What is biodynamic gardening?
The word ‘biodynamic’, derived from the Greek, literally translates to ‘life force’. It is a highly environmentally-friendly farming and gardening practice that benefits our food, land and the ecosystems surrounding them. Biodynamic gardening is to garden without the use of fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides, and to work with the cosmic and earthly energies around us; essentially harmonising land, animals and people just as Mother Nature intended.
Where did it come from?
The biodynamic approach was founded by Austrian scientist and respected philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1924 in response to the development of synthetically produced fertilisers and pesticides and the increasingly mechanistic view of agriculture. His theory envisaged that with the correct soil preparation and cosmic timing of activities, we could help to harmonise the life forces of a farm or garden. As a result food would taste better and be more nutritious, plants would thrive and animals would be healthier.
In a nutshell – to garden in this way is to influence the biological aspects of the land by connecting with nature, ecosystems and the invisible energies around us without outside input, in turn gaining a better understanding of nature’s processes.
How is it different from growing organic?
Biodynamic gardening offers an extra dimension to an already organic husbandry base. The two practices are very similar: organic planting is essentially to grow food without artificial fertilisers or chemicals and to allow livestock to roam free without antibiotics and hormones. However a biodynamic garden is all this and more. It is a slightly more holistic practice in which a farm or garden exists as one entity, structured around the cycle of the moon and stars. Everything must be produced in one place and all living organisms integrated together, adding vitality to all aspects of the land.
How can I create a biodynamic backyard at home?
Biodynamic gardening can seem a daunting task but, broken down, there is no reason why you can’t practice it at home…
- Prepare your soil – This is the first and most important element to a biodynamic garden. Biodynamic compost and sprays can be purchased or made at home and it is a good idea to consult Biodynamic Agriculture Australia for help on deciding what to use in your outdoor space
- Make your own compost – Biodynamic compost is made with six essential herbs: yarrow, chamomile, nettle, oak bark, dandelion and valerian. The Biodynamic Association is a great source of research if you’re keen to make your compost from scratch
- Plan what you’ll grow – From easy-to-grow herbs to seasonal veg, there is a plethora of goodies to grow in your new biodynamic yard. Do your research first to find out what to grow seasonally and which varieties will thrive best in the climate where you are
- Buy a celestial garden calendar – If you want to start gardening by the moon and the celestial activity of the Earth then an illustrated calendar or book can cut out a lot of the hard work for you, indicating optimal times for planting to guide you every step of the way
- Attend a workshop or lecture – If you’re not sure where to start then there are plenty of resources out there to help you. From workshops and short gardening courses to talks and even online lessons, the internet is a font of knowledge on this subject
- Turn to Hoselink – Here at Hoselink we have everything you’ll need for a reliable watering system as well as quality gardening tools and that all-important fertiliser spray mixer ideal for spreading your homemade biodynamic sprays