Biodynamic Preparations: Chamomile
Thank you to our guest blogger, Kelly Stanley from our Herb Garden, who in a series of blog posts, will introduce the herbs used in biodynamic practices. Kimberton Hills operates a biodynamic farm.
Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition. Biodynamics was first developed in the early 1920s based on the spiritual insights and practical suggestions of the Austrian writer, educator and social activist Dr. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health. (via Biodynamic Association)
“Treating each garden or farm as an organism in its own right would eventually help us see the earth as a living organism, as part of a much wider cycle of life involving the other planets and stars in our solar system, too. Steiner didn’t coin the term “think global, act local,” but his biodynamic way of farming was the first to fit it, and it is as valid now as it was in 1924.” – Monty Walden
Chamomile BD 503
Its roots loosen compacted earth so other plants can find the food and water they need, and a tea from the flowers helps to unblock plant sap, preventing stress from excess heat or cold.
The flowers are used in making BD 503.
How and Why it works:
Composted chamomile flowers encourage the natural cycle of growth. Their life-enhancing properties allow all the raw materials in the compost heap to break down in the correct way, ensuring the finished pile has a stable nitrogen content.
The chamomile compost prep is also rich in balanced proportions of both sulfur and calcium; allowing the pile to inwardly direct the life-giving forces released during decomposition, so they stay in the heap and are not lost to the atmosphere.
Collect chamomile flowers from early spring-ideally on sunny mornings with an ascending moon-before they are fully open, when the petals are still horizontal.
The flowers are composted inside a cow’s intestine which is cut into short pieces to make ‘sausages’ and then buried in the soil for six months over winter.
In the cow, the intestine holds in the forces and substances that cause healthy life and growth, just like chamomile does in the compost.
Chamomile or mayweed?
There are several varieties, and they look very similar. To properly identify german chamomile, cut open the yellow cone supporting it flowers, on german chamomile, the cone is hollow inside, but the cone for mayweed is solid.
Has a calming and soothing effect on humans as well as plants. It is both a preventive and curative treatment; the sulfur content acts against fungal diseases, while its calcium content stimulates healing processes, promoting healthy growth in leafy crops, flowers, and veggies that are susceptible to fungal funks. Chamomile is also high in potassium, which benefits all fruiting and flowering crops. The tea spray is best made fresh and should be applied just after sunrise, as a fine mist over the top of the plants.