works with me, and that is only good for my practice of permaculture.

I don't have enough experience to say that some increase in harvest was due to it, or that some failed germinations were due to a wrong moon. However, there are differences that I have tested myself. These were related to radish and squash. Haven't tried for other vegetables because I haven't had any patience to wait to sow in a specific day!

Actually I am actually a scientist of background. That is why I am open minded and I am curious about testing these things. Unlike preachers of scientific method which haven't actually done so.

But it's not my job and I also don't have time to develop proper scientific experiments (with large number of controls) to demonstrate that biodynamics works and then go onwards to explain why, and publish that. Since now I am a farmer and not the academic researcher I would to be, I don't have an institution to represent me anymore, so I can't really publish a scientific paper (most magazines don't accept papers from independent researchers - trust me I know). Even if I would do so, probably my published article would never be widely known, unless I would publish in a large impact magazine, which usually would reject anything "outside of the box" like biodynamics. I would love to do this, but currently I don't have any time for it. I stick to the practical advantage of applying biodynamics to my permaculture project.

Finally, I remind everyone that permaculture is not proven by science, it is actually dismissed by conventional scientific knowledge, and is totally grassroot non-academic movement. I think that it's the beauty of it. And like probably many of you, I actually prefer that permaculture does not go radical claiming that the moon cycles work (even if they do), because they would send many people (fearful of the "mystic") away from permaculture itself.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Yes, I think that respecting the slow ability of human-being to change,
is the best respect we can have for ourselves, just humans,
same as we respect plants and animals in a farm.
Respect is an other-used word... It usually has good intention with poor application!

For me, trying to find new ways to run a farm, is a way to really love.
I mean that we can make mistakes when we love and do not KNOW how.
Full of good intention, and unconsciously bad application.

I think we all try to do our best to KNOW and be more conscious, so that our love can have the best possible effect.
Acting is a risk to hurt... theory is so safe!
 
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For all those who posted on this thread about the lack of any effect of "Cosmic energy", I challenge you to work in an Emergency Room, or an Emergency Response Team (or something similar) and tell us is there's NO difference in calls during the "Cosmic energy" effects of a Full Moon.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Though I did not say anything about this, I can answer that I make a difference between the effect of the moon and the constellations.
Of course the moon do have an effect we all know, starting with the tide.
More than the visible moon crescents, increasing and decreasing, there is also the less noticeable movement over the horizon.
(same as the sun's movement over the seasons)

Then Darius, I would be very interested to know if you see a difference only in the full moon nights (and days?).
Do you see a difference also when the moon is at its highest or lowest point?
Those days need a calender to be really well seen.

I try to respect this part of the calender,
and the days (around 4/months) when you are supposed to do nothing but to the weeds...

 
Pamela Melcher
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Does anyone know of an online resource about position of the planets and what days are good in the biodynamic system for various activities with the plants?

I want to experiment with these ideas.

Thank you.

Pamela Melcher

 
steward
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Pamela, most cost money, like Brian Keats' calendar , which looks good for your hemisphere.
this one's free , but I have no idea of it's quality. It's pretty...sparkly...and I'm used to the look of traditional Steiner calenders.
 
Pamela Melcher
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Thank you, Leila.

I have a really beautiful calendar published by the Camphill Community in Pennsylvania, inspired by Steiner ideas, and I cannot find it in my house right now.

I want to start to do my activities in harmony with the planets. I was very inspired by Paul's recent podcast with people who farm biodynamically who said that made a dramatic difference. It sure sounds worth trying. Apparently I will see dramatic results, and I will see what happens.

I want to get right on it, whether or not I can find my calendar soon.

One thing I really like about how Steiner relates to the planets is that his system relates to the planets in the sky right now, and not the abstract version that some astrology is based on.

I will let folks know what I observe as a result of harmonizing my plant activities with planet activities.



Pamela Melcher

 
Pamela Melcher
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OK, I put my mind to it and found my calendar. It is called "Stella Natura: Inspiration and Practical Advice for Gardeners and Professional Growers; 2012 Biodynamic Planting Calendar; Working With Cosmic Rhythms."

It disagrees with the online free calendar in some ways - about which types of plants to work with on specific days. It also includes important aspects between all the planets, which the free online calendar does not include.

It is published by Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, in Kimberton, Pennsylvania, near where I grew up. I only learned about it years after I left the area.

Their website is: http://www.stellanatura.com

Thank you, though, for telling me about the online site. I appreciate that.



Pamela Melcher
 
Xisca Nicolas
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What a difference with this free online calender and mine!
Here it is a root day until this afternoon and a change to flower!
http://www.jardinoise.com/pages/page5.asp
It is also with images, no need to speak French!

Does it depend on the part of the world we are in?

About the "huge" difference, I could read / hear an average of 10% according to people who measured it, when you follow the root, flower, leaf, fruit pattern.
But the side effect that is also mentioned as a good one is to get you "on the move" because you have to do something NOW.
(to say it simply and rudely, man is lazy, and there is nothing better than an outside factor to give oneself a good kick in the ass!)
Well, it is good to get rhythm form nature herself!

But before this planet calender existed, people used to follow the moon, especially for sowing or planting (ascendent or descendent phase).
It was much used to cut the wood too.
Here, people still use it to plant sweet potatoes that are done from stem cuttings.
(except that they mix up the 2 different movements of the moon)
 
darius Van d'Rhys
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I buy Maria Thun's calendar every year, but here's a decent free online source that covers biodynamic planting.
http://www.the-gardeners-calendar.co.uk/Moon_Planting.asp
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I don't think it is good because they give one sign for the day, even if there is a change during the day.
A lot of people do the gardening in the evening, and this afternoon is flower and no more root.
If you take leaf (as they mention) into account the 13th of september... well it is fruit at 2pm (hour of Paris or London).

And it gives only the crescents movement of the moon.
Do you folks take only this movement into account?
The sap can go up and down more with the apparent movement of the moon on the horizon.

"Running High and Running Low?

Maria Thun has added to this the consideration of the ascending and descending arc of the Moon. Her experience has shown that soils which have been treated with the biodynamic preparations for years are thereby sensitized to the finer cosmic influences. In such soils, the turgor of the sap is increased in the roots of the plants during the two weeks from the running high to the lowest arc. She calls this planting (transplanting) time, and also encourages that rooting of cuttings be done at this time.
How can you work with all of these rhythms at the same time?

You can't. Some of them go together nicely some months, and other times you simply have to make an informed choice."


(from stella natura)
 
Pamela Melcher
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Thank you all, Darias and Xisca,

Very helpful.



Pamela Melcher

 
pollinator
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Hrm, I was curious so I decided to check out BD.

Some things I quickly noticed:

1) They seem to have some dogmatic list of "preparations" made from various herbs and things, often applied to compost or as foliar sprays. Chamomile and stinging nettle and valarian have effects on the human body, but picking a valarian flower and throwing into a compost pile does not do anything special.

2) They have a 'non-profit' organization which people have likened to scientology. I agree.

3) They talk a lot of gibberish about etherics and "radionics" which apparently is like a cross between plowing and dowsing, not that that makes any sense or anything. They speak of "energy fields" and crap, that are "like magnetic fields", except that normal scientists can't detect them. I don't see how that could possibly contribute anything to permaculture.

4) The spiritual side is not significantly different from Fukuoka, or Deepak Chopra, or A.H. Almaas, except more dogmatic and uh.. pseudoscientific.

Also, there's nothing special about a farm in europe not getting radiation from Fukushima. The Atlantic and Pacific do not co-circulate much, and western Europe (amongst other places) does not receive significant Pacific weather. Here in GA, I don't get significant radiation from japan either, but there's no magic involved.

I don't know about biodynamics farms looking better. Maybe? I can think of a few reasons why that might occur, but I haven't even seen enough to compare.
 
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