How to Use Biodynamic Agriculture Methods on Your Farm

Horse pulling plough at Chapoutier biodynamic vineyard.
Oliver Strewe/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Biodynamic agriculture methods are a very specific system of raising crops and running a farm in a sustainable way. It is a very detailed set of methods, something that isn't easy to learn simply by reading one web page, but you can pick up the basics here and learn more on your own as you desire. Finding a farmer who uses biodynamic methods can be a great way to learn more about it.

What is Biodynamic Agriculture?

Biodynamic agriculture is a system of growing plants that has its basis in a spiritual worldview called anthroposophy first put forth by Rudolf Steiner in Germany in the 1920s. The Biodynamic Agricultural Association describes it as follows: "The aim of of biodynamic farming and gardening is to revitalize nature, grow nourishing food and advance the physical and spiritual health of humanity. Each biodynamic farm or garden is conceived of as an organism with its own individual qualities and diversity of life. Reliance on home produced compost, manures and animal feeds is a key objective and external inputs are kept to a minimum."

Biodynamic Preparations

Biodynamic farming utilizes some key components, including cover cropping, green manures, and crop rotation. One of the key features of biodynamic farming is the use of biodynamic preparations to enrich the soil quality and stimulate plant growth.

Biodynamic Compost

The preparation of compost is a fundamental part of biodynamic farming. Compost is made up of animal manures and other organic wastes, but in biodynamic farming, compost includes the BD preparations.

Moon Phase Planting

Another aspect of biodynamic agriculture is coordinating planting to the moon phases. Biodynamic theory holds that just as the moon influences our tides, it influences the growth of plants. The basic idea is that from the new moon to the full moon is the ideal time to sow seeds, transplant, bud, and graft. And from the full moon to the new moon is when it is best to weed, harvest, reap, plow, and cultivate.

Is biodynamics a sustainable method of agriculture? Absolutely, and some say it was the first modern ecological farming system. Have fun learning and trying these methods on your farm!