Let us say we have a biodynamic farm and are plagued with field mice. Steiner directs us to “catch a fairly young mouse and skin it … at a time when Venus is in the sign of Scorpio” (p. 113). Then we are told to burn the skin and scatter the ash over our fields. Steiner assures us that “Henceforth, your mice will avoid the field.” Insects and weeds are treated in similar fashion, except that one does not need to skin (shell?) the insect: only “where there is spinal marrow, you must first skin the animal,” he sagely tells us (p. 121). Steiner doesn’t ever clarify what the spinal marrow has to do with anything.
Peppering according to the Biodynamic Association of India’s web site is, “a technique suggested by Rudolf Steiner to reduce the incidence of weeds, insects and rodents. The term “peppering” refers to the ash produced using this method of pest control, which is then sprinkled over affected areas.
Peppering is a technique suggested by Rudolf Steiner to reduce the incidence of weeds, insects and rodents. The term ‘peppering’ refers to the ash produced using this method of pest control, which is then sprinkled over affected areas.
Peppering is a very powerful tool, which should only be used as a last resort. Because its effect is to eradicate something completely from a treated area, it does nothing whatsoever to establish or maintain a healthy balance in the interdependent ecological systems of the animal or plant world. The whole matter of making peppers of weeds, insect pests and rodents is very much in the experimental stage.
What is given here are guidelines for those interested in using this technique, based on suggestions given by Steiner, as well as research done by Maria Thun and biodynamic farmers in New Zealand. In India, interest in peppering for weeds is most common.
Peppering for Weeds
Seeds which are ripe and viable should be burnt at Full Moon or when the Moon is in Leo (Simha) constellation.
The seeds are put into a small tin and placed in a very hot fire. If seeds are not available, gather the roots of rampantly growing weeds and burn them in a very hot fire.
The resultant ash is mixed with fine sand or wood ash and spread over the affected land or potentised to a D6 or D8 and should be spread at Full Moon, several times in the year if needed. The potentizing can be done by a homeopath or potentized by the method below.
This can also apply to burning runners of the roots of such weeds as couch grass or the bindweed (morning glory) and then spreading the ash over the affected area.
Burned and applied on Full Moon day
(from 2 days before) or when Moon is in Leo Constellation
May take up to 4 years for eradication.
1. Fertile mature seeds of weeds that have grown out of control
2. Roots of overzealous creepers, e.g. morning glory
1. Collect seeds/roots in advance and store.
2. Up to 2 days prior to a Full Moon day, light a wood fire.
3. Place seeds/roots into a small tin.
4. Place tin in the fire.
5. Burn seeds/roots until black.
6. Collect the ash and grind with a mortar and pestle for 10 minutes until smoothly ground.
1. Put 10 gm ash in a bucket of sand
2. Mix well and sprinkle over affected land
3. Potentize ash to D6 or D8 as below
4. Mix 10 ml of D8 solution in 100 litres of water/acre
5. Spray every 3 to 4 months for effect.
Use this method only in extreme cases. Weeds give us a message about our soil – they indicate what is needed. It is very important we understand the message they bring before we destroy them. Place cut weeds into compost heaps.
10gm ash + 90ml distilled H2O = D1
10ml D1 + 90ml distilled H2O = D2
10ml D2 + 90ml distilled H2O = D3
10ml D3 + 90ml distilled H2O = D4
10ml D4 + 90ml distilled H2O = D5
10ml D5 + 90ml distilled H2O = D6
10ml D6 + 20ml alcohol + 70ml distilled H2O =
D7 which can be stored
then make into D8 for use
10ml D7 + 90ml distilled H2O = D8
1. 10 gms of the ground ash is placed in a bottle with 90 ml of distilled water.
This mother tincture D1 (Decimal potency 1) is shaken as in the homeopathic process for 2 ½ minutes.
2. 10 ml of D1 solution is mixed in 90 ml of water and shaken for 2 ½ minutes to give you D2 mixture.
3.This process may be followed till the D8 mixture stage. For preservation at the D7 stage add 20ml alcohol as above.
Full Moon – Sun in the constellations Pisces (Mina) to Leo (Simha)
Burned and spread under a Zodiac sign that represents the element in which the insect pest spends the maximum time in its life cycle;
i.e. fire, earth, air, water
Invading insect/pest (50 in number)
1. Determine from the life cycle of the insect in question, where it spends the maximum time
(e.g. the mosquito spends the maximum time in water).
2. Determine an appropriate constellation/month*
Aquarius = air mid-Feb to mid-March
Pisces = water mid-Mar to mid-April
Aries = fire mid-Apr to mid-May
Taurus = earth mid-May to mid-June
Gemini = air mid-June to mid-July
Cancer = water mid-July to mid-August
Leo = fire mid-Aug to mid-September
3. Collect 50 of the invading insects/pests
(if none are around at the time for burning, save some from when they are around).
4. Place these insects/pests in a tin.
5. Light a wood fire and place the tin in the fire.
6. Burn the contents till they are charred (carbonized).
7. Collect the ash and grind with a mortar and pestle for 10 minutes until smoothly ground.
* If the Moon is also in the same constellation the effect
will be multiplied; i.e. Sun and Moon in Taurus, etc.
As a rule:
Sun in Aries is best for berry borers.
Sun in Taurus is best for all hard-shelled insects.
Sun in Gemini is best for moths.
Sun in Cancer is best for snails and slugs, mosquitoes
1. Mix 10 gm ash with milk sugar or wood ashes
2. Mix well and sprinkle over mature insects/pests when they return to the area
3. Potentize ash to D6 or D8
4. Mix 10 ml of D8 solution in 100 litres of water/acre
5. Spray over mature insects/pests regularly throughout the season
Full Moon of Pisces or Cancer
1. Place snails in a bucket of water
2. Leave them rotting in the bucket for 1 month
3. Then pour this ‘snail water’ on the ground,
living snails don’t like it
Burn and apply when Venus is in front of Scorpio
= a period of three weeks any time from between
mid-October and first week in January
Skins of mice, rats, rabbits, opossum etc.
1. Kill and skin the pesty young rodents.
2. Make a fire on a corrugated iron sheet and let it burn for 1/2 hour.
3. Place the rodent skins on the sheet and keep turning until charred.
4. Collect the ash and grind finely.
1. Mix ground up burnt skin with ash, sand, or milk sugar.
2. Sprinkle lightly over the affected field.
3. Potentize the ash to D6 or D8 and sprinkle over field.
For pest attacks
Herbal extracts should be used only as a final remedy after utilizing & practicing all the above control methods.
Some of the Liquid Manure plants such as:*
insecticides – Dathura
pesticides – Neem, yanna maritl, nettle
fungicides – equistun arverise and casuarinas equisetifoliae
*One should try to use only the locally available weeds.
If enough materials are not available in and around the garden, then materials can be collected from other areas.
1. Use at least 2-3 different materials at a time to prepare the herbal extract.
2. Crush and grind the plant material to a pulp state.
3. Soak the pulped material in 60-80% of the final volume of spray solution for 3-5 days.*
5. Add additional water to make the required final volume of spray solution.
* To avoid soaking it for 3-4 days, soak it at least overnight and then heat it to a bearable warmth (60-70C) for an hour stirring.
Then dilute it to the required final volume of spray solution, filter, allow to cool & spray.
2. Change the combination of the materials every time.
Never use the same combination twice in a row.
3. Use 2-3% of herbal extract (of 2-3 material combo) while the pest attack is at early stage.
4. Increase the dosage to 5-6% if the attack is very severe.
1. Pulp the plant material.
2. Place the pulped material in a mud pot.
3. Add cow urine (10% of the final volume of spray solution).
4. Bury the mud pot in a compost heap.
5. Soak the pulped material in cow urine for 15-20 days
6. Then dilute it as 1:9 with water, filter & spray.
Please refer to Hugh Lovel’s article on this website