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Biodynamic vs permaculture?

 
                                
Posts: 62
Location: Western Pennsylvania
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I have always found biodynamics to be very simple.

Organic gardening removes chemical farming uses and returns to a more natural agriculture.

Permaculture incorporates this and then seems to work with nature on a very local level. You basically grow within your local means.

Biodynamics adds the local level to the whole local level, including the earth's surface to what is going on in the sky.

Anyone can take any belief out there and turn it into a religion. "We shall follow the shoe!!!" NO!! "We shall follow the gourd!!"
But remove the "religious" stereotype and you have a working direction that uses all energy available to you.


Science can only be proven until Science proves something else.
 
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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There is anecdotal evidence that some European biodynamic farms did not register radiation after Chernobyl, which seriously affected other farms.

Health for All!

Pamela Melcher
 
pollinator
Posts: 356
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:
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.
Well, it is good to get rhythm form nature herself!



I tested myself and found the difference, let´s say in radish roots, to be consistently about 20-25% larger (compared to other "moons").
Yes, that is not that much. But still it is enough to make me curious about it.

I tested it, for several times, and under controlled conditions, and the result was always similar.

More interestingly, I have already realized that there are certain days, when I do a sowing and nothing seems to work good from that. Even simple stuff like tomatoes or lettuce. Looks like what biodynamics claim as a "bad sowing day". I never went to a callender to check for it, but I suspect that really some cosmic thing is behind those days. To me, as a permaculturist, that raises my attention. What if the whole cycle of nutrients is affected by those strange and unknown influences?
 
Paulo Bessa
pollinator
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I even say this: for me, the realæ dogma I follow is: as much fertility possible, the better (without resorting to synthetic fertilizers or chemicals). Because I am fully aware that in the long term if I take from the soil, the fertility will drop. Simple science.

So, adding manure, green manures, N fixers, polyculture, mulching, no dig, comfrey or nettle or valerian, urine, cow horns, carbon crops, fish meal, alfalfa, or whatever biodynamics magic, if that helps my soil it is nicely welcome to my plants!

If anyone knows about some "magic" biodynamical trick please let us know. I am all hearing. I just wanna have a more rich productive soil.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Ditto to Paulo's last post.

Abundance for All!

Pamela Melcher
 
pollinator
Posts: 1877
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Paulo, that's interesting and there are some details I would like to know.

Were your results better only by sowing radish on root days?
Or did you pay attention to some other things about moon, like the crescent and the going up and down (that I do not know the name in English! Well, it might be ascendant and descendant)

And I do water my trees on root days... For the rest, I pay more attention on the moon than the constellations.
 
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I have studied climatology, oceanography, astronomy, and ancient civilizations. My beliefs in the power of Nature and how it influences our lives have always made me feel like an outsider. This summer a mystic introduced me to a different form of gardening based on the stars and energy. From what I am reading in this forum, I am truly excited to learn more about the Spiritual side of Biodynamics.
 
Posts: 98
Location: BC Interior, zone 5a
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BD and it's derivatives are going to be huge in the future. With the changing climate we need all the tools we can carry in our belts. Steiner did leave behind a dogmatic legacy but he always did say we are free to improve upon his recommendations. Folks like Hugh Lovel, Glen Atkinson, Steve Diver, Enzo Nastati, Greg Willis, Steve Storch and others have developed their own versions of BD and are on the cutting edge of all agriculture. These guys can take a farm from near dead to superstar status in as short a time as possible, but then again they are using BD in addition to all the other tools in the belt. They have figured out that BD, when applied appropriately and properly, makes everything else work better.
 
steward
Posts: 7926
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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A key element in permaculture is creating balance in the flora/fauna in/around your site. The more diverse your plantings, the easier it is to achieve this balance.

Biodiversity also seeks balance. However, biodiversity uses other tools to balance forces that we cannot see. Alignment of celestial bodies, gravitational and magnetic pulls, as well as other natural forces are not as obvious to us as are wilting or yellowing leaves, yet they still control aspects of the natural world.

While I believe that there are some hocus pocus elements to some of what some of the BD practitioners use, a lot of the practices seem to be of real value to growers everywhere. Many farmers have been using moon phases and other elements for centuries with anecdotal success.

To totally ignore biodiversity because you find some practices to be beyond what you accept as real/proven, in my opinion, is to limit your tool chest to only what you are familiar with.

If we can bring all of the elements into a better balance, I believe that we will soon see the positive results.

 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Biodynamic practices use homeopathic substances.

Perhaps a clue to the effectiveness of these biodynamic homeopathic substances can be found in what Bruce Lipton, a highly trained scientist, said about why energy medicine (including homeopathics) is more powerfully therapeutic than nutrition or herbs or beneficent pharmaceuticals (are there any?), which produce chemical reactions. Nutrition and herbs and pharmaceuticals interact with our bodies by producing chemical reactions, in which there is always a loss of energy. Energy medicine acts in such a way that there is no loss of energy.

I know back in the day, a long, long time ago, when I doubted homeopathics, Naturopaths would prescribe them and I would take them with great skepticism, and doubted what was happening when they were very powerfully balancing and soothing. I could feel it happening, but my mind said it was not happening because it was "only" energy. Now I know better and just soak it in.

Plants, being blessedly free of such mental blocks, just grow better with these homeopathic preparations.

I am fascinated with this and want to learn more.

It clearly works, so I want to learn it and practice it and then perhaps go beyond dogmatism. No one has everything figured out, and I am willing to take what I like and leave the rest of Steiner's teachings.

I will also start using the Bach Flower Essence, Rescue Remedy when I transplant or when a plant is distressed. It is suggested on the bottle, and listening to this cool stuff about the biodynamic homeopathic preparations, I want to try it.

I am an Aries and no dogma restrains me.

Abundance for All!

Pamela Melcher
 
Rion Mather
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Balance - so true, John. Architectural principles have been based on spiritual balance for centuries.
 
Posts: 37
Location: Córdoba, Argentina
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Hi all -

Here in Argentina, I've met many more gardeners that know and/or practice Biodynamic gardening compared to those familiar with Permaculture. Which I've find a bit odd since I would consider Biodynamics to be a "grandfathered-in" subset of possible contents of the permacultural toolkit. For one thing, lots of the Steiner / anthroposophy literature is in-print here, whereas Holmgren and Mollison, et all are not. (Which is a whole 'nother story. ANyone want to start a Latin-American permaculture publishing/translation house?)

Biodyamics also gets frequent lip service in THC magazine, a hugely popular monthly magazine published in Buenos Aires and dedicated to organic cultivation of cannabis. Many of the growers interviewed for the magazine say they use biodynamic methods with considerable results, which more than anything boils down to use of the Biodynamic yearly calendar. The calendar shows that for each day/month there are days when to plant, days when to harvest, days when to apply fertilizer, and days when NOT to do so etc... I assume that the publishers of the calendar use astral and or lunar cycles to update the recommendations for any given day, but I'm unaware about how this is done.

As far as I've been able to observe, that is the most widely practiced facet of biodyamics that I've observed here in Argentina: doing certain things on certain days, and avoiding doing those things on other days. Whether or not one perceives, believes, or has access to the kind of intuition that Steiner had which led to the elaboration of this calendar, I think that on a very basic level it encourages the gardener not to be intervening all the time and to let the garden benefit from periods of inactivity (aka constant human meddling). This is exactly the kind maintenance protocol that we would find in a successful permacultural food forest, for example.

All the best,

Scott
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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Well one good point to make is...since this information has been available on Permies..and since being mentioned in some podcasts I've taken a real interest in studying on the biodynamics and seeing how I can incorporate some of the ideas into my food forest garden.

I have been reading calendars and moon phase information and find how it affects the amount of moisture in the soil and the amount of light getting to the plants and I find that really fascinating. I don't see how that could be against any permaculture methods that I use..just learning from it that maybe it is better to plant when there is growing light and more moisture available to the plants..and to weed or harvest or whatever at times when those things won't affect in a negative way the way the plants will be used, say storage, transplant, eat right away..etc.

I have ordered the book and the 2013 calendar for N America and plan to give the planting by the position of the moon to the earth this coming year. Some of it made perfect sense to me. And I do know that in Michigan we generally get a killing frost on the night of the first full moon in June..and you'd better cover any tender plants you have growing at that time or they're likely dead..doesn't happen every year..but 9 out of 10.

I don't see it so much as a religion as a science..just like the tides..the moon pulls or pushes moisture and provides light..etc.

I am very much interested in seeing how this may affect my growing next year...thanks Paul for providing this thread
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Brenda,

I resonate and agree with all you say here.

I hope you will share your results and look forward to reading about it.

Thank you for all you share.

Yes, thank you, Paul, for putting up this forum and for all you do, which is awesome and amazing.

 
Paulo Bessa
pollinator
Posts: 356
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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Folks, neither permaculture or byodinamics are science or scientific.

In fact both are rejected by conventional science. Though permaculture draws a bit from ecological science.

Therefore both biodynamics and permaculture are outsiders and pseudosciences as considered by current scientific approaches.
Howeve this is just a label people put.

To me, nothing of this really matters. Why can't a scientist be a mystic, or a mystic be a scientist? Why can't science study life after death, cryptoanimals or whatever is strange and freak? I really don't get it: these kind of ideological battles between science and religion, religion and mysticism, mysticism and science, or between politics, etc... Just because there is two completely different approaches, it does not mean that they exclude from each other. Or are we approaching permaculture, politics or else, like a form of a religion. Whoever thinks outside, is considered a lunatic.

Humans tend to think always of dualities. There is no need to be so.

Just study whatever you want to. There is no censorship. Only your own mind or your own set of beliefs, set the limits.

If you want to dig cow horns, fine. If you want to sow by the moon, its fine. If you think its a waste of time, its fine. If you want to till, fine. If you don't want to till, fine. If you want to be a raw veganm fine, as well if you want to be paleo. There is no duality, no battle.
 
pollinator
Posts: 371
Location: East Central GA, Ultisol, Zone 8, Humid
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Paulo Bessa wrote:Folks, neither permaculture or byodinamics are science or scientific.

In fact both are rejected by conventional science. Though permaculture draws a bit from ecological science.



Actually 'mainstream' science in europe is slowly catching on to PC, but not really biodynamics. Permaculture itself is a science, as we are constantly experimenting, trying new things, and learning from the results, not to mention drawing on the hard work of other scientists. I have yet to see any evidence that planting by moon signs has even the slightest efficacy, even given the most far fetched plausible explanation for why it might work. Full moon does not equal high tide, by the way. Some of the biodynamic "preparations" have shown obvious efficacy, but the scientific explanation of that is the fact that they use dynamic accumulators to make teas for their sprays, therefore supplying minerals to growing plants in which they would otherwise be deficient, resulting in plant disease. Cure the mineral deficiency, and the plant disease goes away biodynamic sprays or not. Personally I would prefer to put down some minerals every 10-20 years rather than making teas and spraying and fussing and praying to the moon goddess.

Paulo Bessa wrote:
Therefore both biodynamics and permaculture are outsiders and pseudosciences as considered by current scientific approaches.
Howeve this is just a label people put.

To me, nothing of this really matters. Why can't a scientist be a mystic, or a mystic be a scientist? Why can't science study life after death, cryptoanimals or whatever is strange and freak?



Scientists cannot study that which does not exist. There is no bigfoot or loch ness monster to study or observe, therefore they cannot observe or study those things, at least not without being rightfully considered a crackpot. That's TV "science".

Paulo Bessa wrote:
I really don't get it: these kind of ideological battles between science and religion, religion and mysticism, mysticism and science, or between politics, etc... Just because there is two completely different approaches, it does not mean that they exclude from each other. Or are we approaching permaculture, politics or else, like a form of a religion. Whoever thinks outside, is considered a lunatic.



I consider there to be a big difference between religion, mysticism and spirituality. Mysticism is superstition, religion is superstition with added fascism, and spirituality is a psychological endeavor to understand human nature and the significance and value of our existence. You haven't even mentioned the latter possibility, which is exactly the sort of thing that irritates me. No 'guru' has all the answers, and most of the modern 'gurus' that get most of the attention (ie Carey Reams, Rudolf Steiner) are cranks who have none of the answers.

Sure, if you want to go looking for paramagnetism in your soil, or plant by moon signs, by all means that's your prerogative. I don't see why I should allow anyone to pretend that they're contributing to the grand sum of the knowledge in PC by doing so, though. I'm willing to accept proof, though, and couldn't claim to be doing science otherwise, so I'll leave an open challenge. If you plant in mineral deficient soil, without inoculant, I hypothesize that no matter what moon sign you plant by your results will be garbage. Conversely, I hypothesize that planting into mineralized soil with inoculant will achieve consistently positive results even if you were to plant during the worst possible moon sign. Perhaps someone can tell me what's the worst date(s) to plant in January/February next year, and that's exactly when I'll plant.
 
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In a way Rudolf Steiner was like Jezus. Itś not that he walked on water, and lets face it, Christ is a mythological character that represents psychological aspects of ourselves, but both dudes wouldn't want their words being made in to dogma.

Some people will grasp onto fixed ideas and make it into dogma, because it makes them feel safe from drowning in the ocean of chaos that is the world of information. It is just a thing some people tend to do. It would be nice if people could stop blaming whole groups for behaviours of some.

I am very much interested in this topic as I am about to start a journey as a CSA farmer with a good friend of mine who did his bio-dynamics degree. I myself did 2 PDC's so consider myself more into permaculture. As some others here I too have seen spirits and feel all that, but I am also allergic to dogma, so take things at face value. I'm very much interested in the merging of these 2 philosophies as both make valid points.

Thanks for all the sensible comments in this thread. It's kind of refreshing to read!
 
Paulo Bessa
pollinator
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Michel Kegels wrote:In a way Rudolf Steiner was like Jezus. Itś not that he walked on water, and lets face it, Christ is a mythological character that represents psychological aspects of ourselves, but both dudes wouldn't want their words being made in to dogma.



It´s a funny comparison however it does apply to many famous human beings.

We, as a civilization, tend to have a bad handling of any good idea. Humans are very good to make dogmas out of initially nice ideas, or interpret them in their own agendas, while at the same time, some others begin to diabolize those ideas as dogmas, because they go against their own ideas. This is probably the main cause of our wars (at a global level), our national conflicts, and our own personal conflicts. What a waste of energy! We devote so much energy to fight another´s ideology.

There were many human beings that in their own historical context, came up with wonderful good social, spiritual and political ideas only to be hated or loved some years, decades and centuries later. Their ideas were good natured (perhaps radically new) and were completely misunderstood. I wonder why this seems to consistently happen with every good idea/ ideology. It´s one of the main reasons for our dramas.

 
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Hi. I've been both a BD farmer & permie & can point you toward Demeter Australia's excellent magazine 'Biodynamic Growing' for scientific trials, case studies, basics etc. for better understanding.
I use permaculture for designing & bd for soil prep, growing & animal health.
Goodluck!
 
author
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Alicia Gaul wrote:
I use permaculture for designing & bd for soil prep, growing & animal health.



Welcome Alicia. That is a great description of how I intertwine the two on my farm.

I am quite excited to be breaching the subject at the Permaculture Voices Conference. Permaculture really needs Biodynamics for the exact reasons you specify. To me, farming isnt just about imitating nature, there is the element of husbandry, which is deep in Biodynamics. Designing patterns based on nature is the best of permaculture, but incorporating human stewardship according to Biodynamic principles, makes our farms truly thrive.

Glad you are here, I look forward to hearing more about your experiences fusing permaculture and biodynamics.
 
Alicia Gauld
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Thankyou & goodluck at the conference Adam!
 
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Biodynamics as I have experienced is akin to homeopathy for the earth. I still don't truly understand homeopathy but it is effective as medicine for myself and especially for my young children, in certain instances. Biodynamic preparations uses a similar principal. It does appeal most to those who have a spiritual sensibility, and affinity with subtle energies and substances.
 
pollinator
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Hi,

After seeing this video in this youtube video, I bought and grew lots of horsetail.

I now want to make the "biodynamic concoction" he made that fights mildew.

Does anyone have the formula for how he uses horsetail to cure mildew or can point me to where I might find it?

Thanks!


Mart





paul wheaton wrote:This kinda reminds me of the point that some people have that you cannot talk about going to mars until several people have done it, documented it, and submitted their experiences to peer reviewed journals.

Trial and Error is a big part of science.  And before you can do trial and error, somebody has to have a bit of creative thought about what to try.  And the very first part of trial and error is going to be trying something once. 

From the perspective of a lot of scientists, all of permaculture is just a bunch of kooky hippie fantasy talk. 

Steiner may be a kook, but a lot of steiners kooky stuff is turning out to be rather brilliant.  A hundred years from now, we might have figured out that 63% was brilliant and 22% was kind kooky and 15% was way off. 

I think that a scientist that writes it all of as crap is a poor scientist.

Here is a video of Brian Kerkvliet in august of 2010.  I spent two days in the bellingham area taking video and pictures of lots of farms and gardens.  Nearly every squash I saw had mildew on the leaves.  Except for Brian's.  These leaves are perfect.  He says that the reason is a biodynamic concoction he made.  He has my attention.  Those of you that are not keen on biodynamic should not look at this, because it is biodynamic and, therefore, too woowoo for you.



 
Cee Ray
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Location: BC Interior, zone 5a
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I heard a couple years ago there is a bd practitioner in Peru who developed a gluten free version of kamut or spelt, using bd practices and homeopathic preps. It is or was apparently a registered variety there, under the name 'Condor'.

There is another bd practioner in Italy, who has similarly developed a rye grain that has a head 12 inches long, with 300 grains of rye. Commercial rye usually has around 80 grains. This fellow carries his rye grain head around in a test tube, as his business card.
 
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