Self-study course in development

One of the methods unique to biodynamic agriculture is the use of the biodynamic preparations.  Horns filled with manure? Grinding up quartz crystals?  At best it sounds mystical at worst madness, but there is method in it and 90 years of experience and research both quantitative and qualitative that indicates that it works.

horn manure for the spray preparations

We have designed a course to help you understand and build a relationship to the biodynamic preparations.  This four-week course includes:

  • writing by Jonathan Code that explores the methods of making and using the preparations
  • interviews with farmers who use the preparations in ways that suit their own farm, location and ecology
  • seminars (recorded) that expand on the principles behind the preparations
  • resources for those interested in alternatives that use similar principles

oak bark for the compost preparations

This course is designed for anyone who is interested in the preparations, for farms, gardens, or allotments.  All that is required is interest, a decent internet connection and some self-motivation.

This course is in development, so if you are interested, please email info@bdacollege.org.uk to express your interest.  Then we will get back to you when the course is ready to go.


What follows is an excerpt from the reading, to give you a sense of the approach taken in the unit:

The preparations are one of the most noteworthy aspects of the biodynamic approach to farming and gardening. Biodynamics can be seen to share a number of tenets and practices in common with other holistic approaches – avoidance of chemical fertilizers, encouraging diversity and resilience in crops and herd through biodiversity, care for the soil as the basis for other life processes etc.
It is the biodynamic preparations, however, which bring a distinctly different gesture to this approach, and often stand out for supporters and critics alike as one of the key features that give a distinctiveness to the biodynamic methods in agriculture and horticulture.
First introduced in the Agriculture course given in 1924 by Rudolf Steiner in Koberwitz, the biodynamic preparations have since been the subject of much research, experimentation, innovation and discussion. They are not, however, without controversy, either within the bounds of biodynamic practice or from those who are not proponents of this agricultural approach.
Perhaps this is due to the fact that the preparations can evoke a degree of mystique, arising as they do from indications that ultimately arose out of a complex epistemology, ontology and cosmology that Steiner spent the better part of 40 years elaborating prior to these seminal lectures on agriculture.
There are practical aspects of preparation making and use to master, and there is also the task of understanding the preparations  – the principles that underlie their creation. Comprehending the indications for particular combinations of plant, animal and mineral substances is a big task, and one that needs time and attention in order to do justice to these remarkable innovations.
This unit will focus on the biodynamic preparations and will consider;
The history of the preparations and their introduction through the Agriculture course; principles of the preparations; the spray preparations; the compost preparations; other commonly used preparations; and research and innovation.

– Jonathan Code –  Introduction, Biodynamic Preparations

dandelions for the compost preparations