Exploring Soil Science and the Value of Compost

With Rosemary Tayler of Earth Haven Learning Centre (earthhavenlearning.ca)

Fourteen participants attended the biodynamic workshop at Sunnivue farm on Saturday, April 14th. The farm kitchen comfortably accommodated the group for morning and afternoon workshops and for a delicious potluck lunch.

Due to freezing rain, we were unable to build the planned compost pile in the yard. Instead, Rosemary and the enthusiastic gardeners and herbalists present shared compost wisdom indoors.

Like other organic approaches to farming and gardening, Steiner’s biodynamics emphasizes the use of manure and compost for soil regeneration and plant health and excludes the use of artificial chemicals. In addition, biodynamics considers lunar and astronomical influences on soil and plants.  Rosemary explained how to use the celestial planting calendar produced annually at Earth Haven to guide gardeners in working with celestial bodies as well as the earth. This beautiful calendar can be purchased in the shop at the London Waldorf School.

There was much information imparted on soil chemistry as well as the importance of composting and techniques for creating enlivening compost. A balance of air, water and a good carbon/nitrogen ratio are basic factors in composting. Adequate air enhances the breakdown of organic materials into humus. Participants Tim and Denise Lindsay demonstrated a large corkscrew-like tool their daughter manufactures to assist in compost airing (dlindsay1108@gmail.com).

Special biodynamic preparations to enhance soil fertility were described by Rosemary and can be obtained from the Society for Biodynamic Farming and Gardening in Ontario (http://biodynamics.on.ca).

- Connie White