BIO-DYNAMIC SPRAYS

H.H.KOEPF

 


Introduction

Living organisms consist of matter.  But they are formed and kept functioning by the forces of life.  During the last century, the great chemist Liebig accomplished the breakthrough of the chemical concept of fertilizing.  Since then, this has increasingly occupied the thinking of farmers and agricultural scientists, although in a one-sided way.  Liebig himself realized that neither bricks, nor glass, nor iron produce the house.  It is the architect who designs it, the workmen who arrange the materials so that the house is an architectural statement and that it serves the purpose of which it is designed.  In a similar way, plants neither grow, nor can they be understood by the immanent properties of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, potassium, silicic acid, or any other of the inorganic elements which they contain.  It is the actual nature of the barley, sunflower, corn, rose, or any other plant, that uses these elements as bricks and builds its own specific shape.  Living substance is organized.  With the energy provided by the sun inorganic elements are lifted to the level of functional matter.  Soil and crop management should enhance these functions.  This implies more than merely replacing nutrient elements, or increasing their supply.  More is needed than simply restoring fertility by proper manuring.  The Bio-Dynamic approach therefore includes specific measures which support the organization of growing plants.  Since the time when the Liebig concept was first presented, its practical application has grown very one-sided.  Attention was focused on supplying plant food in the form of inorganic salts.  In the early years this one-sided approach worked because the soil life and other environmental factors supplemented what mere MPK fertilizing did not supply.  As time went on and yields were pushed higher, the stress that was put on the restoring functions of soils and plants grew stronger and this has expressed itself quite obviously in weaker and lower quality.

 

B.D. Preparations and Sprays

Specific Bio-Dynamic measures have now been in use for more than 65 years.  Many farmers and gardeners know their effects from practical experience.  Experimental evidence has also been produced, which has added to the available empirical knowledge.   The  measures  include two

groups of specifically fermented substances which

are called preparations.  The first group includes 6

 

different herbal substances, they are numbered 502-507 and are added in small amounts to manures and composts.  These numbers are arbitrary, having been chosen by those who first produced the preparations.  The second groups includes the sprays, which we shall deal with in this pamphlet.  These are the preparations 500 and 501.

 

All these preparations were suggested kin 1924 by the late Dr. Rudolf Steiner, who, on the request of a group of practical farmers outlined the Bio-Dynamic concept in a series of eight lectures which have been published.  Farmers and gardeners who adopt the method are, therefore, in a position to make these materials.   However, it is more advisable to depend on the instructions and experience of those who have been making these substances for many years, special care and a lively interest are prerequisites for good results.  It has thus become an established practice for most users to get their supply from the office of the national groups of the Bio-Dynamic movement, or from their local consultants, at a charge that covers the cost of making them.  In America this is the Secretary of the Bio-Dynamic Farming & Gardening Assoc., Inc., P.O. Box 550, Kimberton, PA 19442.

 

The late Dr. E.E. Pfeiffer developed a formula, the B.D. Compost Starter, to be used for large scale composting of municipal wastes.  This formula also includes, apart from other B.D. materials, the preparation 500.  This Starter is also used by farmers and gardeners.  Its effects, however, do not include those of preparation 501.

 

Understanding preparations 500 and 501

Preparation 500 is also called the humus preparation.  It is applied to the soil, where it fosters desirable biological processes and benefits root formation.  Preparation 501, the silica spray, is applied on the foliage and helps the formation of living plant substance in the green leaves under the influence of sunlight.  As has already been stated, both preparations stimulate and regulate functions, they do not add nutrient elements such as potassium or phosphorus.

 

The growing of the plant is affected by two polar sets of environmental influences.  These can be termed terrestrial and cosmic growth factors.  We


are all familiar with them and yet frequently do not realize what handling them properly implies.  The soil provides fertility and humidity.  If these factors are at their optimum they produce high yields of sturdy, nutritious plants.  This optimum is best realized in deep, loamy, neutral, dark soils, which contain a high amount of stabilized organic matter, are rich in organic nitrogen and mineral elements.  They fill plants with matter.  The type of soil we speak of is for example the virgin soil in the tall grass prairie.  Most other soils are poorer.  However, these terrestrial growth factors can grow too strong, or may show deficiencies of some kind.  Over-fertilizing with soluble materials, or humid, warm, damp weather conditions, etc., produce lush and luxuriant growth and a watery, soft type of tissue.  Big masses are produced, but the plants are weak, subject to many fungal and/or bacterial diseases.  In particular, their keeping quality is low.  Vegetables grown under such conditions do not keep, and the apparent bulk shrinks during cooking.  The management practices that have become common in ordinary agriculture tend to over-emphasize the significance of the terrestrial growth factors by high chemical fertilizing.  Most chemical fertilizing is more or less one-sided, poor soils are less able to compensate for this one sidedness than can rich and active soils.  Every farmer and gardener should find out what his soil is like as the carrier of the terrestrial growth factors.

 

On the other hand, there are the cosmic growth factors  which  proceed  from  the  sun and express

themselves mainly in light and warmth.  Every grower experiences their effects, particularly during hot, dry periods.  Their influence on growth is strongest in dry areas, or on plants that grow on soils with a low water-holding capacity.  These conditions can also be studied by investigating the vegetation on southern slopes on shallow calcareous soils.  They are stronger in high altitudes as well as during high pressure weather.  Under their influence the plants produce less bulk, they remain smaller but their flavor is stronger.  The contents of essential oils are increased and also in some instances bitter substances are formed.  But sturdiness of vegetable plants, the good baking quality of wheat, the sweetness and fine fragrance of various fruits, the deep color of flowers and fruit, etc. require for their formation a great deal of these cosmic growth factors.  The process of ripening and the formation of viable seeds is enhanced by them. 

 

It is most rewarding to study all these influences upon growing plants.  Whether or not they produce the yields and quality that one wants and withstand the attacks of diseases and pests depends to a large extent upon the ratio between  these two groups of growth factors.  These influences must be balanced.  There is no space here to speak about the varying requirements of individual crops; some require more of the terrestrial factors, others more of the cosmic.  The following table may help the reader to understand the interplay of these two basic influences in the local conditions of his own farm or garden.

 


Two Polar Groups of Growth Factors Which Influence Yields and Quality

 

Terrestrial Influences

Cosmic Influences

include among others:

soil, life, soil fertility, water supply, relative humidity

light, warmth, other climatic conditions and their seasonal and diurnal rhythms

 

 

vary locally according to:

texture of soil, their fertility, organic content, nitrogen content, lime content, water storage capacity, average temperature & rainfall

Sunshine, cloudiness, rainfall, according to latitude, altitude, aspect, etc., seasonal weather rhythms, presence of silicious substances

 

 

normal influence on crops:

high yields, protein and ash content

ripening, flavor, keeping quality, viability of seeds

 

 

effects when superabundant naturally or by poor management:

lush growth, subject to diseases and pests, low keeping quality

low yields, strong fragrance, bitter taste, hairy fibrous parts

 

 

managerial measures to achieve optimum effects:

liberal manuring with prepared compost, legumes in the rotation, correcting mineral deficiencies, irrigation, saving moisture (mulching), regular use of prep 500

using very well-ripened compost, o overfertilizing, correcting deficiencies, regular use of 501

 

 


It should be understood that this table indicates tendencies which one can recognize.  Excessive effects are caused by abnormal natural conditions that prevail at a particular habitat, or by faulty management.  The preparations 500 and 501 work in combination and bring about the balanced growth that produces good feeding and nutritional quality.  It should be emphasized that these preparations do not replace proper fertilizing with prepared composts and manures.  Also it is absolutely necessary that the crop rotation return ample amounts of roots and other crop residues.  Applying B.D. preparations yields the best result in a proper system of growing, manuring and working the soil.

 

Preparations 500 and 501

No. 500, the humus preparation, is based on cow manure.  This is collected in the northern temperate zone in fall, approximately in September.  It is desirable that the animals are still grazing, or have part-time pasture, or good hay plus some green feed.  The treatment is done during winter; the finished material is soft, brown and moist.  One portion, enough for an acre weighs about 1½ ounces. 

 

No. 501, the silica spray, is based on very finely ground quartz, or a silicate such as feldspar.  Grinding to a very fine powder is essential.  It undergoes processing throughout one summer.  One portion, enough for one acre, is about 1/20 of an ounce. 

 

Stirring the Sprays

As can be seen from the amounts used, it is not the purpose of the preparation to supply elements which are incorporated in the plants.  The effects of these sprays are called dynamic because they influence the functions of growth.  The previously cited example about the architect, workmen and materials illustrates this relationship between building bricks and dynamic factors.  This has a bearing on the modes of application.  It is essential to activate and distribute the preparations properly on soils and plants.  500 and 501 therefore are applied as sprays, after having been carefully stirred in water.  Exact research reveals many interesting facts about water.  Its internal structure – about which we are just beginning to learn – can be influenced by moving it.  (th. Schwenk, The Sensitive Chaos.)  The sprays 500 and 501 are stirred for one hour before application.  This is done by moving the water as quickly as possible in such a way that a deep vortex is formed almost down to the bottom of the crock or barrel.  This is continued until the well-formed vortex “stands”.  Then by abruptly reversing the direction of stirring, the existing vortex is destroyed and a new one formed running in the opposite direction.  This rhythmically changing action is vigorously continued for one hour and thus a very intensive mixing and aeration process of both water and spray material is achieved.  Doing this by hand establishes a very satisfactory relationship to the process and makes its meaning obvious in doing the job oneself. 

 

Larger quantities can be stirred by hand in large barrels in the following manner.  Place the barrel on the ground beneath an overhead beam. Attach to a hook on the underside of the beam, by means of wire, or leather, a pole about 1½ ² in diameter so that it nearly reaches to the bottom of the barrel.  A few twigs can be tied besom-fashion to the lower end of the pole.  Water is placed in the barrel together with the preparation and it will be found possible to stir the contents vigorously if the pole is grasped at a convenient height above the barrel and a circular movement is made.  Reversal of stirring should be carried out as described above.

 

Two or three barrels can be stirred at the same time if they are placed side by side; the pole described above is shortened and a baulk of timber is fitted on the end from which “besoms” hang down into each barrel.  Stir as previously described.

 

For private gardeners stirring by hand is a job which they may want to stay with.  Also family farms will find this possible, particularly if members of the family or group join in the stirring.  Commercial farmers and gardeners nowadays find themselves in an economic and labor squeeze which makes it almost impossible to do farm jobs with the carefulness that one would like.  (Actually they find themselves in a rather vicious circle.  The farm job requires personal interest, and a well and carefully done job is also humanly rewarding.  This was always one of the virtues of farm work, crafts, etc.)  Various power driven machines have been designed or adapted to accomplish a somewhat similar action as stirring by hand, and some of them incorporate a device for reversing the direction of stirring at regular intervals.  In this country no such equipment is on the market.  A very promising approach has been developed by B.D. farmers in Australia.  For more information about the construction of this machine write to:  The Bio-Dynamic Association.

 

From past experience it can be said that regular spraying of 500 and 501 is essential.  Even if this may not be the optimum type of procedure, machine stirred sprays are still found to be better than no spraying at all.

 

The Water Used for Spraying

In this time of widespread water pollution special care should be taken to have the right water.  Rainwater is best.  It can be collected from the gutter, and a good supply should always be kept in a barrel or tank.  This water will be all right if the place is not located within a few miles, in the downwind area, of polluting smoke stacks, or very densely populated areas.  Clear well, or river water can be used; but it contains slightly more inorganic and organic substances than does rainwater.  It is advisable to let such water stand in an open barrel for 2 to 3 days to let the light penetrate it.  The same applies to tap water which should be allowed to stand for a longer time and should be stirred several times for a minute or two.  It is hardly possible to get rid of all the chlorine that has been put into it. If either surface or tap water indicates by foam formation that it contains surface active compounds (detergents) then one has to look for another source.  When rainwater is collected during a period of several weeks then it is best to keep the barrel covered most of the time in order to prevent dust, straw and other litter from being blown in.  During rainy periods the overflow will carry away the finer solids that found their way into the barrel.  After some time, water that stands in a barrel will develop some algal and other growth; but it will take quite a while before the water has received enough dust from the atmosphere to develop this condition.  Therefore, barrels and tanks that are used for this purpose should be emptied a few times during each year.  Sediment that has been formed should be removed on these occasions but without using any cleansing agent. 

 

The stirring is done in lukewarm water.  One heats enough water on the stove to get the right temperature.

 

Containers and Spraying Equipment

Vessels are needed for the stirring and to store the water.  Wooden barrels and glazed earthenware crocks are used for this purpose.  Farms also use larger tanks which, however, should have a good finish and be free from rust.  Residues may remain in secondhand bought barrels.  These should be cleaned with the utmost care.  It is advisable to keep some spare barrels in which the rainwater is changed from time to time.  After 4 to 6 months one will have extracted all that water can extract and the barrels can be safely used.

 

The first cleaning is done with hot water.  One rinses several times, uses a clean brush, a 2% lye or soda solution.  Afterwards one rinses several times with hot and then cold water.  Detergent must not be used for cleansing.   Tiny residues can remain, even on glazed surfaces, let alone on wood.  Less than the amount that ordinarily remains on dishes is likely to alter the surface tensions lightly.  It is essential to leave undisturbed the delicate effects of the stirring process. 

 

Also for mechanical stirring wooden barrels, preferably oak should be sued.  Usually containers, wood, metal, or enamel, are supplied with the purchasable spraying equipment.

 

It is advisable and saves labor if no vessels or other equipment are used for other liquids than the B.D. Sprays.

 

Which kind of spraying equipment one uses depends on the size of the garden or farm.  The cleaning of spraying equipment that previously had been used for other materials can hardly be done too meticulously.  Herbicidal or fungicidal sprays and the like contain not only the active compound but also spreading agents, compounds that make the chemical stick to surfaces, etc.  Therefore, for the B.D. sprays one should have sprayers that are used only for them and not for other purposes.

 

On small garden patches the stirred liquids can easily be spread with a whisk broom.  One dips the broom in the liquid as one walks over the land and flips it out with a snap of the wrist in a wide circle.  Fine droplets should thus be evenly distributed.  Small hand-sprayers which form a finer mist than one could produce with a broom are commercially available in many sizes.  The next size would then be knapsack sprayers which will suffice for gardens and even smaller farms.  The development of pesticide and herbicide applications has stimulated the industry to produce a wide variety of tractor drawn, or mounted tanks and sprayers that cover a wide strip.  These are arranged so that the nozzles face downwards and end not higher than two feet above the surface of the soil; otherwise too much of the fine must would be blown away.  This would not do any harm to adjacent crops but of course one wants the spray on the field for which it is meant.  Sprays that are applied by pressure sprayers have to be strained carefully, otherwise they will clog the nozzles.  To avoid this trouble some farmers have mounted wooden, metal, or plastic tanks on carts, or on the tractor, and have added a spinner type spreader to distribute the liquid on a strip. This system is simple, one might need more liquid per acre, however. The problem is that finely dispersed liquids do not fly very far, the distribution of the sprays tends to be uneven.  But the robustness of the uncomplicated system has its advantages.

 

Storing Preparations

However carefully the spray materials have been made, they should be properly stored if one wants to get full benefit from them.  This is also true for the preparations 502-506 (507 is a liquid and is kept in a stoppered, dark bottle.)

 

If one makes ones own Preparation 500, then one usually has a fair amount of it.  It is taken out of its original horn container in which it had been made and put into an earthenware crock that has a lid of the same material, or is covered with a piece of slate or stone.  The crock must not be sealed, however.  The other preparations, 502-506, are kept in similar, though smaller crocks.  All these containers should be surrounded by a layer of sphagnum peat moss, and be kept in a cool, not too dry place.  One prepares a box, or a corner in a cellar, or cold storage room, in which the whole arrangement fits.  The cover for the box, usually made of boards, should have a cushion filled with peat moss on its inner side. 

 

The reason for these precautions is evident.  The substances that one is dealing with are not dead after the actual fermentation process has entered its final stage.  When they are kept under too humid conditions they will get moldy.  On the other hand, they should not be allowed to dry out.  Air must have access, but slowly in order to preserve the kind of microbial life that is in the preparations.  In a dry climate, or during a long dry spell, it may become necessary to keep the peat moss slightly moist, just enough so that it does not absorb moisture from the preparations.  In a humid climate and when the room is rather humid, this is usually not required.  Those who order the Spray 500 from their local B.D. Association, or from other farmers, are advised to take the material out of its traveling container and to store it in the same way as has been described.

 

Storing the quartz preparation 501 offers less problems.  As with 500 it is also processed in a horn sheath and when finished it is put in a glass jar, covered and kept in a dry place where it is sometimes exposed to the sun.

 

Amount and Mode of Application

One portion of the Spray 500 of about 1½ ounces (35 grams) when stirred in 4 gallons of water is enough for 1 acre of land.  It is even possible to stir up to one hundred gallons by hand.  On farms which have mechanical stirring equipment the batches handled at a time are bigger.  They are limited by the ability to get the spray on the land in time.  On farms, one therefore tries to organize the stirring and spraying so that it takes about 1 hour to finish spraying one batch, while the next lot is being stirred.  The freshly stirred preparation should be applied within a period of not more than 3 hours.  Maximum effects can be expected within the initial 1-2 hours after stirring.  There is no point in keeping stirred liquid overnight. 

 

In gardens the rate of application is usually higher; 1 portion is used for about 2,000 to 4,000 square yards.  There will also be more frequent applications in gardens.

 

500 is applied directly on the soil, usually ahead of planting, but it is desirable that the application be followed by an early shallow cultivation, such as with the harrow, or a garden rake.  The season, the time of day, the meteorological conditions are factors that one should take into account.  Spray 500 is applied in the afternoon, preferably during the second half of the afternoon.  It is good if the sky is at least partially overcast.  The material then follows the natural daily rhythm of the humidity in the lower atmosphere.  Spraying is not done during rain and should be postponed if there is danger of rain falling soon afterwards.  Spraying of 500 is not done around noontime.  It is best done when the soil surface is slightly moist, not dry or sealed with a crust.

 

Use of 500 on the Farm.  The spray is applied before the last harrowing or cultivating preceding the planting of winter grains, or other fall crops, including catch crops. On pastures and hayfields it can be used some time before freezing is expected.  But more frequently one prefers to treat permanent grasses and hayfields early in spring in order to stimulate growth at the start of the season.  On cropland the spray can be applied after the soil has permanently thawed.  Mostly one chooses a time during spring cultivation ahead of planting.  Minimum tillage in its extreme form would require the use of herbicides.  Bio-Dynamic growers prefer to work the soil at intervals in spring in order to control the weeds that germinate from seeds.  It is a good measure to include pasture and winter crops in this treatment.  It helps to strengthen root development and those fields that have suffered from frost or wind erosion.

 

Use of 500 in the Garden.  The spray 500 can be applied in the garden fairly early in the spring and if time permits also before planting.  This amounts to repeated applications during the year on many plots.  The soils in cold frames, hot beds and greenhouses are sprayed before sowing or planting.  If possible, seed drills and holes should be sprayed before planting.  If one does not use other dips or sprays (see below), preparation 500 is also used on seeds, potatoes, cuttings, etc.

 

Root Dip Made with Preparation 500.  It has already been said that Preparation 500 fosters the formation of a strong root system which is the basis of vigorous growth and sturdy plants.  Frequently one makes use of this by preparing a root dip.  This has a soupy consistency.  It is composed of equal parts (by volume) of cow manure and subsoil loam, all stirred with horsetail tea (1 part dried horsetail in 20 parts of water) and stirred Preparation 500.  Roots of transplants, including vegetables such as cabbages, tomatoes, (unless they are already in soil blocks), but also the roots of trees and shrubs will benefit when dipped into this material before they are replanted.

 

Preparation 501.  This is applied on the foliage of growing plants and acts as a supplement to Preparation 500.  The amount to be stirred per acre, or for 2,000 to 4,000 square yards in the garden, is 1 to 1.5 grams (1/20 of an ounce) in 4 to 5 gallons of water.

 

This spray is applied later in spring and early in summer.  One does the spraying in the morning when a warm and at least partly sunny day may be expected.  The proper growth stage is at the time when the organ starts to be formed that one wants to harvest.  Small grains receive the treatment after tillering, when the stalk starts to elongate.  Subsequent applications can be made as they also help to prevent lodging.  Corn is treated when the stalk starts to elongate and when one can easily drive through the field.  Alfalfa, other hayfields and permanent grasses receive the treatment not too long after strong growth has started.  Provided there is enough moisture in the ground and one is not in a dry spell, further applications can be made after cuttings have been taken off the filed, or a grazing period is finished. 

 

Garden crops which have to be transplanted will not get the spray until they are finally set out.  Lettuces and spinach should receive only one morning application, or even receive the treatment in the afternoon in order to achieve a reduced effect.  Flowers, tomatoes, strawberries, also fruit should be treated when the flower buds are visible and ready to open.  Potatoes like 501 when the flower formation starts.  Cabbages of all kinds, also cauliflower, broccoli and other leafy vegetables which grow much bulk should respond to repeated applications by growing a finer tissue, have good taste and keeping quality.  Also the flavor of kitchen herbs, soft fruit, tomatoes, melons, etc. should be improved by repeated applications.  Apple trees get applications during the late stage of flower buds, then again when the fruit is being developed.  Spraying this preparation on apple trees is often combined with a stinging nettle spray.  For greenhouses where such plants as cucumbers, tomatoes lettuces, produce large amounts of plant matter within a rather short period of time, repeated applications of Preparation 501 are recommended.

 

Horsetail Tea

(sometimes referred to as Preparation 508)

The plant in question is the common Horsetail, Equisetum arvense.  It is widespread and common on rough, bare ground, but also on cultivated places.  It prefers dry locations to moist ones.  The plant has pale brown, unbranched fertile stems, which however have disappeared when the taller, green barren ones appear.  One uses the barren ones for tea.  These one can tell from the stems of marsh and shady horsetail by the places in which the plants grow.  Marsh horsetail (E. palustre) forms fertile stems.  Shady Horsetail (E. pratense) has distinct fertile and barren stems, but in this case the latter end abruptly with the top whorl of the branches.  The stems of the common horsetail continue beyond the last whorl of branches, also the last jointed section on the branches is longer than the stem sheath.  The plant grows from spores.  It has no flowers.  The barren stems appear in early summer after the fertile ones.  As can be seen, there are enough criteria with which to distinguish the right horsetail.  Most people know the shape of this plant with its finely marked longitudinal ribs on the stem, the marvelous regularity of the nodes and whorls, its clear, almost crystalline form.  This form is in harmony with the high silica content of the plants.  Silica is the substance which especially in the family of the grasses – which have a similar linear formation – forms a considerable part of the ash.  It is deposited in the outer periphery of the plant and strengthens the skin and also the cell walls.  Tea made of equisetum plants is used as a prophylactic, mild anti-fungal agent.  One can hardly use too much of it.

 

One collects the barren shoots and dries them as quickly as possible by spreading them out in a thin layer in a shady place.  The tea is prepared by slowly boiling in a covered vessel of rainwater, about 4 ounces of the dried herb per gallon.  One can use less water and dilute the tea.  If one dilutes the tea, then one stirs the solution for about 10 minutes.

 

Horsetail is used against such fungal diseases as mildew, rust, monilia, scab, soil born pathogenic fungi.  It is a milk agent.  One sprays this tea frequently, especially on garden crops.  Cold frames, hot beds and greenhouses are treated before and after having been filled with soil.  The tea can also be added to the water in the watering can.  Root dips and tree sprays are made with horsetail tea.

 

During the season when green plants are available one can also prepare an extract by covering freshly picked plants with water and allowing them to ferment for about 10 days.  The liquid is then diluted and used in the same way as the tea.

 

Stinging Nettle Liquid Manure

This empirically developed liquid has proved to be very helpful.  It enhances the vegetative growth of plants, especially during dry weather.  Private gardeners, in particular, but also during dry weather.  Private gardeners, in particular, but also fruit growers and commercial gardeners can apply it in various ways.

 

One cuts stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) at any stage of development except during the time when the seeds are ripening.  One covers about 2 to 3 lbs. of the green material with one gallon of water.  Usually this is done in a barrel that holds about 20 to 30 gallons of liquid, gardeners may use earthenware crocks.  The vessel is placed in the garden at a place, where the strong odor that will soon develop will not be too much of a nuisance.  The liquid is used diluted or undiluted as a foliar spray, beginning about a week after fermentation has started.  Frequently the strained liquid is added to the spray 501.  It can also be mixed with horsetail tea and a small amount of liquid seaweed for use as a foliage spray on fruit trees.

 

Tree Paste

Similar to the above mentioned root dip, a paste can be prepared that provides a protective cover on the bark of trees and shrubs.  One carefully mixes equal parts of fine clay (loam clay type) and fresh cow manure, dissolves this with 1% equisetum tea and one portion of stirred Preparation 500 until such a consistency is achieved that one can paint the material on the bark with a brush.  Before the coating is painted on, the bark should have been scraped or brushed to remove dead, loose parts.  The bark of trunks and branches that have received this treatment becomes smooth and clean after a few years.  The trees grow healthy.  This measure, needless to say, can only be carried out by private gardeners who take care of just a few trees.  The following formula is also used in the same way:  1 part dried blood, 2 parts Kieselguhr (diatomaceous earth), 3 parts clay, 4 parts fresh cow dung, mixed with equisetum tea and stirred 500. 

 

Experimental Work

The sprays that have been described here have now been in practical use for 65 years.  A wealth of empirical information has been assembled mostly applicable to local conditions.  Some of what has been presented here is generalized from this knowledge.  Practical experience can lead to a number of uses that have not been included in this brief outline.

 

In addition to this empirical knowledge experimenting has been carried out by many.  As examples of this aspect we present here two investigations about preparations that have been completed in more recent times.

 

Mr. Klett ran a comprehensive field experiment during three years.  The influence of Preparation 501 was tested, also the influence of repeated applications, the stage of development of the plants that got the treatment and the time of day at which it was applied.  The criteria tested included morphological  change  of  treated  plants;   yields

appearance of the seeds, protein and crude protein (relative protein content); activities of enzymes of the carbohydrate and protein metabolism; vitamin C and ascorbic acid.  E.E. Pfeiffer’s method of sensitive crystallization was used to test the overall quality.

 

Here are some of the results that were obtained in this investigation.  Sensitive crystallization showed a general improvement of the quality as an effect of 501 treatment.  In some cases the yield increased under the influence of 501.  The relative protein content, also the ratio of vitamin C: ascorbic acid were both improved.   The influence of Preparation 501 on the activities of the various enzymes was not conclusive.  Positive and negative effects were observed.  Applications made during the morning hours were more effective than those made during the afternoon.  More frequent afternoon applications can make up for this difference.  The optimum effects are achieved when applications are made during the period of strongest growth, e.g. small grains should be sprayed when the elongation of the stems is at its beginning. The effects observed after spraying at a later stage of growth were different from those achieved by an earlier treatment.  To achieve maximum results, spraying of Preparation 501 must be preceded by treatment of the soil with Preparation 500.

 

The following results were obtained by B. Pettersson in a field plot experiment with potatoes.  There was some influence of the Preparations 500 and 501 on the various criteria tested:  relative protein content, darkening of the tubers and extracts from them, sensitive crystallization.  Also in this case it became evident that when used in combination the effect of these sprays is stronger than that of either of them alone.  Here too, a correlation between the rainfall and positive effects on the quality by Preparation 500 was observed.  A rather wet and a dry season were compared, the effects of Preparation 500 were more evident in the wet season. The time interval between two applications also seems to have some influence.  But it must be emphasized that these are findings made in the southern Scandinavian area.  They demonstrate that the relation between the effects of these sprays and the local climate may be of importance.

 

Conclusion

The Bio-Dynamic Sprays are an integral part of a complete system.  This includes many items.  The Bio-Dynamic approach should be based on a thorough knowledge of the natural conditions at the farm or garden and in its surroundings. 

 

One therefore studies soils and rocks, wild plants and animals, weeds that prevail in the particular area and information about the local climate, in particular the microclimate.  The sprays that have been described work best when the biological conditions are all right.  These include the number and kinds of crops that one grows and manuring with farm produced manure, composts, etc.  A farm or garden forms an entity in itself.  Its parts are interrelated, but it is the grower who brings it all together in the right way.  In a well-balanced farm and garden the Bio-Dynamic Preparations including these sprays have their optimum effect.  Working with them opens a wide field of interesting study, apart from their beneficial effects on the quality of produce.

 

 

REPRINTED FROM

BIO-DYNAMICS

No. 97, WINTER, 1971

___________

 

Copyright 1971 by the

 

BIO-DYNAMIC Farming and Gardening Association Inc.

P.O. Box 550, Kimberton, PA 19442

215-935-7797

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