The way I farm and garden is BIO-DYNAMICALLY Its major aim is to produce quality food.

  This is a modern method that grew out of the concern by farmers that their farming systems where failing...
In the 1920’s farming was relatively simple compared with today (what we call organic today), but farmers were beginning to notice decline.  The seed strains were degenerating and animals were subject to more diseases.

        Rudolf Steiner was trained in science and philosophy and renowned for his spiritual yet highly practical approach to worldly affairs; e.g. new methods of education and medicine. The farmers approached Steiner for help. After much persuasion in 1924 he gave a series of 8 lectures to the farmers where he indicated some methods to develop and use. Since then methods have developed for practical application from experience and results of research. 
     The growth  of B D has been slow owing to fears that it might be misused or misunderstood and is often described as “way out”, but  it is very simple and can be applied by anyone on any scale from a few pots to large scale broad acre farming as well as everything in between.
To me BD agriculture is the craft of farming .The farmer is a skilled, in tune craftsperson, just like a skilled cabinet maker, using quality wood to make a fine table that will last forever. Compare that to a massed produced table made from chipboard and staples, made to a price by machines, just like factory farming. DO THESE PRODUCTS LAST OR SUSTAIN?
        BD brings a totally new impulse towards rejuvenation and renewal of the earth as it ages and becomes tired and worn out. Organic farming does not give this impulse.
        One of the most enjoyable and challenging thing about BD is speculating about how it works.

                 In a Biodynamic system everything that is alive is dependant on others in a network of living things. It is connecting life (BIO) with the interactions within the whole system (DYNAMICS) 
        Therefore Biodynamics is about the interactions between the four kingdoms of nature:
Underpinning BD is a mixed farm a Polly culture. The aim is to have an integrated system of diverse crops, animals, native areas & if possible water that all work together like an orchestra and you as the farmer or gardener are the conductor.
A bd Farm is self sustaining and always evolving. It develops its own identity & fertility season by season. How a bd ecosystem is structured up to you, the land & climate .Every farm & garden will be unique. e.g all farms need animals to ensure adequate materials for recycling into compost & recycling the nutrients. Since we grown mainly tree crops, birds & trees go together, we also have a wet valley so we chose geese-grazing animals with web feet,therefore they don't damage the land.
    Once the dynamics of the system ie. Crops animals’ habitat etc is in place we can activate the biological life in the soil and to develop skills to nurture the soil, plants and animals.
In developing a good biodynamic system you also need to develop the ability to sit back ,observe & act when necessary rather than rush in & attack a problem e.g. control of some insect pests where treatment may turn out to be unnecessary if the natural controls be they parasites, predators, weather are given time to take effect.
You need to develop your intuition & trust it!
Being a farmer is working with life. Whenever I'm introduced to someone as a BD or organic farmer I'm immediately asked “HOW DO YOU GET RID OF.......?”Farmers and gardeners go out in the morning NOT with life on their minds but death they want to get rid of everything that is not their crop; you only have to listen the gardening shows to get my drift. A balanced natural system. Takes time to develop... we need to be aware of all the elements of life & should take time to become closer by observing, keeping records & learning from nature.
Before farmers got 3+ feet off the ground on their tractors they were able to recognize what was happening on the farm. They could see which plants did better than others, what combination of plants, what birds are around, how the soil felt. They made use of these observations. Think of these skills as extra in your already multi skilled format. These skills you develop yourself. “A farmers footsteps is the best fertilizer”

What makes BD different are the tools  
that   are designed toRegenerate the forces that work through
the soil & plants that is unique to bd
When using the bio-dynamic preparations we are attempting to work directly with the forces of growth and development which are inherent in all living things. This “lifeless ‘or “livingness” of things does not just magically appear and disappear, but always is and is everywhere. It expands contracts and transforms under certain elemental conditions these elemental conditions as warmth (fire) air (light) water and earth (mineral). If you think of the way the seasons express themselves or a plant passing through successive states of seeding, flower, fruit and seed.
          The BD preparations do not occur in nature rather they are made by ultizing substances taken out of nature from the 3 kingdoms of nature: MINERAL
ANIMAL            and put together by HUMANS
These preparations are made by the farmers or by BD groups and distributed through their membership. The Adelaide Hills BD group hold working bees to make these in autumn and spring. All members are invited to assist. Assisting is also the best way to learn about the preparations.

         The preparations consist of 2 groups;
·      Spray Preparations:
*Horn manure 500 is used to enliven the soil, increasing the micro flora and availability of nutrients and trace elements. Through its application root growth in particular is strengthened in a balanced way.

Horn manure is used in autumn and spring can be applied at other times as long as there is moisture
It is stirred for  one hour either by hand by  machine or flowform depending on scale. It is stirred in the afternoon when the earth is breathing in.

Regular use of horn manure results in improvements in soil structure via
·      Increased water holding capacity
·      Increased earthworm activity
·      Improved crumb structure in soil this means more air & water can be stored.
·      Increased clover nodulation
·      Greater root penetration
·      Increased micro flora which means more nutrients & trace elements are available to plants
·      Stabilizing pH
·      Horn silica 501 enhances the light and warmth assimilation of the plants, leading to better fruit and seed development with improved flavour, aroma, and colour and keeping quality.
·      It is stirred in the same way as 500 how ever t except in the early morning when the earth is breathing out. It is sprayed out as a fine mist & tends to drift across the crop.
·      Timing will depend on the type of crop when the part you want to harvest becomes noticeable. Perennial fruit crops can be sprayed after the fruit has set ,when about ¾ ready & as next years buds are forming.
501 has the effect on fruit ripening more evenly, longer storage ,more intense flavour, also better quality when rain intervenes

·      Compost Preparations: (502 - 507) are added to composts.

* Compost preparations 502-507 help the dynamic cycles of the macro and micro nutrients via the biological processes which lead to humus formation
Imagine the compost heap is a body ,when we add  the 6 preps they are like organs they get the heap working in a balanced way the breakdown & then the most important the build up of new substance HUMUS. Which then becomes part of the whole & continues the cycle that produces Quality food?
Farming and gardening Biodynamically  is extremely rewarding and stimulating (I think it will take  me around 7 lifetimes to understand it ) mean while I enjoy being part of a system that reconnects me to nature and that teachers me  a greater appreciation of its wonder.

Nirvana Organic Farm runs  Biodynamic  Workshops.