Biodynamic Gardening Takes Holistic Approach to the Soil
By Tom Oder
Want to enhance the health and vitality of your garden? Try gardening biodynamically. It will deepen your understanding of the life processes that happen in the garden and enhance the quality and flavor of the food you grow.
Many people are familiar with how organic gardening avoids using chemicals and focuses instead on more natural and ecological approaches to growing food. Biodynamic gardening takes that approach to the next level not just by changing what organic gardeners do in the garden but also by altering how they view the garden.
That view is one in which all of the many aspects that make up a garden — soil, plants and animals (both domestic and wild) — are seen and managed not as individual parts but as a single, integrated, self-sustaining whole. If that sounds like a holistic approach to digging in the dirt, it is. Welcome to biodynamic gardening.
Biodynamic gardening starts with building truly healthy soil through thoughtfully integrating both plants and animals in the garden and creating fertility by rotating crops, growing green manures such as vetch or clover, and carefully composting plant waste, kitchen scraps and farm animal manures (such as chicken or rabbit) with the help of medicinal herbal preparations.
“It’s not just about what chemicals you can’t use but what you can actively do to create a healthy garden whole that sustains itself,” said Thea Maria Carlson, director of programs for the Biodynamic Association in Milwaukee. “And it works on any scale, even in a small space.”