How To Build a Vegetable Bed Biodynamically, Part 1

| 4/26/2016 2:05:00 PM

Tags: biodynamic, garden planning, soil building, soil health, Emma Raven, Misfit Gardening, Utah,

For those of you who are not familiar with biodynamics, let me set the scene for you: It is a method of agriculture that originated from the scientist and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner. The method was created to address farming problems with monoculture (growing of one crop on the same land year after year) and livestock yields resulting from health and fertility troubles of the land.

Biodynamic growing can be thought of as the next step up from organic growing, as many of the principles of organic growing are followed in biodynamics. The biggest difference in biodynamics is that everything starts with the soil and the alignment of the sun and the moon in the cosmos for planting, harvesting and tending to types of plants.

In biodynamic growing and agriculture, there are several preparations which are used on the soil and the plants to build fertility and fend off problems such as pests and disease. These preparations are diluted down in water and could be considered as "homeopathic treatments for the land" given the dilution factors used.  Biodynamics is often described as a holistic growing method.

Biodynamic growers use a planting calendar which shows fruit, root, leaf and flower days these correspond to the cultivating of certain plants, for example, broccoli is a flower plant along with roses, hops and petunias. Root plants include beets, onions and carrots; beans, squash, chili and peaches are all fruiting plants whilst lettuce, cabbage, leeks, sage and rosemary are leaf plants.

I am no expert at this method, but I have experimented frequently with biodynamic gardening and have had many successes with reduced pests and diseases, more flavorful crops and good yields in comparison to conventional organic growing. The biggest difference I noticed was with the soil in the biodynamic area of the garden — I had a greater population of earthworms in these areas versus the organic plot as well as much better water retention. 

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