A cow horn preparation courtesy of Howard Sooley
I got some very interesting feedback from last week’s article about homeopathy in the garden. Some people say that water has a conscience and you can even alter it with mind control even before adding drops of plant extract. We’re not without the odd sceptic too, which keeps everyone on their toes, or their feet on the ground anyway. Here’s what EK said about water. “Water should work as a homeopathic remedy for all preparations, as it would have had the substances dissolved in it before. The controversy surrounding homeopathy is that the dilution recommends a dilution of 10 to the power of 60 – i.e. the original solution is diluted to one million billion billion billion billion billion billionth of the original strength; diluting any active ingredient out of solution.” EK isn’t a fan.
There are more down to earth techniques to use in the garden though if you fancy delving into the work of animal parts. Biodynamic Agriculture is proving to be very popular and although criticised as pseudoscience by scholars, biodynamics is practiced in more than 50 countries worldwide.
Biodynamics originated out of the work of Rudolf Steiner around talks made in 1924 and is considered to be one of the most sustainable methods of farming.
Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system. Biodynamic farming has much in common with other organic approaches, such as emphasising the use of manures and composts and excluding of the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants, it’s very widely used in moon cycle gardening techniques.
The 500 Preparations
The classical biodynamic preparations are usually known by the names given them in 1928 when they were being investigated by early BD experimenters keeping their cards close to their chests. These are the numbers 500 – 508. And fascinating they are too, if you try this at home please let me know!:
500 – Take a well-developed horn from a cow that has had a calf; fill it full of firm and fresh cow manure. Bury it a foot or so down beneath a rich soil over the winter. Identify the site well! Exhume it around Easter and, for each acre, about 50 grams of what comes out is put into about 20 litres of water and stirred vigorously for an hour. Make sure there are vortices one way and then the other which reach to the base of the bucket or barrel, and interrupt them vigorously to change direction. After stirring, take this to your land and sprinkle it over the soil. 500 is sprayed when soil cultivation is taking place and before new crops are planted. It is thought to act primarily upon the soil and roots.
501 – Uses finely crushed crystalline silica in a cow’s horn and is buried in the soil over summer until Michaelmas. Much less is used in the stirring and it tends to be used in the foliage to increase its use of sunlight. Together, 500 and 501 are known as the ‘field sprays’.
502 – 507 – The ‘compost preparations’. A pinch of each of the following are placed in holes bored along manure and compost heaps.
502 – Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) flowers are stitched into a stag’s bladder and hung up over summer. These are then buried over winter.
503 – Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla) flowers are stuffed into the small intestine of a cow like sausages. These are buried over winter and then exhumed.
504 – Nettle (Urtica dioica) is buried in the soil for a year from June to June.
505 – Oak bark (Quercus robur) is kept in a domestic animal’s skull and left under flowing water and organic sludge over winter.
506 – Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) flowers are wrapped in a cow’s mesentery and buried over winter.
507 – The juice from valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is squeezed out and sprinkled over the heaps when they are created.
508 – Equisetum arvense is boiled for 15 minutes and cooled, diluted and sprayed to minimise fungal infestation.
Now where’s my cow horn?