Let me reiterate straight away that you don’t need to make any of the preps yourself unless you want to. You can buy them already to stir or put into your heap from your local/national biodynamic association – see References at the bottom of the front page of this column.
However, you may decide you want to make the preps for yourself, or at least some of them. It’s good fun, especially if there’s a group of you, like the garden club, and gives an enormous feeling of satisfaction when you use your very own preparations on your land.
The two horn preps – 500, horn manure, and 501, horn silica – are possible for anyone so inclined, even in a small town garden.
I think it’s important that people can know, if they want to, how all the preps are made. It’s not “black magic” even if the methods are unusual. I don’t propose to attempt much on why you do it this way, or why it works. It’s as difficult to explain as why (not how) electricity works but we know that it does, we see it every day. Similarly, I see biodynamics working every day without needing to know why. There are many things we do without knowing all the whys and wherefores. We know they work, that they do what we want, and biodynamics is (at the moment) like that, although I suspect there will come a time when we are able to explain some of the whys. Evolution works like that, often from the experiential to the theoretical … not the other way about!
And let me also say that no animals are ever slaughtered just to make the preparations. All the animal components come from animals that are being slaughtered for food in any case. In biodynamics we try to use as much as possible of every beast killed – waste is inimical to BD and is considered cruel as well.
Making the Spray Preps
If you live in a town and have gardening neighbours, or are a member of a garden club or allotment group, why not get together a group of interested people and make the spray preparations as a group? It’s like doing neighbourhood composting or sharing gardens – things lots of people are going for now. And working in a group is good fun as well as sharing the work.
You’ll need 1-2 horns per person and just the one pit between you all. The picture is of my husband, Paul, in our horn pit, getting it ready for the 500 horns to go in. We have quite a bit pit and do a lot of horns as we give some into the “pool” for others to use who can’t make the preps themselves. You don’t necessarily need to have such a large pit, it depends how many of you there are, how much land and so how many horns. Our pit can take 40+ horns, far more than most people want but would be very useful for a garden or allotment club.
Because a lot of people already do this it’s possible for us all to buy the preps rather than having to make them. Folk like us make some extra and the biodynamic association sells it on for cost only – no profit involved here, just goodwill and sharing.
- You can buy horns – again costs only, no profit – from your local biodynamic association: see References.
I’ll be writing about how to make Prep 500, horn manure, in the next post.