Biodynamic Workshop – stag bladders and compost!

Last Saturday, we held a Biodynamic Workshop here.  Charlotte and I decided to tag along to see if there were any ideas we could take on and use at Fordhall. 
The course was led by Biodynamic guru, Bernard Jarman of Hawksford College.  He certainly knew his stuff and was fascinating to listen to.
Biodynamic Apparatus

Biodynamic growing and farming is all about connecting the light with the dark, the earth with the cosmos and society with nature.

“Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), founder of biodynamics, was a highly trained scientist and respected philosopher. Long before many of his contemporaries, Steiner came to the conclusion that western civilization would increasingly bring destruction to itself and the earth if it did not begin to incorporate an objective understanding of the spiritual world and its interrelationship with the physical world. Steiner’s spiritual scientific methods and insights have given birth to practical holistic innovations in many fields including education, banking, medicine, psychology, the arts and, not least, agriculture.”
Bernard Jarman
On our workshop, Bernard started the day by teaching us how to create compost preparations using 6 key plants: Yarrow, Chamomile, Nettle, Dandelion, Valerian and Oak.  Each of these plants has its own unique properties which are not only used medicinally, but they also help to assist with various mineral processes under the soil.
Compost Preparations
The Yarrow flowers, for example, are collected and dried over winter, then in the spring they are sewn inside the bladder of a stag.  The bladder is then hung up over the summer, then buried in the autumn and dug up in the spring ready to use in your compost.
Yes, it does sound a little far-out, but the whole idea of connecting the external with the internal is really quite powerful. 
We all ventured outside, just as it started to rain and Bernard showed us how to add the ready-made compost preparations to our compost heap in the community garden.  We also added a liquid compost starter to the compost created from the Ridan Hot Composter
Adding to the compost heaps
As it started to get a bit too chilly outside, we made our way back in and enjoyed a delicious lunch from Arthur’s Restaurant of vegetarian quiche, home-made bread and seasonal salad.
Charlotte stirring the vortex
After lunch, we learnt about the Horn Manure and Horn Silica that is used on the land.  We had to put the Horn Manure into a bucket of water and stir it for an hour, but not just stir it, we had to create a vortex in the water.  We were shown how to stir the water in a clockwise direction until there was a vortex down to the bottom of the bucket and then stir the water in the opposite direction again creating a vortex. 
Horn Manure
This liquid was then sprinkled all over the field and community garden, this will hopefully help with plant growth… watch this space!
Connie and Becca sprinkling the Horn Manure across the fields
This workshop would definitely appeal to all gardeners and growers who are interested in organics and are open minded to new ideas!
We are holding our next Biodynamic Workshop with Bernard on Saturday 19th October.
Get in touch to book!