Ever wondered how to take organic farming to the next level? Read on……
Biodynamics is an integrated spiritual, ethical and ecological approach to farming that includes agriculture and livestock. It was developed as a composite philosophy called Anthroposcopy in the early 1920’s, by Austrian educator and social activist Dr. Rudolf Steiner.
Proponents of Biodynamic Agriculture view farming holistically – their farm as part of a universe of matter, and their agricultural practices as synchronous with natural systems. They believe that the farmer is not just a user of organic resources, but an activist for the rejuvenation of earth. Through their farming they integrate soil fertility, crop protection, livestock management, animal welfare and composting.
- Bio-Diversity with a requirement that 10% of total farm acreage be reserved as a bio-diversity preserve
- Crop Rotation with a requirement that no annual crop be planted in the same field for more than 2 years in succession
- Green Cover with a requirement that bare tillage (land left exposed after harvesting/tilling) be completely banned
- Animal Manure and Minerals to be used in soil protection and replenishment
- Aspects of the Moon and Planets to be taken into account for agricultural activities
Your Farm, the Moon and the Planets….
Pliny the Elder, the first-century Roman naturalist, stated in his Natural History that the Moon “replenishes the earth; when she approaches it, she fills all bodies, while, when she recedes, she empties them.” Biodynamic agriculturists sync farming activities with aspects of the celestial world, and while biodynamic calendars and general guidelines exist, each farmer is urged to develop his/her own understanding of optimal rhythms and cycles, based on his/her experiments with, and intuitive reading of natural manifestations on the farm. Some general guidelines on optimal times are:
- Soil Preparation – During the Descending Moon phase, and in dry soil conditions
- Sowing of Seed – During the Ascending Moon phase/48 hours before Full Moon/when the Moon opposes Saturn
- Planting of Potatoes – During Apogee (furthest point of the Moon)
- Transplanting – During the Descending Moon phase, and in the right season
- Use of Bio Dynamic Applications – afternoons/evenings of the Descending Moon phase, at early growth/just before harvest (BD 500) and mornings of the Ascending Moon phase, at early growth/just before harvest (BD501)
- Use of Liquid Manure – afternoons just before the Full Moon phase, and several times as needed
- Fungus Control – Prior to and during the Full Moon and Perigee (closest point of the Moon), or when the Moon opposes Saturn
- Pruning – During the Descending Moon phase, and in the appropriate season, and if possible:
- Fruit/Fruiting Veggies on Fire Days*
- Flowers on Air Days*
- Harvesting –
- Fruit, Fruit Veggies, Leaf Veggies and Flowers- During the Ascending Moon phase, and in consonance with the relevant Fire/Earth/Air sign*
- Root Veggies – During the Descending Moon phase, and in consonance with the relevant Fire/Earth/Air sign*
- Do not harvest at Full Moon, Perigee and when the Moon is under the influence of a Water sign.* Since these days coincide with greater volume of water in the Earth, crops would retain too much water for satisfactory storage.
- Composting – During the Descending Moon phase
- Compost Spreading – During the Descending Moon phase, and in cool weather
* Biodynamic farmers see harvest as intrinsic to the cosmos. Thus, fruit/fruit veggies correspond with Fire signs, leaf veggies with Water signs, root veggies with Earth signs, and flowers with Air signs. All of these are best sown when the Moon is under the influence of the relevant sign. However, they are harvested differently – fruit/fruit veggies when the Moon is under the influence of Air signs, grains and seeds when the Moon is under the influence of Fire signs, and root veggies during the Descending Moon phase when the Moon is under the influence of Earth signs. The Cardinal signs are:
- FIRE: Leo/Simha, Sagittarius/Dhanush or Aries/Mesha
- AIR: Gemini/Mithuna, Libra/Tula or Aquarius/Kumbha
- EARTH: Virgo/Kanya, Capricorn/Makara or Taurus/Vrishaba
- WATER: Pisces/Mina
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