As many of you know, we at Turtle Tree Seed use biodynamic farming practices to enhance our seed quality, farm environment and surroundings. Biodynamics has sometimes been called “organics plus”, and it actually began at the same time as the very first beginnings of the organic movement in the early years of the 20th century. These practices have been enlivening farms since 1924!
Biodynamic farming involves three essential parts:
The first is being pro-active with the health of the whole farm, considering the health of the water than runs through, under or around the farm, making sure that there are diverse edges to fields while wild things can flourish; keeping forests for their own sake, making sure that the things we plant and raise on our farms also reflect diversity, and making sure that the farm can become healthy and balanced enough to sustain and raise its own fertility by making compost from on-farm inputs rather than imported fertility. Because of this care for all the life on the farm, both above and below the soil, we never use chemical inputs of any kind.
The second essentials of biodynamics are the compost and field spray preparations, which utilize herbal and mineral remedies, specially prepared, to enliven the compost, the soil and promote high quality in the food plants, both those eaten by people, and those for animals. These remedies, along with compost from the farm’s own manure and garden waste, create the ideal environment to allow plants to be healthy and gather optimal nutrition from the soil, thereby helping to promote health in the animals and people who eat these plants. (You can purchase these preparations from the Josephine Porter Institute, or contact your local biodynamic group to see if they have some to spare.)
And the third essential is working with the rhythms of the wider cosmos, not only the sun and weather, which all farmers and gardeners must pay attention to, but also what is happening with the moon and the stars. While the rhythm of the seasons as determined by the sun play the biggest role in any plant work, we’ve found that the more subtle rhythms of the moon, planets and stars also have their place in our garden. We use our own observations and the Stella Natura Planting Calendar as a guide to these rhythms.