Fall is my favorite season. I am enamored by pumpkin everything, changing leaves and cool weather. The other part I enjoy about fall is the winding down of gardening and Farmer’s Market season. I love the farmer’s market, but long for sleepy Saturdays enjoying our farm.
Although our farming season is coming to close, there are still many fall projects on our list. We plant garlic in the fall, save seeds and preserve our harvest. This year we have added a new fall project, making fall biodynamic preparations. Specifically, preparation 500.
Back when I wrote this article about biodynamic agriculture, I mentioned some of the benefits to this type of farming. Preparation 500, in particular, increases the good bacteria in soil. It also helps increase water retention and absorption and encourages a deeper root structure, which results in less watering. Basically, it makes your plants stronger, more disease resistant and less dependent on irrigation.
This preparation, is the easiest to make and is great for those who wish to dip their toes into biodynamic agriculture.
Cow horns-It is very important that they are from cows, not bulls
Cow manure-This ideally should be from a lactating cow because it will bring in more calcium to the preparation. Pasture raised is also ideal.
During the month of November dig a pit about 16-18” deep for the horns. The horns should be 3-4” apart from each other and covered with good quality compost. Bury the horns full of manure open end down, so they do not fill with water. Keep the pits cool by covering with hay or straw. Do not allow weeds or plants to grow above the pit. The preparation will be ready in about four months. It should be dark and sweet smelling. Store the preparation in a cool, dark place in a glass jar or pot, wrapped with a damp cloth for insulation.
This can be used up to four times each year in the spring and fall. Mix the preparation with water at a ratio of 1/4 cup preparation to 13 cups water. Stir the water/preparation mixture for one hour in open direction and then another hour in the next direction. Use when the moon is on the descending phase.
The very nature and procedure of biodynamic preparations injects a life force and energy to the soil. We are so excited to see the results of using this preparation.