Strengthening and enhancing

Remedy for the earth

Probably one of the most notable characteristics of biodynamic farming is the use of biodynamic preparations. They are a key requirement for every Demeter certified farm

What are Biodynamic Preparations?

Biodynamic preparations are vitalising additions for soil and plants. As a kind of remedy for the earth, they also promote the growth and quality of the plants and animal health. For their production, plant, mineral and animal substances are combined and exposed to natural forces, and then returned to nature in a modified form. They come in two forms: Compost Preparations and Spray Preparations.

Biodynamic preparations

Increasing soil fertility with biodynamic preparations

Spraying preparations are stirred rhythmically in water and sprayed on the fields. Stirring is done with small amounts of preparations and at certain rhythms, which is why working with the preparations is also called homeopathy for the soil.

Compost Preparations

The first type of preparation is for compost which is enhanced and enlivened through the use of six preparations made from yarrow, chamomile, stinging nettle, oak bark, dandelion, and valerian. Each of these medicinal herbs are transformed through a unique process of fermentation. They are added in small quantities to the compost pile just after it is built, and again after it is turned.

Biodynamic preparations strengthen the quality of the compost by stabilising nitrogen and other nutrients, multiplying microbial diversity, and bringing more sensitivity to the composting process.
These preparations help to guide and regulate the decomposition and humus forming processes in the soil, and make plant nutrients (sulphur, potash, nitrogen, calcium, silica, phosphorous) bio-available i.e. available in the organic form needed for healthy plant growth.

Research  has also shown that compost preparations increase soil life and promote stronger, more robust and pest and disease resistant plants. Biodynamic compost also brings more carbon into the living realm, helping to restore balance to the climate.

Spray Preparations

In addition to the compost preparations, several biodynamic preparations are applied as potentised liquid sprays to bring healing, vitality, and sensitivity to farms and gardens.

Made up of horn manure or silica, that also undergoes a fermentation process, they are prepared by rhythmic stirring in water and sprayed onto either soil or plants depending on the growing cycle and time of year. Stirring is done with small amounts of preparations and at certain rhythms, which is why working with the preparations is also called homeopathy for the soil

The sprays either enhance the life of the soil and the relationship between soil and plants (increasing plant immunity) or strengthen photosynthesis and enhance ripening.

The use of preparations is mandatory for every Demeter farm and often farmers team up to produce them together.

To find out more booklet focuses on the main results published in academic scientific journals on the physical, chemical and microbiological properties of the biodynamic horn manure preparation (500) and its effects on soil and plant physiology, have a look at our research page.

The biodynamic preparations are an essential support for both main goals of Biodynamic Agriculture: healing the earth by creating farm organisms that are connected to cosmic influences and providing food that supports the spiritual development of mankind.

Christoph Simpfendörfer, Demeter farmer and former General Secretary of the Biodynamic Federation Demeter International

Together, the biodynamic spray and compost preparations bring plants into a dynamic relationship with soil, water, air, warmth, and cosmos to help them develop in a healthy and balanced way, to access the full spectrum of nutrients they need, and become more resilient to pests, diseases, and extreme climate conditions.

Yarrow preparation (P 502)

  • promotes adaptability to the site
  • has an invigorating effect
  • regulates potassium metabolism in the plant
  • regulates nitrogen, carbon, sulphur and potassium processes

Camomile preparation (P 503)

  • Makes the fertiliser more nitrogen-resistant

Nettle preparation (P 504)

  • has a structure-improving effect on the soil

Oak bark preparation (P 505)

  • promotes calcium processes
  • inhibits fungal pathogens
  • insecticide through tannic acid
  • puts the shaping forces exactly where plant diseases might otherwise develop

Dandelion preparation (P 506)

  • promotes potassium and silicic acid processes
  • sensitises the plants to the environment
  • strengthens the ability to attract nutrients

Valerian preparation (P 507)

  • promotes phosphorus processes
  • regulates heat processes in the soil, fertiliser and plant
  • acts in flower and fruit formation

Horn manure (500)

  • stimulates soil activity
  • promotes root growth
  • activates the soil’s own life
  • supports soil loosening
  • supports water and nutrient absorption
  • promotes nitrogen fixation of the nodule bacteria

Horn silica (501)

  • Promotes and organises plant metabolism (photosynthesis)
  • Strengthens resistance to pests
  • promotes harmonious growth and ripening processes
  • Ensures uniform ripening quality
  • strengthens the aroma and improves storage capacity

Good Practice Manuals

Manual ‘Biodynamic Preparations’ for farmers and gardeners

By Demeter advisors Anne and Rolf Bucher. 

“Our manual offers a hands-on approach combined with illustrations which might prove to be helpful, especially for beginners. Methods and practices are explained step-by-step and alternatives are included. We would like to emphasize, however, that finding your own appropriate implementation is essential. Working with the biodynamic preparations is a wonderful means of forging a deep bond with your farm and finding ways bringing about a healthy farm.”

Manual Biodynamic Preparations

Download the English version

Manual Biodynamic Preparations

Download the French version

Manual Biodynamic Preparations

Download the Chinese version

Manual Biodynamic Preparations

Download the Spanish version

Manual Biodynamic Preparations

Download the Arabic version

Manual ‘Biodynamic Preparation Plant Cultivation’

By Demeter advisors Anne and Rolf Bucher and others. 

“In his agricultural lectures ‘Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture‘, Rudolf Steiner repeatedly stresses the importance of a farmer’s relationship with his or her farm, in particular with its manure. He points out that these personal relationships are eminently beneficial. Cultivating the preparation plants, and making and applying the biodynamic preparations are excellent opportunities for building such relationships.

All plants employed for the biodynamic preparations are medicinal plants which have traditionally been used as important remedies in many countries. Cultivating them is one way of creating a personal relationship with the biodynamic preparations. Perhaps it is possible to grow these plants in a special area on your farm and pay them particular attention. Observing, studying and drawing them are other  ways to connect and to gain a personal relationship with the preparation plants.

Last, but not the least, by harvesting your own seeds you can develop your individual strain of preparation plants that is especially well adapted to the soil and climate conditions of your farm.”

Enhancing the soil

Biodynamic preparations are good for the soil

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