What are Biodynamic preparations
At Jurlique we grow most of the botanical ingredients that we use in our skin care products on our biodynamic* farm in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills. We use healthy, powerful plants that are carefully chosen for their skin-benefitting properties, using biodynamic* practices which we believe enable us to grow the purest, best quality botanicals possible.
We believe that by following biodynamic farming techniques, we’re harnessing all the positive, living energies from Nature, as well as farming in the most sustainable way possible. The plants and herbs we grow are nutritional for the skin, enriching for the soul and good for the planet.
There’s a lot that goes into biodynamic* farming (read our guide to biodynamic farming here) and a lot of the work goes into biodynamic preparations. The preparations are placed in the farm environment to enrich the soil, encouraging the plants to be spiritually good for the body and have the highest vital life force energy when harvested.
When Rudolph Steiner established biodynamic principles, he came up with nine ‘preparations’, which are made from herbs, mineral sources and animal manures. Turned into field sprays and compost, it is these preparations that aid fertilisation – rather than synthetic, chemical-driven fertilisers you’d typically find in conventional farming. These preparations are used on the farm to activate and enhance the energy of nature into the whole farming system.
The nine biodynamic preparations
Biodynamic preparations are numbered 500-508 and are all used for different reasons. 500 and 501 are considered the most important for maintaining the health of the soil, whilst 502-506 are placed in the compost. When added to each compost row in a specific order, it encourages a balanced process and to addresses certain key elements for plant health. Prep 507 is sprinkled over the compost bringing warmth to the heap.
500 Horn Manure
Horn Manure 500 is the first to be used and usually applied twice a year. Fresh cow manure is buried in autumn and dug up in spring. It’s then mixed with water and sprayed to the base of the plants to feed the soil (think of it as a superfood). Use of this preparation encourages:
• Healthy humus formation
• Mineral retention and availability
• Improved crumb structure
• Beneficial soil microbes, including nitrogen fixers
• Soil animal life, increase of earthworms
• Improved absorption and retention of water
• Fine, highly developed, robust root systems
• Improved nutrient uptake
501 Horn Silica
Horn Silica 501 is the original biodynamic atmospheric spray and is made from ground up clear quartz crystal and buried in the ground over summer. Horn Silica aids photosynthesis and increases the quality of the final product, including its ripeness, sweetness, flavour, fragrance, shelf life and dry fibre content. Like 500, this prep is mixed with water to be sprayed over the crops and soil, using a stirring method that increases oxygenation and, we believe, draws cosmic influences into the water.
Yarrow remedies weaknesses in flowering and fruiting and strengthens the plant against insect attack. The radiant energy of this preparation affects the whole of the compost, enabling it to enliven the soil. Yarrow also attracts a lot of good bug life to the farm, including ladybirds which eat the aphids off our Roses.
Chamomile stimulates the calcium processes in relation to Sulphur. It also contains homeopathic Sulphur, which allows it to attract other substances. It keeps the plant healthy by warding off harmful effects of fruitification. When added to compost, a more stable nitrogen content develops, enlivening the soil and stimulating plant growth.
This preparation carries the influence of potassium, calcium, Sulphur and iron, in relation to activity in the soil, making the compost heap inwardly sensitive and receptive. It helps the soil develop an intelligence to accommodate the plants which are growing in it.
505 Oak Bark
Oak bark has a high calcium content. It acts as a mediator between the plant and the living Earth and stimulates calcium processes to prevent plant diseases.
Dandelion contains silicic acid and draws in influences of the cosmos. The potassium – silica relationship in the dandelion is transferred to the compost. The dandelion prep gives the soil the ability to attract silica from the cosmos and sensitises the plant to its environment so that it can attract what it needs.
Valerian helps the compost to attract the force of phosphorous-activating bacteria within the soil. It is used for frost protection and to stimulate flowering. Like Yarrow, Valerian brings good bug life to our farm (it’s also great food for our bees).
Horsetail is a harmful weed in South Australia, so we used Casuarina as a replacement, which has been approved by Biodynamics Agriculture Australia. Mixed with water and turned into a spray, this helps strengthen the plants to fight fungal diseases and can clear mildew on fruit. To find out more about biodynamic* farming, read our guide here. And to see our farm and biodynamic preps in action, discover our farm tours in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills.
*Certified biodynamic by the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia. Jurlique’s products and farm are not certified of affiliated with Demeter® USA or Demeter International.