Seed Baths

Harvest Article – Spring 2021. Graeme Roberts explains how to soak seeds in biodynamic preparations for increased plant health.

Article excerpt reprinted with permission from Elementals Journal #135.

Most seed used by conventional (chemical) farmers is usually treated to protect the seed from pests and fungal attack. These coatings are generally toxic to the microorganisms in the soil.

Sattler and Wistinghausen, in their book Bio-Dynamic Farming Practice, discuss seed baths in some detail, along with grain selection and germination trials.

They note that Martha Kuenzel and Franz Lippert have done numerous seed bath trials over many years and developed a seed treatment that strengthens the vitality and resistance of plants. Their experiments investigated the benefits to different plants whose seeds were treated by pre-soaking with particular biodynamic preparations.

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Applying for Demeter Certification

Biodynamics, Cow Dung and Best Practice: A Viticulturist Journey by Jared Connolly

Harvests Article – Summer 2016

My biodynamic journey began in 1999 while studying organic growing with Holger Kahl at Seven Oaks in Christchurch. We were fortunate to have Ian Henderson teach our class the basics of animal husbandry at Milmore Downs, and I had the opportunity to plough paddocks and dig soil pits at Terrace Farms with Geoff and Ira Wilson. We also picked chamomile flowers at Hohepa Farm in Halswell with Marinus La Rooij.

All three of these occasions in my two years of learning ignited a very strong desire to create a life working and learning with this approach called biodynamics.

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preparation 500

Mangawhai Biodynamics Community Day

Northern Kaipara Biodynamics Constellation – Sunday 27th March 3-5.30pm

Making BD Horn Manure 500 and stir at Pauline Mann’s place: 28 Molesworth Dr, Mangawhai  

All welcome. Koha appreciated.

Txt Christine Moginie 0211796471 to register.

We are also needing cow horns please and happy to pay post and koha. Thank you

Motueka Steiner School Workshop Series; Su Hoskin – Making the Biodynamic Preparations

The Kete Ora Trust has granted funding to the Motueka Rudolf Steiner School Trust (MRSST) to offer 8 community workshops in the theory and practice of biodynamics in home gardens, marae, market gardens, farms, schools and our Steiner School Farm. The tutors are highly experienced biodynamic farmers and gardeners who will guide you through both theory and hands-on learning. Our vision is to form a regional biodynamic hub which will produce quality BD preparations under guidance and  continue to provide community and sector education in biodynamics.  

Date: Saturday 26th March 2022  – Autumn Equinox

Time: 10am to 5pm 

Su has spent over a decade practicing biodynamic farming principles on home gardens, a mixed farm, vineyards and more recently a local food forest and allotments in New Zealand. In 2012 Su set up a charitable trust which holds informal discussions, runs workshops, demonstrations and seminars, providing support for new and existing BD practitioners. In 2015 Su gained  her Certificate in Applied Organics and Biodynamics from Taruna College. She later went on to help coordinate the same course in her own region, Central Otago. Between 2015 and 2018 she completed a term on the New Zealand Biodynamic Association Council  and has been a trustee on the Kete Ora Trust for many years.  

Venue:  From 10am to lunchtime in Ahi Classroom at the Motueka Steiner School, 165 Robinson Rd. Please park inside the main entrance and walk up to the Ahi classroom or get a lift from others. There is limited parking close to Ahi. 

The practical afternoon session on “Making the Biodynamic Preparations” and burying them will be held at the Steiner School Farm, 49 School Rd. 

BYO: lunch; boots in case of wet weather; extra-grip plastic gloves. 

Register: your name with These workshops are each limited to 20 people so registrations are on a first come first serve basis.  

Koha: The suggested Koha for the day is $45. Please transfer your Koha  online to the Motueka Rudolf Steiner School Trust (MRSST) account number 03-1354-0296448-05.  

Please use as the reference: Your surname (abbreviated if need be) followed by first initial of your first name and then KO KOHA  (this stands for for Kete Ora Koha). Eg your name reference could be SmithJ KO Koha 

Looking forward to seeing you at the Steiner School Farm on Saturday 26th March 2022. 

Summer Solstice and Planting Ideas

Summer Solstice is approaching (it’s next Wednesday the 22nd of Dec) and it’s a lovely time of the year to slow down and contemplate our connection within nature and it’s rhythms.

If you planted your garlic around the Winter Solstice – it’s now time to lift the garlic! 

I chatted to Christine Moginie one of the Biodynamic Association Council Members about her thoughts, contemplations and suggestions for this upcoming Summer Solstice celebration.

Create a Spiral in Nature

Whether you live by the beach, or near a bush or even just a park – Christine suggests creating a spiral out of leaves, petals or branches or marked in the sand and walking the spiral slowly and contemplatively while the sun is rising on the longest day of the year. (You can either get up earlier than the sunrise to make the spiral or set it up the night before).

Over the next week, you might like to collect flowers and petals to use for your nature spiral. You can use these to create the spiral in the first place and it also might be nice to sprinkle the petals as you walk the spiral, Christine sees this as a way to acknowledge the beings that walk with us always on this journey of life (seen and unseen).

There’s no hard and fast rules for a specific prep to apply at this time of year, but for the home gardener, Christine suggests using a cow pat pit (CPP) or BD501 Horn Silica to balance and strength the connection between earth and light.


With the light and warmth energies at it’s highest at this time of the year, Christine suggests contemplating the cosmic forces and imagining that the cosmic energy are drawing us up into the highest aspect of ourselves.

In contrast to the Winter Solstice which is calling in the earthly forces and drawing us downwards.

With the days being longer, our energy levels are naturally higher than in winter, you may want to think about how you’re going to use the extra energy and day light at this time of year. Do you want to spend more time and connect more deeply with family and friends? Or do you feel like it’s time to rest, or to focus on introspection?

Full Moon and Planting Schedule

We also have the full moon happening on Sunday the 19th and the moon is in opposition with Saturn next Thursday so here’s a suggestion of how to schedule getting some new seeds going and into the garden next week.

Today/Friday – Soak seeds (approximately three days before the full moon).

Saturday or Sunday – Plant seeds in seedling tray – Christine recommends Saturday as it’s a root day. Around the full moon with it still in descending phase.

Next Thursday – Plant seedlings into the ground (Moon in opposition to Saturn) – moon has started to ascend so hopefully will draw energy up into producing leaves!

Christine recommends trying out basil, coriander or parsley

Festivals Recording from Cosmic and Earthly Impulses Workshop

If you’re feeling inspired about celebration, festivals and connection, we have something very special for you.

At the recent Cosmic and Earthly Impulses workshop we recorded Ineke Mulder speaking on “Renewing the Festivals of a Biodynamic Farm”

Ineke has generously donated this to the Biodynamic Association and as a member, you can purchase the audio of the lecture for just $10. Your contribution will go towards more online Biodynamic Education 🙌🏻

Listen to it while sowing your seedings into the ground next Thursday!

Biodynamics and Demeter Certification at Seresin Estate

João Corbett of Seresin Estate was interviewed for the 2021 Spring issue of Harvests Magazine, in the interview he talks through the benefits of Demeter Certification from his perspective as an agricultural engineer and his experience working on a vineyard. For access to the full article and other perks, become a Member of Biodynamics New Zealand.

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Autumn Equinox National Stir

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.


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.”

Rachel Pomeroy’s photo of the eastern horizon from Atea a Rangi, Napier taken Thursday March 19th


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.


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.


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 and we’ll update this article.

Share with us your stir by tagging us on Instagram @biodynamicsnewzealand or Facebook and we’ll share your photos.

Preparations can be purchased from the Biodynamic Association. Simply purchase a membership (digital or full) and head to the online Shop.

Su Hoskin at Domaine Thomson, Central Otago, New Zealand, demonstrates how to make biodynamic horn manure

Making Horn Manure at Domaine Thompson

Videographer Colin Ross is our newest council member and he hasn’t wasted any time in putting his skills to use. He’s captured a recent horn manure-making session led by Su Hoskin at Domaine Thomson. Check it out!

Colin is already well-known to many in the NZ biodynamic community from his years managing Seresin Estate in Marlborough. He’s a passionate biodynamic educator and, along with the legendary Rachel Pomeroy, ran a very successful pre-conference introductory course in biodynamics in May this year.

We’ll be showcasing another of Colin’s videos in the next couple of weeks, so bookmark our YouTube channel or come back here for updates!

Biodynamic preps – Global Case Studies

“The Biodynamic Preparations in Context — case studies of worldwide practice”. This substantial document features case studies from New Zealand practitioners Chris Hull and the Hohepa community; and Colin Ross and Wendy Tillman of Seresin Estate (Wendy’s radiant smile made the cover!).

Check out the English language version here:

Biodynamics Flows onto Windriver Farm

After 18 months of Peter’s spraying programme, Mike is delighted with the results. Grass production has improved so much in quantity and quality that Mike is able to keep more cows on the farm and make plenty of hay, silage and baleage for extra winter and summer feed.

Unfortunately it has not been possible to measure quantitative results, but both Mike and his father Eddie say they have never seen the farm produce so well in spite of no other amendments except a mix of dolomite and brimstone being applied to the pasture.

This was put on after a soil test indicated magnesium and sulphur levels were too low according to the Probitas system. The qualitative results are seen in healthier cows and sharply increasing local demand for raw milk from the farm. Peter adds a mix of compost preparations to the dairy shed effluent as it goes into the effluent pond. Then he adds Preparation 500 to liquid effluent, passes it through flowforms, and finally sprays it onto the paddocks after cows have grazed them.

This is repeated about every three months, depending on weather conditions. Ideally the spray should go onto damp ground before a dry spell is expected. A homeopathic spray made from Preparation 501 is also sprayed onto thepastures, particularly when conditions are cloudy and wet, to bring some “summer sunshine,” as Peter explains it. The setup of all the stirring and spraying equipment took some time for Peter and Mike to sort out, but now it all works well.

Peter has also been busy planting trees around the farm, as cattle benefit so much from the shade, shelter and feed the trees provide. Mike and Peter will be demonstrating
their system on the first day of this year’s biodynamic conference in Palmerston North, giving opportunity for other farmers to see it. Several young farmers have already visited the farm, and there is opportunity for others to come and spend a few days learning about Peter’s system if they contact Peter first – phone 06 326 8599.

They will need to do this soon, as Peter will be moving back further north after the biodynamic conference. Peter has written about his long experience of using biodynamic preparations on commercial farms in his book, Biodynamic Pasture Management, which is available to buy from the Bio Dynamic Association.