Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Biodynamic Wizzard: yarrow, dandelion, nettle, horsetail, chamomile and valerian, in different vegetables

About a week ago, I started some biodynamic experiments.

I was curious to see whether the Steiner herbal preparations would have some effect. He claimed that this plants would have a positive effect on vegetable growth, by way of cosmic and nutrient workings. Furthermore, the plants like dandelion, yarrow, nettles, horsetail, chamomile, valerian and oaks, are well known as dynamic accumulators, that is, they pull specific nutrients from the soil, which are lacking near the surface, and make it available to other plants. Something similar to the nitrogen fixing plants but for other nutrients.

I was really compelled to see whether those herbs would work.

Below see the dried herbs, waiting to be made into teas.

From left to right: chamomile, nettle, valerian (top), yarrow tops, dandelion and horsetail (bottom)

Of course I did it the simple way, I simply transplanted some of my vegetables with some of these dried herbs on the soil, and then both sprayed them and water them, with a tea made of those dried herbs. This is a lot of fun, as I could drink the tea at the same time I applied to the vegetables.

I did these 6 different herbal teas for 6 tomato seedlings, one per each plant (but those are from different varieties), for lentils (same variety), and also in cabbages, rucula, squash and beans. It is a very rough experiment, just to have a feeling of whether these herbs work at all, and if they work, in what way.

Below are the tomato seedlings, which have the "special" herbs on the topsoil, and were also watered and sprayed with their teas.

Wizard of Biodynamics: applying the different herbs to different tomato plants to see how they react.

After one week now, I can already see something happening.

So far, it seems that yarrow and dandelion have induced stronger growth, including nicer side shoots, and larger leaves. This is consistent and expected as they accumulate potassium, which is good for a stronger growth, stronger roots and increased plant resistance. The effects of yarrow seem clearer in the lentils (with large side shoots than the other plants) and the effects of both yarrow and dandelion in larger tomato seedlings. It is known that yarrow is full of other micronutrients, so its positive effect is expected and welcomed.

Lentils watered with yarrow (right) seems to have developed much sooner side shoots than the plants watered normally (left). Probably a positive effect from yarrow.

The chamomile seems to have induced smaller but bushy and harmonious plants, both on the rucula, tomato seedlings and lentils; so far a subtle difference. The chamomile is rich in phosphorus, its lack on vegetables manifests in weak stems, leggy plants with no flowers or fruits, so it could be that the tea has also some effect.

Nettle seems to clearly induce a strong leafy growth. This is not the first time I observe this, nettle seems really to be a strong inducer of leafy growth, just like a nitrogen or compost fertilizer. It is also full of other nutrients. The ruculas watered with nettle tea are very vigorous, as are the beans, but not so much the tomatoes.

Rucula grown with nettle tea (left) compared to without (right)

I did not see clear effects for the horsetail and valerian. So, I will wait another week or two to see what happens with those tests.

I also have one squash plant watered, sprayed and containing in the soil these herbs, and another without. The one with the herbs shows plenty of tiny ants, probably attracted by the herbs laying on the topsoil, I do not know why, but this is surely a nice ecological difference. The plants so far seem similar size, but the one without the herbs seems less healthy (its larger leaf shows some yellowing), while the one treated with the biodynamic teas shows healthier leaves.

Squash watered biodinamically (right) seems healthier than the one watered normally (left)

I also tried this on two cabbage plants. Before the experiment, they were in very good shape, having some sort of deficiency (scorched leaves, yellowing at the edges, probably a lack of potassium). Now, the one treated with the herbs is much greener color, but the leaves are curled (which points to some nutrient problem), the other is blueish color and looks better. This is a clear difference. I was surprised by a less positive effect on the cabbages, might have been too much of something, but I will wait a couple of weeks more.

The cabbage watered biodinamically (right) is greener and shows curled leaves than the one watered normally (left)


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  2. love your experiements, its always good to step beyond current practise. Please do it as a larger trial next time or document what you did, perhaps others like me wants to try it too. I had different growth from plants from the same seed package, so I would not put soo much validity into it (sorry, needs to be all repeatable..:) and scientific) By the way i tis said Valerian increases fruit formation (your pumpkins will be great or beans) and protects of frost. so if you it in cold times, it increases the resistance to frost of the plant. I sprayed the whole field with compost preps, including valerian and got amazing results how long plants survived (Until December in the UK) long after man y people had digged hteir field around. for instance I had calendula until December flowering and it actually did not die entirely. I need to find out if calendula really dies each year, I could still see green leaves all over..

    I want to get the preps into homeopathic remedies, but not sure how yet.. do you have any excperience with this?