In celebration of the fall equinox: a special compost edition
You thought our compost pile was complete, but in biodynamics, is it ever that simple?
The pile, comprised of alfalfa hay and dairy cow manure, was not ready for hibernation until it underwent a ritualistic inoculation. To dive into our process, let us begin:
COMPOSTING WITH FARMER JACK
Biodynamics is a lifestyle and way of farming that aims to heal the planet through incorporating and encouraging all natural life. Soil is the foundation of this healing process, so in the soil-making process we use six plant-based preparations that have been passed down as healing remedies for the earth.
On a scientific level, these preparations bring in the minute elements essential to growth (Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium). On a spiritual level, however, these carefully made preparations harness life forces—the omni-present, forever changing force which affects all life —that catalyze growth.
The preparations are made through a process of decomposition and storage over winter or an entire year, through which they are ‘activated’ and potentized.
Behind the magic is a purple bucket of compost, a toilet brush for spraying and plenty of finesse.
What goes in
Every ten paces, we burrow a hole a few feet deep and place inside a spoonful of each of the following medicinal plants:
- 502: Yarrow is intended to rejuvenate tired soil after years of cultivation by encouraging the sulfur and potassium syntheses.
- 503: Chamomile is connected with calcium and associated with plant growth and nutrient stabilization.
- 504: Stinging nettle has a relationship to iron, helps with humus formation and stimulates soil sensitivity.
- 505: Oak bark is calcium-rich and helps plants with disease and fungus resistance.
- 506: Dandelion is connected with silica processes.
- 507: Valerian is related to phosphorous, and as the spray over the entire compost pile, it helps seal in the energies from the other preparations.
Goodness, gracious, great balls of compost!
We now have 120 tons of compost brewing, and for every segment of ten tons we use only a teaspoon of each potent preparation. To make sure the potency is evenly distributed, we place the prep-filled compost balls deep into the pile at even distances apart.
What’s going on in there?
Our compost is HOT, nearly scalding, at a steamy 130 degrees Fahrenheit. How does this happen?
In a well-made compost pile with enough aeration (brought to you by alfalfa hay), the correct green-to-brown ratio (manure to hay) and moisture content (like a rung-out sponge), bacterial microbes will break down organic material.
Heat is a by-product of this decomposition process; as the aerobic bacteria take in oxygen, they produce heat and carbon dioxide. As the pile gets hot, heat-loving organisms take over; this is known as the thermophilic stage, in which decomposition occurs most rapidly. Plant disease pathogens, weed seeds and fly larvae die off during this stage because they can’t take the heat.
Our pile is currently at its prime! In nine months, the material in the pile will be garden-ready.