Recipe: Biodynamic Compost

Recipe: Biodynamic Compost

Ingredients:

Cow manure, hay, pea straw, fresh garden clippings (no oxalis), dry garden clippings (not branches/twigs), food scraps, lime and Biodynamic Kit* – (prep ball and drops).

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*The Biodynamic preparation kits are available for members from Biodynamics Victoria and are prepared with minerals and plants according to Rudolf Steiner’s philosophies. They contain Yarrow, Chamomile, Horn Manure, Silica, Stinging Nettle, Valerian, Oak Bark and Dandelion.

Tools:

Hose connected to tap, gloves, garden boots, garden fork & shovel, bucket, wheelie bin, hat.

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Prep:

Mark out a square (about 1m x 1m is ample for most households) in flat earth (not on grass) facing North – South.

The square will be made with a hay centre, which you’ll construct like a tent so it’s hollow underneath, and with two sides made up of the other greens laid flat.

It should be square and the sides kept compact.

It will take 3-4 months before you have complete nourishing compost.

  1. The Slurry: Fill ¼ of your wheelie bin with cow manure, and top with water.  Stir well.
  2. Make a row with some of the hay to create a tunnel/tent all the way across the centre of your square. The underneath should be hollow to create heat, which keeps rodents away and helps everything decompose.

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3.   Add pea straw to both sides of your tent, keeping within the square. Make sure the pea straw is nice and flat, and then put some slurry on top.

4.  Sprinkle lime over the slurry on the pea straw, which helps hold in the nitrogen and water.

5.  Repeat step 3. Water.

6.  Check the perimeter and “bash” the sides with the back of shovel to make it more compact. It should be looking nice and square. Keep the centre tunnel exposed.

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7.  Pile up the sides with lots of green clippings until they reach the peak of the hay (the tent).

8.  Add a layer of lime and hay to the top. Keep checking that sides are compact and “bash” with shovel if needed.  We’re trying to create a tight, even, square so that when it breaks down, it will break down and collapse evenly.

9.  Add more slurry, water and top up with garden clippings (green weeds etc).

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10. Add a layer of hay to the entire lot (it’s probably about 50cm high now).

11. Add slurry and water well then top up with more garden greens.

12. Fill bucket with water and stir with your hand to create a vortex and add drops (from biodynamic kit).  Change the direction of your vortex by stirring the other way. Keep this up for 10-15 minutes.  This is where children come in handy…and they love it!

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13.  Water the compost very well and add a layer of food scraps on top (these can be fresh or composted) and sprinkle with lime.

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14. Add a layer of hay (it should now be about 70cm high).

15. Water and continually pack the sides so it remains firm around the edges and is square. This will help it break down evenly.

16. Add the prep balls (from biodynamic kit). Place around the sides and centre. Top with slurry and add a layer of green clipping.

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17. At this point you need to keep layering as you have been until all you used up all your greens and hay. Keep adding slurry, water in between layers and always check that the sides are firm and the top is even in height all around so that it will break down nice and even.

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18.Enjoy your healthy nourishing soil.

** ImageThank you to Celia for sharing her knowledge, enthusiasm and hard work biodynamic composting at Sophia Mundi’s garden. Celia is from Australia Biodynamics – Victoria Inc. For membership and courses: phone 03 59629349 http://www.biodynamicsvictoria.org/

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