Now what do we want anything special for this on the web?
If you think your backyard garden isn’t “organic” enough and want to try something more cutting-edge, biodynamic gardening may be the answer. Conceived by Rudolph Steiner (the same guy who created the Waldorf school), biodynamic gardening harnesses earthly and cosmic forces to generate a nutrient-rich and vigorous soil and transforms your garden from a tasty treat into a thriving and bountiful energy field of life. But, beware: This method is not vegetarian friendly, and it’s far from easy. Biodynamic gardening (also known as biointensive, homeodynamic and sometimes hippy-dippy shit) seeks to create a holistic relationship between the dirt, plants, animals, microbes, universal forces and farmer.
The practice focuses heavily on time-intensive composting methods applied as medicinal elixirs to the earth. These elixirs, with technical names like Preparation 500 and 503, begin with the ritual sacrifice of a cow in autumn. From then on, the processes for making these elixirs range from filling the cow’s horns with manure to decompose underground for six months, to filling the entrails with medicinal flowers to create chamomile and dandelion sausages used to ferment compost piles.
It may sound odd, but biodynamics begins with the philosophy of creating a spiritual and interpersonal relationship with your garden – from the animals to the plants to the dirt – and understanding how everything ties together.
If this seems too intensive for your garden, or if you’re afraid your landlord might find your cow horns distressing, don’t fear. There are other ways to incorporate biodynamics into your yard.
Biodynamics gardeners consider astronomical information as crucial as checking the weather among the myriad environmental factors that can affect planting. A cursory understanding of astronomy tells us that moon phases control the amount of moisture in the soil, with more moisture during a full moon and less during the new moon. For this reason, lunar calendars have been available in farmers almanacs for decades.
Additionally, biodynamics adherents have formulated a guide based on the position of constellations and planetary bodies on a given day, which helps farmers choose the most favorable time to cultivate and harvest crops, plant seeds and transplant seedlings.
Biodynamics planting calendars are organized by the 12 constellations of the zodiac, which are associated with the four elements: earth, air, water and fire. Based on the alignment of Earth with these constellations and the moon, sun and other planets, certain qualities of a crop can be enhanced. By following the calendar, a gardener could focus on fruiting crops (such as peas, beans and strawberries) on days when the moon is in relation to fire elements; leafy crops (like lettuce or greens) with water elements; flowering crops (like broccoli) with air elements; and root crops (like beets, onions and radishes) with earth elements.
For those of you who know nothing about the zodiac, or even the phases of the moon, you are in luck: Stella Natura publishes a comprehensive planting calendar for the beginner biodynamics gardener. You can check out and download the months of November and December.