Preparing the biodynamic pile

In biodynamic cultivation, the soil is taken care of and the plants are nourished by providing them with manure and organic fertilizer using the heap technique.

The most classic biodynamic mound is constructed with barn manure, which is covered with straw and inoculated with six biodynamic mound preparations, building blocks that “direct” transformation from within and activate soil microorganisms on which the composting process is based.

The manure in the mound does not release toxic substances, but goes through fermentation processes that can be compared to yoghurt or beer. Below we try to delve into the preparation of the mound, because for all the articles published so far on biodynamics, Michele Baio has “lent” his skills and experience.

Contents [Ocultar]

  • What manure to use

  • How to mount the biodynamic stack

  • Oxygenation and inoculation of preparations

  • the bunch of vegetables


What manure to use

The ideal way to make a good mound would be to be able to use manure from your own stalls. As we have seen when talking about the agricultural organism, animals feed on the grass of the soil and then produce useful substances that meet the needs of that specific soil. Often this is not possible, especially for those who cultivate a simple garden: it is therefore necessary to cut down the manure from the outside. Finding biodynamic manure is very difficult, if possible choose manure from organic farming.

Manure that comes from non-organic farms has a presence of chemicals that interfere in the process that leads the heap to be properly moistened: we talk about antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, cortisone, antacids, etc. implies that you have to use it requires more oxygenation and therefore more work, as well as a greater use of preparations.

How to mount the biodynamic stack

The assembly begins with the work of the ground: the mound will have to rest on bare ground, it will therefore be necessary to remove the grass and its superficial root system then work the first 10 cm deep.

In the tilled soil, the material is laid out in the form of a harmonic “sarcophagus”, which prevents the dispersion of nitrogen and other useful elements. The dimensions at the professional level are about 3 meters wide, 1.60/1.70 high, of indefinite length, in good farms they are several kilometers long. Obviously it is possible to make piles according to everyone’s needs, even one meter wide and 70/80 cm high. If the pile is small you can also avoid turning it for oxygenation, while as it grows it will require one or more prepared turns and insertions. When the manure is of good quality, amendments are not necessary, the straw that was on the bed is enough.

Oxygenation and inoculation of preparations

A mound takes 8 to 12 months before the fermentation does its job in the manure, the exact time depending on the climate, humidity and the presence of micro-organisms. During this period, it is necessary to turn the pile periodically to oxygenate it and inoculate the biodynamic preparations which “direct the operations”.

If the manure is healthy, the preparations must be inserted at least twice, with chemical manure this intervention must be tripled. Each preparation must be inserted into balls of clay or into the manure itself, which is inoculated with a stick 6/8 cm in diameter, shaking the hole well and making sure that the ball can penetrate well inside, reaching the center of the heap. The hole made by the post must be closed carefully, using manure balls. There should be no air around the bales if the preparations are not in contact with the manure mass and do not work well.

After placing the balls, spray the pile with preparation 507 and cover it with straw, possibly wheat. Alternatively, you can use leaves, hay, or soil, avoiding bark, pine needles, or sawdust instead.

the bouquet of plants

Biodynamic composting can also be done from vegetable waste, such as kitchen scraps, grass clippings and yard waste. For best results, it’s best to use a garden shredder to break up the plant material, then place it in a layered pile. Each layer should be made with 20-30 cm of chopped material, on which basalt or seaweed flour will be sprinkled, then 5 cm of soil. The sowing of the preparations is carried out exactly as for the pile of manure, but the pile of vegetable matter must be left to rest for a month before sowing the preparations, otherwise there will be too much air around it.

Both heaps should be watched and kept moist as needed, if they dry up the processing stops and even if allowed to resume it does not resume properly.

In the photo, the pilings of the Cascine Orsine company in Bereguardo.

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