Below is an excerpt from the Spring 2021 issue of Harvests Magazine, written by Rachael Ewings. In Harvests, we share biodynamic stories from around Aotearoa, New Zealand and beyond. To get your hands on a copy of Harvests – and loads of other perks – become a member of Biodynamics New Zealand.
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Congratulations David Wright, MNZM pictured below at his Investiture Ceremony, 1 July 2020. This recognition is so very well deserved. “Mr Wright helped develop the NZS8410:2003 Organic Production minimum standard for defining the term “organic” and so much more. Thank you for all your years of dedication and commitment and everything you have done for your community. Read more here.
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Join in as NZ growers unite for Autumn Equinox celebrations, this Friday evening, 19th March as it is the perfect time to stir and apply preparation 500 and bring balancing energy to the soils and world. We asked three Biodynamic educators, Rachel Pomeroy, Su Hoskin and Rand Carter for a brief commentary on what is occurring this Autumn Equinox, and what we can do biodynamically, to help the positive forces of our gardens, farms and our spirits grow.
In Aotearoa, we find ourselves called return our intentions to papatuanuku, earth and the cosmos above and in turn breath much needed balance and grounding into our wairua, spirit. To perhaps sit this Friday, as we stir in aroha and gratitude, and celebration of seasons change into Autumn and the descent into the time of earth forces and energy.
As Rand Carter in the Northern Hemisphere writes “In order to fashionably welcome Spring, on March 19, we will spray BD #500. On March 20, we will all spray BD #501. The Merry Prepstirs desire is to promote the visual process of the biodynamic sequential spray from simply ‘your personal farm/garden’ into a global sequential spray. Imagine the boundaries of this spray day to reach from coast to coast and from continent to continent.
Su:Autumn Equinox is perfect timing for spreading the biodynamic field preparation horn manure or Preparation 500.
The descending Moon will be in the earth sign of Capricorn from Thursday 19th March until just before 5.00pm Saturday 21st March. Utilise the drawing down phase of the afternoon to stir and apply for optimal timing at the change of seasons.
Strange as it may seem, the soil life actually awakens in the fall, to receive the dying plant matter and replenish from the growing season.
The Earth inhales during this time in a rhythmic process, so compost, liquid manures and barrel compost are also of great benefit if applied now to the land.
AUTUMN EQUINOX – INCREASING MAURI OF THE SOIL
Rachel Pomeroy, educator and astronomer writes, “At the Autumn Equinox, Tama Nui Te Ra farewells Hine Raumati and moves hastily towards Hine Takurua, in whose home he will linger for the next several months. But notice how the brilliant winter full moons of the next months all keep company with Hine Raumati, she’s not abandoned.
Although the warmth and light have left the land and the luxuriant growth of plants will slow or cease, below the ground, the life of soil and roots is very active. To support Te Marama in below ground activity, increasing the Mauri of the soil, add compost and mulch around fruit trees and vines, use CPP and liquid manure around the roots of the winter vegetables and apply the horn manure preparation to all the land.”
WHAT TIME TO SPRAY
Rand: Though many people spray “after 3pm” this is not the beginning of the cosmic in-breathing time except on specific days and only during specific seasons. For example, in summer, the soil is almost certainly NOT yet cooling nor contracting at 3pm, but in winter, the soil almost certainly will begin to cool by that time of day.We want to spray out 500 when the soil is contracting, which means when the air pressure is switching from negative (expansive) pressure to positive (contracting) pressure. If we spray something out strictly at 3pm, most of it will evaporate. These conditions are extremely local. If you have an overcast day, you can’t rely on a recipe. If you have an unseasonably warm front moving in during the evening, a 500 spray will not be drawn into the soil as it should. Likewise, a cold front moving in at dawn will not help 501 move up and out over a garden. It is far more important to be sensitive to local conditions.
When soil cools, it contracts. When air heats, it expands.
To put it as simply as possible: is the soil cooling off? You can spray 500. Is the soil warming up? You can spray 501. A good general rule is this: are shadows starting to fall across the farm? You can spray 500. Conversely, is light starting to hit the soil? You can spray 501, or about the time the dew begins to dry. This will all be different depending on your altitude or whether you have hills surrounding you (or even trees). Discard dogma. Your local conditions are paramount.
Rand:BD #500 prep contains immense ethereal and astral forces. If you are fortunate to have BD500XP then you have a 20 minute stir, otherwise the standard 1-hour stir.
Su:Horn manure preparation 500 is a manure concentrate. Available for purchase from the BDNZ. Fresh cow manure buried in cow horns in fertile soil for Autumn and Winter, is transformed into a potent conditioner for soil and plants. Applied in Spring and Autumn. It is a living substance which helps build soil structure, stimulates microbial activity and the formation of humus, greatly improving the absorption and retention of water in the soil.
Used as part of a regular practice, it regulates acidity, stimulates the growth of root systems to greater depths, increases the germination rate of seeds and helps to dissolve hard pans.
Stirring or dynamising the preparation for a full hour is a wonderful activity for a group or family, but can also be achieved by one person.
Rand:BD #501 is Horn Silica or Horn Feldspar (for you with sand in your shoes) requires a 1-hour stir. It is best is to spray it into the air on a windless day from sunrise (not before) to mid-morning – before 8AM with a temperature not above 72. (Stewart Lundy’s & Troy Teets comments on shadows (see above) rings true).
Su: The dynamic interaction between the prep and the water can be done in clean separate small buckets or in a larger container such as a wine barrel, copper tub or plastic drum. Individual buckets can be stirred using your hand or a stick or wooden spoon. A larger vessel will require more effort and therefore a suspended pole is recommended on a tripod over the barrel or attached to a frame / roof beam of an outdoor building.
WHAT SORT OF WATER QUALITY TO USE?
Su:Water quality is of the essence, rain water, spring water or bore If possible, warmed to blood temperature. This will activate the biology to a greater degree than cold water.
Rand: Enzo Nastati says there “are basically three kinds of water. The water that descends, the water that rises, and the water that flows. What kind will you use for the 500? Spring water. Well water if it is not too deep. When a well is more than 100 meters deep that water is full of darkness.” If you must use municipal water, let it aerate for a day to off-gas the long-lasting disinfectant called Chloramine (chlorine & ammonia).
Su: Barrel compost can be added for the last twenty minutes of the stir. This will then become the carrier for the compost preparations. It’s a good idea to time yourself, you’ll be surprised how quickly an hour passes during this meditative and stimulating activity.
RECIPE ON HOW TO STIR BD 500
Su: Use 50g of the horn manure preparation to about 30L water per ha. Stir from the outside of the container inward and clockwise until all the liquid is surging in one direction and then break the flow to create ‘chaos’ by reversing the stirring action anti clockwise. Opening the surface area of the water allows aeration and other energetic forces to enter. Repeat for whole hour. The water will become silky and ‘elastic’ as the preparation is incorporated into the liquid.
Have more knowledge to add about Autumn equinox? Leave a comment and your experiences or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll update this article.
14 Oct—19 Nov 2017. For absolute beginners! Combine online learning with practical workshops. See under NEWS & EVENTS.
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Our 2017 conference is only nine weeks away! This year’s theme is “Urban biodynamics: growing the future”, and we’ll be covering everything from backyards to balconies, and lifestyle blocks to farms on the city’s outskirts.
“Why cows have horns” is a resource compiled by the cattle breeding group of the Swiss Biodynamic Association in conjunction with the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and co-published by the NZ Biodynamic Association.