Healing Ponds Farm is going biodynamic. For starters, that means compost. More particularly, it means Preparation 500.
WHAT’S BIODYNAMIC COMPOST?
Friendly Haven Farm describes it like this:
“Biodynamic Compost is something special. This method of combining animal manures and organic wastes is known for its ability to bring outstanding nutrition and remarkable healthy growth to garden plants, fruits and vegetables.
Biodynamic compost revolves around “preparations” – mixtures you concoct, then apply to your land, to increase fertility and make your garden healthier.
The idea is soil improvement:
It can renew depleted soils in places where soil fertility is fast disappearing, a truly valuable way to work against “one of the most significant global environmental problems” of the world: i.e., desertification.
Closer to home, it can enrich your garden too, enormously.
There are at least 9 different preparations used in biodynamic compost (want to see the list?), but most recently, the one we’ve been getting our hands dirty with at Healing Ponds Farm is Preparation 500.
Preparation 500 is “cow horn manure compost.” Here’s how it works:
You get your hands on some cow horns, stuff them with fresh manure from a pastured, lactating cow, bury them under some good topsoil (16 to 18 inches deep), and dig them up 6 months later. The horns can be collected for reuse – they’ll break down after a while, but you can use them several times before that happens. As for the compost, it’ll turn into a calcium-rich humus.
Want to see this in action? Here’s a video from Backyard Biodynamics, demonstrating how to stuff and bury your horns.
After you’ve dug them up again, you empty out the compost, dilute it (mixing 25g in each 3.5 gallons water for every acre of land), then spray the solution on the soil.
Timing matters. Wait for a descending (waning) moon to stuff and bury the horns, sometime between November and February. As for spraying, it’s best to do it every spring and fall, in the afternoon.
And the benefits? According to the Biodynamic Association of India, these include:
By the way, click that link (above) if you want to learn more about how to do this. The Biodynamic Association of India has a lot of great info and instructions on their Preparation 500 page.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IT WORKS?
Friendly Haven Farm cites the following:
“Research at Washington State University (WSU) found that biodynamic composts have higher temperatures, mature faster, have more beneficial nitrates than normal compost piles and are effective even in homeopathic quantities (ibid.).
And, from the Biodynamic Association of India again,
“International research has found that BD soils require 25% to 50% less irrigation than conventional soils (ibid.).
Have fun making your own Preparation 500, and if you do, please come back and tell us how it goes!