What is Biodynamic Agriculture?
|Most people know what organic farming is, but only a few know what Biodynamic agriculture is. Biodynamics was introduced in the 1920’s by an Austrian scientist and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner. This manner of farming takes a unified approach to agriculture by considering the interconnectedness of the soil, the plants, animals, the earth and even the entire cosmos as a living system. It is considered as one the most sustainable forms of agriculture. The focus of Biodynamic Agriculture is developing and maintaining a healthy soil organism through the use of manure, crop-rotation, cover-cropping and special preparations. The farm is considered as an entire living organism, with the farmer and his practices as playing a vital role to the farm ecosystem.
|What makes it different from organic farming?
As in organic farming, there is no use of chemicals, pesticides or fungicides. However, biodynamics goes beyond organic farming. It treats the soil as a living organism and ensures the health of the soil at all times. Thus, biodynamic farming looks at the farm in terms of forces that affect the soil and the farm, processes that go into farming, rather than just the substances that are put into the soil or plants. Biodynamic agriculture makes use of compost (manure from animals already in the farm), cover cropping, ecological pest management, and special preparations that revitalize life forces, stimulate the roots and help in the production of soil microorganisms and humus. These preparations are homeopathic substances made from herbs, minerals, plant and animal, at very minuscule portions. Aside from the special preparations, Biodynamic agriculture follows daily, monthly and seasonal patterns of nature, such as the phases of the moon for sowing, fertilizing and harvesting.
Our farm practices biodynamic farming in growing flowers (and vegetables too!) We see our farm as an entire ecosystem. Our farm follows a biodynamic calendar for optimum times for sowing, harvesting and transplanting. This is because Biodynamic Agriculture follows daily, monthly and seasonal patterns of nature, such as the phases of the moon, the movement of the planets and the stars. We also use biodynamic preparations for our soil and leaves. These preparations are homeopathic substances made from herbs, minerals, plant and animal, at very minuscule portions. We have learned to follow the cycles and phases of the moon in scheduling our pest management and control, taking into account that the life cycles of these creatures that coincide with the moon’s phases. We also follow crop rotation, and practice cover cropping.
Aside from flowers, our flower farm has now a vegetable patch, devoted to plants that do not only adorn our tables but we can eat as well! The farm grows lettuces, arugula, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, celery, alfalfa sprouts, spinach and several kinds of herbs. More than this, we have planted the vegetables to create patches of ecosystems for all nature in our farm. We do so by growing in all our vegetable beds, a mix of legumes, leaf plants, root crops, annual and perennial plants in one bed. Thus, legumes will provide nitrogen (fertilizer) through their roots. Root crops, taking nutrients from the soil, help aerate the beds, benefiting all plants. Herbs and flowers serve as homes for beneficial insects and also repel the harmful ones.