Biodynamics: A Definition

The following definition of biodynamic agriculture was written by  Hugh Lovel, author of A Biodynamic Farm, in December 2012

BIODYNAMIC AGRICULTURE: Bio (life) dynamic (processes); Biodynamic
agriculture involves working with life processes. This does not mean
physical substance or chemistry are ignored. The biodynamic approach to
agriculture emphasizes life processes which have potent organisational (syntropic) effects to engage minerals and chemical reactions. The use of what are called ‘biodynamic preparations’ establishes, increases and enhances life processes. The question is, what is a LIFE process and whatare the life processes we are talking about?

Nineteenth and twentieth century physics focused on life-LESS processes.
With these energy flowed from higher concentration to lower concentration,
as without life all energy flows from order toward chaos in a process called
entropy. However, it became recognised in the mid twentieth century that
order also arises out of chaos. It does this cyclically at boundaries or
surfaces, which means energy flows from lower to higher concentration over
time periods that begin and end in a process called syntropy. Life processes
are syntropic, and a variety of these can be distinguished in regard to
plants, so let’s look at what these are.

In the soil, the processes involved in life are mineral release, nitrogen
fixation, digestion and nutrient uptake. These are related to the lime
complex commonly referred to as the CEC or as cations. Because biodynamics
comes from an awareness of the influences of the context on life processes,
these processes are correlated with the planets between the sun and the
earth, namely mercury, venus and the moon.

However, plants live both in the soil AND the atmosphere, and in the
atmosphere the processes are quite different and complimentary to the soil
processes. What goes on in the atmosphere is photosynthesis, blossoming,
fruiting and ripening. These processes are related to silica and to the
planets beyond the sun and the earth, namely mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

In large part, biodynamics involves getting a dynamic interplay going between what goes on above ground and what goes on below.

Plants draw in energy and carbon-the basis of life-via photosynthesis. By
doing so, they build up sugars and carbohydrates in their sap during the day
and a portion of this drains down to plants’ root tips and are exuded into
the soil around the tender young root growth of the plant. This feeds a
honey-like syrup to the soil foodweb which uses the energy to release
minerals such as silica, lime and phosphorous along with various trace
mineral co-factors that provide for nitrogen fixation.

Nitrogen fixation is VERY energy intensive as it takes roughly 10 units of
sugar to fix one unit of amino acid. Moreover, nitrogen fixing microbes
don’t just gift the nitrogen they fix to plants. However, protozoa and other
soil animal life eat mineral releasing and nitrogen fixing microbes, thus
excreting a steady stream of freshly digested milk-like nourishment rich in
amino acids and minerals chelates, which the plant takes up from the soil.
This milk-like nourishment is the basis for chlorophyll assembly in the leaf
and for the duplication of the DNA and the protein chemistry basic to plant
growth.

From the biodynamic point of view it is enormously important that the
soluble salt levels in the soil are as low as possible while the insoluble
but available nutrients stored in humus are abundant. Partly this is because
when the plant takes up amino acids instead of nitrogen salts the efficiency
of the plant chemistry is dramatically increased and photosynthetic
efficiency is multiplied. Also, soluble salts in the soil are toxic to the
nitrogen fixing and mineral releasing micro-life in the soil as soluble
salts amount to their waste, in which case they shut down and fail to
function as might be expected of any organism which had to live in its own
waste.

The bottom line is the more dynamic the interplay between what goes on above ground and what goes on below, the more robustly plants grow, the more efficiently they utilize the resources at their disposal, the more fully they achieve their genetic potential and the more strongly they express syntropic (life) processes.

Basically the aim of biodynamic farming is to achieve self-sufficiency where
the farm no longer requires outside inputs to be fertile and productive.
This means that any inputs a farm requires along the way of becoming
self-sufficient should be considered as remedies for a farm that has fallen
ill. This method has proven itself over the past 85 plus years as many
‘biodynamic’ farms have come close enough to this ideal as to be virtually
self-sufficient while producing high yielding crops of the highest quality
and exporting somewhere in the range of 8 per cent or less of their total
biomass production annually

Compost Explained

Composting Explained©

 

By Hugh Lovel

 

On a recent trip to Japan where I visited several organic farms as well as a golf course I noted that no matter how good their other practices none were composting well enough. All omitted clay from their compost mixtures. The same is commonly true on organic farms elsewhere, though I know of cases—most of them biodynamic operations—in Europe, India, the USA, Australia and New Zealand where composting is excellent.

My research shows that organic farming pioneer, Sir Albert Howard, (1873-1947), advocated soil, a good source of clay, as part of his compost mix. In my own case, one of the oldest and most experienced compost makers I’ve known is Fletcher Sims, who started composting on the Texas High Plains shortly after World War II—in which this pint sized Texan was a B-17 tail gunner in the old Army Air Corps. One of the secrets of excellent compost Fletcher shared with me was the incorporation of somewhere in the vicinity of 10% clay, either as soil or as rock powders that would make good clays. Fletcher also used compost inoculants either made with biodynamic preparations or using microbes derived from biodynamic preparations. And he developed world class compost turning machinery for aeration and moisture control.

 

Background

 

I realize most growers think of compost as a means of recycling nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK) and they tend to measure compost quality in terms of its NPK analysis—which would be diluted if clay were added. Since organic agriculture was a reaction against the simple minded abuses of chemical agriculture, it adopted a natural and far more complex approach to the NPK mind-set, nevertheless retaining the belief that soluble N, P and K were essential to robust growth and high production. The difference was they replaced the miracle grow mentality—that the soil was there to hold the plant up and nutrients should be supplied in soluble form—with the use of crop rotations, lime, gypsum and other rock dusts along with microbial inoculants, composts, trace minerals, and organic carbon concentrates such as kelp, fulvic and humic acids.

On the other hand, Brazilian soil scientist, Ana Primavesi, pointed out in her brilliant rebuttal of the NPK mindset—which she called the Nutrient Quantity Concept or NQC—that basic agricultural research went awry back in the mid nineteenth century by analysing plants for their chemical components and then analysing poorly performing soils to determine their deficiencies, which then could be addressed with soluble inputs. She suggested we should all along have examined thriving untouched natural soils, such as found in rain forest or grassland ecosystems, in order to determine what goes on in a naturally thriving soil. Interestingly these soils often show up on soluble soil analyses as being deficient in soluble N, P or K even though total soil analysis using strong acids shows these elements present in what are thought to be unavailable forms. Thus she argued a new approach—which she termed the Nutrient Access Concept or NAC—was required. The question she asked is what is so different about thriving natural ecosystems versus farmed soils?

 

NPK vs. Micro-organisms

 

The first thing that comes to mind is the tremendous diversity of species, and as far as the soil is concerned this boils down to extremely diverse, high populations of micro-organisms in the soil—fed, of course, by the recycling of vegetative matter from above. The most immediate way this occurs is from the nightly cycling of a wide array of carbon compounds by root exudation from a diversity of plant species, each feeding a different community of micro-organisms in its root zone. Of course, mono-cropping defeats this since large plantings of single species causes microbial diversity to crash, which is why multi-cropping and multi-species cover cropping are sorely needed. Diversity of crop species, however, is a topic for another day.

What comes to light out of all this is that composts should be thought of as a means of restoring micro-organism diversity to soils. In other words, composts are micro-organism inputs, not NPK inputs. The well-known soil microbiologist, Dr. Elaine Ingham, has been arguing this for years, and has set up laboratories in a number of countries for testing the levels and diversity of micro-organisms in soils and composts. And since truly good compost is such a rarity she has popularized the concept of compost tea brewing, which—when done successfully—can brew high populations of diverse soil microbes to be applied in liquid form repeatedly throughout a crop cycle for a fraction of the cost of applying mediocre composts at high enough rates to assure the numbers and diversity for sufficient release of a full array of nutrients.

Time after time it has been shown that repeated applications of well-brewed compost teas can shift the availability of nutrients in soils as long as these nutrients were present in the total test—or in the case of nitrogen if the right mix of nutrients is present for nitrogen fixation and microbial release. Aside from equipment design and microbial food source issues, the difficulty usually is finding a reliably robust and diverse starter culture for successful compost tea brewing. Essentially one must start with a good compost culture.

 

Where This Leads

 

Let’s step back a moment and review. Although organic farmers often think of composts as NPK inputs, composts should really be thought of as soil micro-organism boosters. Unfortunately, most composts are rather mediocre at doing this, although there are good ones which often enough are biodynamic. Why do biodynamic composts sometimes hit the bull’s eye? Is it just due to the biodynamic preparations? From my 30+ years experience with biodynamics I’d have to say no. Biodynamic preparations may help considerably, but I believe the real reason is that biodynamic growers have a greater tendency to understand that lime and silica stand at the poles of the mineral kingdom while clay mediates between the two. Remember, all the most successful compost makers—whether biodynamic or not—use some form of clay to make compost. Most biodynamic compost workshop leaders I’ve known emphasize the importance of clay in composting. Otherwise lime and silica do not have enough middle ground where interaction between these two polarities can occur. This seriously limits both the mineral and the microbial activity of the compost pile and tends to ensure the compost goes off toward one or the other extreme.

 

Biochemical Sequence

 

            Let’s look at this from the viewpoint of the biochemical sequence in plants, since this is also the basic requirement for good soil microbial activity. Clay, by definition, is aluminium silicate—which means that clay is the soil’s silica reservoir. But because aluminium doesn’t turn loose of silica all that readily, nature boosts silica release with a trace of boron—which is chemically akin to aluminium but far more reactive.

[Aluminium silicates come in a wide variety of forms from the simple Al2Si2O5∙OH4 of kaolin (the basis for porcelain) to a much more complex montmorillonite such as (Na,Ca)0.33(Al,Mg)2Si4O10(OH)2∙nH2O as would be found in rich black cracking soils with a cation exchange capacity of over 50.]

As far as plants are concerned silicon is the mineral basis for cell walls and connective tissues. Thus silicon provides containment and transport for all sap nutrients and protoplasm. In other words boron provides sap pressure and silicon provides the transport and containment system. Now we can we consider calcium, which American farm guru Gary Zimmer calls the trucker of all minerals. He’s right, of course, but let’s not forget that calcium trucks down a silicon highway. Calcium, assisted by molybdenum, is the basis of nitrogen fixation and amino acid chemistry. Nitrogen, allied with calcium in the form of amino acids, reacts with every other nutrient element, the most important being magnesium, which is the basis for chlorophyll and photosynthesis. Chlorophyll traps energy and shunts it via phosphorous into carbon structures, which go where potassium, the main electrolyte, carries them.

Thus the biochemical sequence for plants is B, Si, Ca, N, Mg, P, C, K. If, in making compost, we focus on N, P and K we leave out the beginning of this sequence. If we refuse to dilute the NPK content of our compost by adding clay we will make poverty compost that never gets its biochemistry rolling with B, Si and Ca. Thus the micro-organism content will not be up to the task of eating into the soil and fixing nitrogen—which tends to escape during the composting process.

When we look at compost as a micro-organism booster for digesting the soil so that sap pressure, transport, nitrogen fixation, photosynthesis and growth occur and our plants have plenty of root exudates to keep ramping up the microbial activity around their roots—then we need to put about 10% rich clay in our compost. This breeds high populations of the micro-organisms that eat soil. By putting clay—or a rock powder that makes a good clay—in our compost we can breed soil eating microbes in abundance.

            Fletcher Sims reckons that 2 to 3 tons per acre (5 to 7.5 tonnes per hectare) of this sort of well-made compost should be sufficient to boost the microbial activity of a decent soil enough for a robust crop of corn or potatoes—even though we are talking mono-crop farming. Contrast this with 10 to 20 tons per acre (25 to 50 tonnes per hectare) of mediocre compost being barely adequate—a five to one difference in application rates.

            The rest of the story can be worked out—keeping the pile aerated and moist, getting carbon to nitrogen ratios somewhere between 15 and 30 to 1, supplying major and minor nutrients to meet specific soil needs in appropriate forms and amounts, and using biodynamic preparations and/or compost inoculants. But understanding the importance of clay as the appropriate medium for culturing the micro-organisms most needed in turning soil into plant food can take a little more understanding than currently prevails—since this is non-existent in the NPK school of agriculture.

 

Some Pointers

 

            If the larger size earthworms are lacking in your piles, keep in mind that earthworms don’t have teeth, they have gizzards and they need grit. If your soil is lacking in grit, try freshly crushed rock powders that contain some coarser particles. An earthworm’s digestive tract is one of the best microbial culture vessels in the soil, and earthworms spread micro-organisms around pretty well, so it pays to give them what they need. Moreover, if your compost heap is too dry for earthworms, it’s too dry for the micro-organisms you need in your soil. Once earthworm activity slows down your compost is ready to spread, which makes them good indicators. Another indicator animal is ants. When they produce that formic acid smell that seems fresher than lemon they are doing their job of clearing toxicity from your compost.

 

ILLUSTRATIONS:

Japan compost

 

 

 

This picture was taken at a model organic farm in Japan, but there was no clay in the compost. The concrete pad and covered sheds were necessary because of high rainfall, which is not usually a problem in Australia, but of course, it kept clay from getting into the compost.

Biochemical Sequence 3_1

In many ways the diversity and management of this farm was admirable, but the emphasis of nitrogen over silica due to the lack of clay in the compost shows in this patch of aquatic weeds in the rice. This particular weed can be symbiotic with rice, as it was where I saw it last year on a Japanese biodynamic farm. There growth was subdued, and its leaves were small, narrow and quite pointed—a sure sign of high silica in the soil.

grass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

buckwheat field

This scene, taken behind the composting shed, shows a paddock freshly sown in buckwheat—so called because it often takes only 8 weeks from planting to harvest and can follow wheat. Buckwheat rushes to flower by its third week, showing a particularly close relationship with phosphorous—as its roots host phosphorous solubilizing bacteria. This can be very helpful since wheat removes soluble phosphorous from the soil. Attention to good crop rotations was one of the admirable features of this farm. Also note the border areas with their lush diversity of species. The Japanese countryside can be spectacularly beautiful.

 

tolgacompost2

Here we see the turning of a small compost pile in Tolga, FNQ. The field broadcaster in the foreground (sometimes called a biodynamic tower) broadcasts the archetypal patterns of all the biodynamic preparations into the ethers around the clock and around the seasons. Biodynamic preparations are organizational in their action, and organization is the basis of life. Contrary to the belief of some, this is an organizational (etheric) device rather than a disorganizational device hooked up to the electric mains.

 

 

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Here is adding a little fresh green matter from the garden to an otherwise slow pile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

compost water

Moisture is maintained by watering each layer as the compost is turned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the finished pile, the tools used and a pile of finished compost that filtered through the pitchfork as the pile was turned. Tolga has heavy red clays so leached of their calcium that the magnesium left behind makes them 

tolgacomposthigh (1)extremely sticky when wet. Two years of gardening with the addition of soft rock phosphate, gypsum, boron humates and cover crops of maize with soybeans has changed this situation dramatically. The rich chocolate colour of the finished compost shows how the clay has absorbed the digested organic matter forming clay/humus complexes which are ideal for rich microbial diversity. The finished compost between the wheelbarrow and the stack will go on two beds being replanted, while the vegetation ripped out will return to the compost site with quite a bit of clay still sticking to its roots. The fresh material will be incorporated into a newly turned pile in thin layers.

Radionics vs. Mechanics

 

Radionics vs. Mechanics

 

By Hugh Lovel

 

Since it takes life to beget more life, my rule is to work with the living realm which pulses and breathes and where the driving force is ever further enhancement. Thus using stirring machines, tractors, pumps and spray gear doesn’t really inspire me that much. These are mechanical devices with no life of their own. Of course, I’ve used these aids—powerful electric motors with their EMF fields and lumbering diesel tractors belching fumes and compacting the soil. I guess I could have gone on to airplanes or helicopters, but I went down a different path, more vibratory and transcendental it seems to me. It also seems a more direct link to spiritual essence rather than physical presence, though in this world of ours there is never one without the other. This is the path of quantum non-locality and entanglement, though it usually is known by the somewhat older label of radionics, and what originally was an invention of T. Galen Hieronymus (1895–1988) that I have come to call field broadcasting. (also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hieronymus_machine )

I tend to put a premium on results, as theories and talk are cheap while results can be dear. And while I don’t discount quantity, quality is a must, and quality is not nearly so difficult to measure as some would have us believe. As a chef and chemist, I’d say taste and smell are the two best indicators of vital, nutritious food; and I’ve found the flavor and aroma of biodynamic foods grown with radionics to be unexcelled in complexity and integrity—two key signs of life. I might add, this is not simply my own experience. Those growers I know who have used radionics for any length of time seem to all have a similar experience.

There was a time when I couldn’t imagine how a radionic instrument might work with life energy. Although experience soon convinced me at the gut level that it must be true. But I had only a vague idea of how life energy worked or what it was. It took me years to sort this out, and it hardly helped that erroneous ideas are often bandied about like confetti at an Italian wedding. Life energy builds. It grows. It is organizational and works just the opposite of things that run down, disperse and are entropic. Life energy is syntropic.

One of the easiest of the erroneous notions about radionics to dispel is that it is electrical or electromagnetic. This notion commonly circulates amongst those who condemn radionics without investigation. I could as easily say that music works with electricity. After all you can listen to music with an electrical device, but when it comes down to it electricity runs down and disperses while life energy—even though it often follows the same pathways—does not. Life energy concentrates. The electricity bit, along with notions such as radionics must be working with underworld demons, is misleading and hysterical, and setting the record straight is long overdue.

 

Take Rain, For Example

 

When we see a cloud gather in the moisture of the atmosphere and build into a thunderstorm, it grows. First it starts with rising spirals of warm, moist air that push up into cooler, upper layers, spilling these downward while turning into puffs of white cloud. Then not only the warm, moist air feeds the fledgling cloud, but the light works on this cloud so that it percolates ever more strongly creating inner updrafts and outer downdrafts until these become so strong one wouldn’t want to fly a light plane too close. Of course, like all living things the cloud only builds so long before it reaches a point of such fecundity that we have lightning, which is a condensation of warmth ether, and thunder, which is a condensation of light ether—and we get rain. Unlike evaporation, which is the result of water dispersing, rain is the result of water becoming organized and concentrated. And as just about any farmer knows, the rain that falls in this fashion stimulates the growth of crops far more than water from the irrigation channel. After all, it is the result of life energy. It is rich in the forces of growth instead of dispersion.

Some would say that lightning is electricity, but is it? Well, certainly it has electrical effects associated with it, but as I just stated, lightning is a condensation of warmth, and those who have watched those late summer pyrotechnic displays of heat lightning should have a sense of what I mean. The more I studied lightning the more I realized the light part is organizational, although I’d have to say Rudolf Steiner caught the true essence of electricity when he called it fallen light ether. As such, electricity is disorganizational where light is organizational. There is an enormous difference. The dynamics of clouds and rain are complex and I won’t go into further detail at the moment, but I mention cloud formation in passing because it is such an obvious example of life energy. Life energy flows from lower concentration to higher concentration, which is what atmospheric moisture has to do for rain to occur.

 

What Is Radionics?

 

In the above example of rain I have used the term ether, as in warmth ether and light ether. Ether, in the sense the word was used by spiritual scientist, Rudolf Steiner (1861 – 1925), is life energy. It is organizational energy, which flows toward greater concentration. Three decades later when physicists were saying there was no ether, rather than argue, another Austrian scientist named Wilhelm Reich (1897 – 1957) called ether ‘orgone’ energy. This is what radionic instruments work with. A radionic instrument uses patterns of resistance to concentrate energy and create a flow from lower concentration to higher concentration. This pattern energy is radiant rather than static. It is flowing, moving and accumulating where resistance concentrates it; and the nature and variation of the resistance influences the etheric patterns.

The term radionics comes from the realization that everything, without exception, radiates its own characteristic pattern or wave form. Even a hydrogen atom could not exist without radiating according to its specific pattern. A radionic instrument can be anything which channels such patterns. My favorite radionic instrument is a piece of paper called a projection wheel, which has an iris pattern printed on it. This concentrates energy, and is often used with the popular Sri Sanjeevini radionic pattern cards that are printed on paper and are used daily by hundreds of thousands of people in India and throughout the world. Anyone interested can find these cards at:  http://www.saisanjeevini.org/cardshtm/b1_6.htm

Projection Wheel_0Projection Wheel  Projection Wheelsanjeevini cards1

sanjeevini cards2

                                                      Sanjeevini Cards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life and Death

 

When thinking about life I distinguish between lively health and vitality and barely scraping along on the threshold of oblivion. What I’m referring to is the difference between syntropy and entropy. Entropy is a process of dispersal, dissolution and death, while syntropy is a process of increasing order, complexity, organization and life. Life is syntropic insofar as it defies entropy, and the more strongly it does this the more alive it is. Death runs down while life runs up.

I realize that many in our culture believe that only entropy exists—yet, strangely, many of these same people believe in evolution. If there was only entropy an embryo would never become a child or a mature adult. DNA would have long ago lost its ability to heal itself or to find more complex expressions. Clouds would not gather moisture into themselves so strongly that it rains. Forests would never grow, and what we know as fertile soil would never have been built. In the words of Nobel Prize winning physicist, Erwin Schrödinger (1887 — 1961), “Living organisms have the remarkable ability to concentrate a stream of order on themselves.”

It is good to think in terms of life energy streaming, as one of our problems in recognizing life processes is their dynamic qualities rather than their quantitative measurements. Life needs to be measured qualitatively, not by weight or volume like boulders or parked trucks. Would any farmer deny that some soils and some farms are more alive than others even though they may be of similar size or other physical measures? Likewise some foods are far richer in vitality, flavor, balance and wholesomeness than others, even though they may measure pretty much the same in most ways—just look at honey and sugar, raw milk and boiled milk or fresh fruits and processed foods.

 

Patterns and Boundaries

 

As paper radionics illustrates, radionics is about patterns. Patterns define boundaries and boundaries give rise to order. Order provides organization, which is what makes living organisms alive. Think of organization as a process that arises at boundaries and is the basis of life. While energy disperses when boundaries are ruptured or lost, boundaries provide the containment for life energy to build. When a point is reached in the process where an organism dies and its boundaries and syntropic processes fail, it becomes entropic and starts breaking down. Natural scientist and poet, Johann W. von Goethe (1749 – 1832) argued that a butterfly specimen on display in a museum was not a butterfly at all. The being that was the butterfly had fled its containment. What was on display was merely its corpse on its way to dissolution.

The power of boundaries is so quintessential it tends to escape our notice, as we require concepts in order to see occurrences. When IBM mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, using computers, mapped boundaries with the concept Z = Z2 + C he calculated trillions of values for Z—and discovered to his amazement layer after layer of complex forms, giving rise to a branch of mathematics known today as fractals. The Mandelbrot Set—which arises from the equation above—is a classic case of beautiful, organic forms arising from boundaries. Below is a link to download a Mandelbrot Set generator that can be entertaining to play with. http://wareseeker.com/free-mandelbrot-set-generator/

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Overview of the Mandelbrot Set (Z = Z2 + C) prior to magnification.

 

 

Dynamics

 

An important aspect of life is its dynamics. This goes beyond three dimensions as living organisms have length, breadth, height and continuity. I realize waves are often thought of and graphed as two dimensional, but are they really? Imagine that waves in three dimensions are vortices, and these vortices also have duration. Life involves more than three dimensions. Life processes have the nature of waves or oscillations, which change even as they endure. Any being that embodies life carries continuity within itself until the point this continuity flees its containment, at which point this containment ceases to be alive. Life pulses. It reaches and withdraws, engages and lets go.

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As long as its patterns resonate harmoniously, life energy builds. When life energy becomes dissonant the organism breaks up. Try looking at it this way:  If two boats are sailing across a body of water, separate from each other, they will create bow waves which will cross paths. Where the bow waves meet in phase, peak for peak and trough for trough, they double in size. Where they meet out of phase, and peaks meet troughs, they cancel each other. This same phenomenon occurs in homeopathy, which gets its name from treating like with like. The homeopath gives the patient a pattern that matches the condition the patient has— but with the pattern 180 degrees out of phase. When accomplished with precision this simply cancels the condition. Since radionics is a matter of vibratory patterns and their transfer, the same applies for radionics, only the patterns or frequencies can be transferred over any distance without loss because as patterns they are not local, they are universal. Radionics is simply used for pattern transfer.

In homeopathy what changes the phase of the pattern is the homeopathic potency, Some potencies may reinforce a condition while others may cancel it out. Moreover, if a desired pattern is absent, radionics can be used to establish it. A classic book about radionics is Virginia MacIvor and Sandra LaForest’s VIBRATIONS—Healing Through Color, Homeopathy and Radionics—published by Samuel Weiser, Inc. This book is a good read which went through at least ten printings and still can be found both new and used on the internet.

 

 

Prayer and Intent

 

Just as with prayer and intent, with radionics distance and time are irrelevant. Radionics is based on transfer of patterns that are mathematical and ideal, which means they are transcendental and not limited by space and time. These patterns can be transferred over any distance instantaneously with no loss of strength by a mathematical principle quantum physicists call Bell’s Theorem. Quantum physics also shows us that the observer is a determining factor, which means the observer influences what he observes. Likewise prayer and intent are choices we make and their patterns can influence the realities we live in and create as well. Although one sort of radionic instrument may use cards while another uses rates, both can use written intents. In some respects written intents are more powerful than cards or rates since they come directly from the human urge to transform things, particularly ourselves, into something more than we presently are. A farmer’s intent is the determining factor for what his farm becomes, and in this sense what he thinks he grows.

        

 

Intent cards for writing intents to be used as patterns. The card on the right contains an intent taken from Joey Korn’s book, Dowsing: A Path To Enlightenment.

 

The Instrument Is Not the Pattern

 

The mechanics of a radionic instrument affects the character of the patterns it transfers no more than the mechanics of a radio set affects the character of jazz or bluegrass music. As paper radionics shows, radionics simply conveys patterns over any distance without loss. There isn’t any transfer of matter or energy. Only the patterns which organize the matter and energy are transferred.

In terms of life or death the most important thing is whether the patterns are constructive and syntropic, like the biodynamic preparations, or destructive and entropic like alternating current electricity. Just as the drummer in the band sets the rhythm and the beat the others follow, it is the pattern aspect of the biodynamic preparations that draws life into the soil or into the air above it. BD prep patterns work with life processes, which is what makes them bio-dynamic. Lily Kolisko’s experiments, available in Agriculture of Tomorrow, demonstrate that the actual substances applied with biodynamics can be so slight as to be undetectable. Understandably people tend to be mystified by this if they focus on substance instead of dynamics, and in the past this has given biodynamics an unfortunate cult flavor.

 

Biodynamic Stirring

Stirring biodynamic preparations corresponds with potentization in both homeopathy and radionics, so I’d like to point out its considerable merits and let it be a matter of personal choice.

Let’s suppose I’m stirring something like horn silica in a 5 gallon bucket with my arm, or in a 55 gallon barrel with a stirring stick suspended from a swivel. First I stir round and round to create as strong a vortex as I can. When I do this the water separates and organizes itself in laminar layers so that the cooler, denser water moves to the middle and sinks while the warmer layers seek the edges and rise. The appearance is one of a spinning funnel, and the water has become organized and enlivened. Each time I develop a mature vortex, I then reverse and stir in the opposite direction. The water churns and froths with chaos until it forms into a new vortex. The chaos is important because life depends on organization flowing from virtually no organization toward higher and richer organization. Organization has to come from somewhere and it does this out of chaos.

Each time a new vortex is established a new generation of order is created in the water. When I reverse directions, again and again, back and forth for an hour, generation after generation after generation of order is built into the water, and the result is an evolution of order. This charges up the water with life energy and activates remedies beautifully. Then even a small droplet will be so rich in organization that it will continue to draw life force to itself once it is sprayed. This corresponds to a homeopathic potency for imparting patterns. It also carries human intentions and vibrations, and in the process the biodynamic remedies become vehicles for intent. This works a charm.

Nevertheless in today’s world a corresponding radionic patterning using biodynamic pattern cards and a map of a paddock or a farm is quick and easy and can be done morning and evening every day for months on end. Where a stir and spray event has a powerful initial effect which then fades, daily radionic patterning morning and evening gradually builds and builds.

 

The Edge Effect

 

Permaculturists often describe the pattern/boundary phenomenon as the edge effect, and the idea is to strive, insofar as possible, to maximize this edge effect in landscape design. This enriches the pattern density of an area and enlivens it. A palpable increase in the vitality of a landscape is observable as the edge effect intensifies, even though it is good to remember that vitality is measured qualitatively rather than quantitatively.

The human organism is a huge collection of boundaries and patterns from the outer boundaries of our skin, hair and nails to the double helix spirals of our DNA and the resonant wave patterns of our sub-atomic particles.

Since it took me a couple decades and several readings of Steiner’s Agriculture Course to understand how life processes arise out of chaos, I sympathize with anyone who struggles to gain familiarity with this concept. In our culture today we’ve been taught that life is some kind of absolute that cannot be evaluated—something is either alive or it isn’t. From this point of view a person on life support is fully alive—until he isn’t. Of course, we can generally tell when the life essence has fully departed, as the corpse left behind decomposes. But how can we ignore the difference between a tree in its prime and growing well and a tree that is hollow, rotten and riddled with termites? How can we pretend that each embody the same degree of aliveness?

 

Comparisons

 

It might give rise to ill-feeling to compare the vitality of our farm with our neighbors’. In the first place we’d do better comparing our paddocks to the roadside, since the roadside is more likely to be doing whatever the natural potential of the land is if left unfarmed. The paddocks we farmed before we gained insight into building carbon and life into the land may have been flogged almost to oblivion and just barely scraping by. Showing how our own paddocks are less flogged than someone else’s is hardly an answer to raising the game of the neighborhood to nature’s level and beyond. And we should be thinking about achieving the beyond part. All too often our fence rows and roadsides are drawing life from the cosmos and supporting our paddocks. If we only farmed restoratively our paddocks would be drawing carbon and nitrogen out of the air and life out of the cosmos. Then our farms would be feeding the roadsides and enlivening the entire earth.   

I believe when we compare stirring and spraying BD preps with radionic patterning we miss the point. The two are different approaches though both build life into the environment. It must be said that applying dynamic patterns via radionics is a Godsend. I would never have gained a hundredth as much experience with biodynamics if radionics wasn’t so quick and easy. To the consternation of critics, radionics encourages frequent and precise use of the biodynamic remedies, and growers using radionics learn a lot.

Of course stirring and spraying BD preps provides people—myself included—with am empathic and meditative modality that invites people to pour their souls into what they spray on their paddocks, and nature really responds to feelings. When we stir and spray with deep, heartfelt gratitude, nature responds wonderfully—so much so that I recommend feeling deep gratitude with radionics as well. But comparing stirring and radionics is like comparing peanuts with watermelons. Why would I only have one when I could have both? It makes sense to stir and spray my seed potatoes or around my field broadcaster.

                                  Biodynamic Pattern Cards from Australian Herbs

 

Pattern Cards

 

            The type of radionic card shown above was originally introduced by Malcolm Rae (1913 –1979), an early radionic pioneer. The design is more than symbolic as the rings provide boundaries, which give rise to organization and life. The sector marks within the circles provide resistance, which concentrates life energy according to each pattern. Since life energy flows to wherever it is most concentrated, it flows through the marks on the cards. These Malcolm Rae type cards are excellent for use with a paper projection wheel.

            Of course, more sophisticated radionic instruments offer advantages over paper radionics. I like the card type instrument, which was pioneered by Malcolm Rae. Below is a picture of the Japanese made Iyachiko instrument which features energy accumulators with both card readers and plates. The plates come in handy for materials if there are no corresponding cards, and the 0 to 999 potentiometers provide a complete range of homeopathic potencies. The sacred geometric proportions feel natural and organic, and the instrument has storage inside its lid for cards and other bits as well as protecting against dust or damage. A lead from the instrument can be used to transfer patterns into spray tanks, irrigation systems and liquid products such as compost teas, activated EM brews or foliar and fertigation products, while the well is useful for maps or other targets. Most importantly—since the essence of control is to use the exact amount of force necessary and no more or no less—the Iyachiko includes a timer and can automatically shut itself off instead of requiring the operator to come in from some remote paddock to shut the instrument off when pattern transfer is accomplished.

                  Japanese made Iyachiko

 

Polarity and Balance

 

            Finally, polarity and balance are hugely important, and radionics has the potential of being very helpful with this. Steiner envisioned that if the biodynamic preparations were in widespread use all over the world they would bring a new impulse to our planet by providing human beings with the balanced life forces needed to rein in our personal ambitions, illusions and petty jealousies and ground ourselves. And yet, biodynamic growers themselves sometimes have little to show in terms of spiritual progress. Why is this?

Steiner pointed out that nature’s polarities are lime and silica, while clay mediates between these poles. He described lime as a grasping fellow while silica is an open, generous aristocrat. Neither extreme is integrated without clay, which he characterized as allying itself with silica.

Unfortunately the majority of BD growers in the world—especially the conventional ones—use the lime polarity horn manure far more than they use its opposite, horn silica. Moreover, many do nothing whatsoever in regard to clay. US preparation maker, Hugh Courtney, has been emphasizing the need to balance the application of horn manure (500) with horn silica (501) for nigh on 30 years, but he admits the message doesn’t seem to get across as preparation sales of 500 far outstrip the 501. “When they don’t have 501, how can they put it on?” He worries.

It is easy to see how this situation developed, and once developed how it perpetuated itself. It takes a lot of doing to stir and spray 3 or 4 gallons per acre of horn manure with large fields to cover. Even a market garden operation would have to spend three or four hours extra of an evening to stir and spray horn manure. To get up early the next day and spend another three or four hours stirring and spraying horn silica, to maintain optimum balance, is a big task.

As for clay, adding horn clay or esophageal clay to the horn manure and horn silica is not much extra, but the clay preparations were developed after Steiner’s death, which means they are not used in the more traditional operations. This ensures that most biodynamic farms grow food that does not fully accomplish what Steiner intended. It may taste better than the ordinary and be more nutritious simply because so much horn manure was used, but lest we forget, lime is a grasping fellow. We have an exceedingly greedy culture already, in part because silica is widely ignored while lime is used extensively and clay not at all. I was as guilty of this as anyone in my early days of farming, and radionics was very helpful in correcting these imbalances on my farm.

 

      

 

Hugh Lovel and Adam Collins setting up an array of radionic instruments to improve atmospheric organization and the chances of rain at Albury, NSW after the fires in February 2003. One of the instruments shown was a variable capacitance Kelly instrument made in Lakemont, Georgia.

 

 

Why Use Radionics and Field Broadcasting?

 

They not only work with life energy, they are cheap, easy, accurate, effective, swift and sure. Using a map as the link, I can pattern my whole property with whichever biodynamic preparation or preparations I need at any given time, and I can apply whatever preparation patterns I currently need to enhance my foliar or fertigation applications. If I wake up in the middle of the night to a sudden transition from dry to wet conditions I can quickly compensate for the shift within minutes without leaving the house by radionically applying the Oak Bark preparation (BD 505) in tandem or in concert with the Horsetail preparation (BD 508). This sops up the flush of nitrates released by the rain while strengthening silica to avoid weak, watery growth. Radionics makes a hard life easier and I don’t have to set foot in soggy paddocks. I can also moderate weeds or insect invasions, and I use it in plant breeding as well. Dealing with animal ailments is simple, and I can use any homeopathic remedy in the repertory. Even better, when I can’t afford to apply physical amendments with something expensive like molybdenum or kelp I can reduce the physical application to one part in a thousandth (3x) and use radionics to get a brilliant response.

 

 

Using an Australian made Prue Instrument to impart Horn Manure and Cow Pat Pit to a farm property via a map. Although the instrument itself is no more alive than a bucket or spray rig, the dynamic pattern it transmits is the essence of life itself.

 

Actually I only know a fraction of the things I can do with radionics, but I have to admit because it is so easy to use I find myself applying my biodynamic preparations in far more instances than were ever possible stirring the raw preps. In the process I have learned to appreciate what each preparation does and when best to apply it.

 

 

 

 

A Dairyman’s Compost

 

A Dairyman’s Recipe for Making Stable, Quality Compost

 

By Hugh Lovel

Hugh Dairy Tasmania_0 Hugh on dairy farm consultation Tasmania

The initial mix of materials should be about 30 to 1 carbon to nitrogen, so manures and fresh, green materials will need a fair bit of other material that is low in nitrogen. Mixing in wood waste is a common practice. This can mean a 200 to 1 ratio for something like sawdust all the way to a 60 to one ratio for shredded leaves, twigs and small branches. Straw, which may be especially valuable for its silica content, may run something like 20 or 25 to one carbon to nitrogen.

Soil, which is an absolutely essential part of the mix for the formation of stable clay/humus complexes, needs to be at least 10% of the initial mix. Fine, siliceous rock powder (quarry fines, depending on fineness) can be substituted for up to half of the soil if the rest of the soil contains roughly 40 % clay or more. When clay is not available and has to be imported it may be more efficient to use a super-clay like Zeolite and cut the rate in half. Where Bentonite would have a TEC of 30 or so and Montmorillionites could be 60 or 80, Zeolite would have a TEC of 200 as a result of its honeycomb structure and extremely high surface area.  

To ensure healthy, balanced and thorough humification processes a complete set of organic process patterns should be added, either homoeopathically via a water borne application of Biodynamic Soil Activator#* or in a higher homeopathic dilution such as patterns incorporated into other products such as AEM [activated effective microbes], or as a radionic application (if such is available). This is important, and any doubt about the value of this step can be investigated by comparing compost made using these patterns with compost made without them. In many respects the processes that occur are more important than the materials.

Also, pH should be adjusted insofar as possible to 7.0 to minimize nitrification (too much acidity) or volatilization as ammonia (too much alkalinity). Small amounts of builder’s lime (hydrated lime) at no more than 2.5 kg/ton of the mix, can be especially good if the mix is acidic at the start. If phosphorous deficiency is an issue, up to 50 kg/ton of soft rock phosphate can be added in the place of some of the soil. If sulphur deficiency is an issue gypsum can be used at a similar rate. If the compost is too alkaline, elemental sulphur can be added up to 2 kg/ton of initial mix. Because elemental sulphur takes a while to oxidize and lower the pH, be careful to add only enough for a final pH of 7.0. Also a highly beneficial additive is sea minerals at a rate of about a litre per ton of raw mix.

The compost yard should be well drained with a soil surface rather than concrete, and windrows or piles should be covered when not being turned. Where there is run-off there should be a dense, vegetative border, such as a vigorous grass, vetiver, sugar cane, cat-tail reeds, or other verge grasses to filter out nutrients and tie them up in growth which can be harvested and utilized as compost material for the future. This will prevent losses which might otherwise create environmental problems.

Compost turners are rapid and efficient for making quick compost (humification in 16 weeks), but they also are good for the initial mixing and the high heat, rapid digestion phase of static piles. Once this phase is finished and at 50% moisture the windrows or piles can be covered and left to mature with no further turning.

Other machinery such as excavators, loaders, PTO driven manure spreaders, gravel screening equipment, and probably other devices—even a crew with pitchforks—anything that can do a good job of mixing and getting moisture levels right would be suitable on a small scale where compost turners aren’t cost efficient.

Some believe that only fungal organisms build the complex carbon structures found in humus, and thus they say humification can only occur in static piles where the fungal mycelia are undisturbed for long periods. However, it has been found that Actinomycetes, which thrive in turned piles and create the desirable clean smell of healthy compost, are also humus builders even though they may not build much large molecule humus. What we need to keep in mind is that humic acids range from around 2,000 molecular weight units to more than 10,000 with the smaller molecules being more readily available for plant growth.

Turned windrows should be re-turned whenever moisture levels go below 50%, carbon dioxide levels go above 15% or temperature goes above 65C. If water is an issue, this is a good use for effluent water. Initially this means turning just about every day for the first two weeks, but as the moisture, aeration and temperature stabilize the windrow or pile slows down. This is where humification and the tying up of loose nutrients in and on large carbon molecules occurs. Screening out of coarse materials may be needed at the final stages, but when the compost is fine like crumbly soil, the original forms are virtually all gone and it smells fresh and feels greasy when rubbed between finger and thumb, it is ready to use.

Ideally, before spreading, any trace elements shown to be deficient by soil tests should be blended in before spreading.

microNutrients soil micronutrients

Except when being turned, all piles should be covered. Heavy black plastic, as is used for covering a silage pit, is quite good, though not especially durable. Canvas or other more durable materials that shed rain as well as retaining moisture may be used, though plastic is good for static piles that may remain undisturbed for up to a year before spreading.

Compost testing should show nitrate or ammonium levels below 1000 ppm maximum for well-humified compost. If industrial animal confinement manures are used the final compost should be tested for heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, mercury, etc.) to see these do not build up on pastures with long-term use. For example, meat chicken feed is usually laced with a trace of arsenic for faster growth of the birds, but repeated applications of compost made with this input could result in arsenic toxicity. If chemicals or organic synthesis are suspected, a 0.1% solution of hydrogen peroxide [derived from diluting concentrated industrial hydrogen peroxide] may be used to stimulate microbial breakdown of toxins in the composting process.

 

*****

These guidelines apply to every dairy farm whether or not they are presently making compost. Sooner or later ALL dairy farms should be recycling their waste stream. If they don’t there will come a time when this is mandated by law for environmental reasons. I would suggest it is better to get into composting ahead of the heavy hand of the law–besides it can mean big savings in fertiliser.

 

Homemade Fertilizers

Home Made Fertiliser: Part Two

Author: 

Hugh Lovel

Category: 

BiodynamicsFarmingSoil

Humified Compost and Compost Extract

Misunderstandings about compost abound. Many imagine that composts are simply broken down organic matter that is ready to be taken up by plants. All too often composters seek to simply digest a mix of wood wastes, plant matter, manures and protein rich processing wastes with little or no concern for producing an insoluble but available end product. They may test the end product for soluble N, P and K using the assumption that higher soluble analysis is better. Unfortunately such composts feed rampant bacterial flushes.

 

 

“Prediction is difficult, especially the future.” —Niels Bohr

 

Part One of this two part series examines getting nitrogen in our food so that it not only sustains but elevates our consciousness. Raising consciousness depends on photosynthesis to build high levels of soil carbon that support biological nitrogen fixation and release. On the other hand, industrially produced nitrogen, which is far more wasteful of resources, produces a reckless, selfish consciousness that is alienated from nature.

Well integrated, high energy biological systems draw in nitrogen in forms that support clarity, refinement and integrity of consciousness. This includes supporting the role nitrogen plays in telepathy, clairvoyance and telekinesis. Establishing such systems requires fine tuning fertility, soil balance and cropping to build sufficient carbon into the soil for nitrogen fixation. When the food we grow develops an inspiring savouriness we know we are on the right track.

Artificial fertilisers, synthetic nitrogen and monocropping do the opposite, depleting soil carbon to feed a crude, selfish consciousness that fails to consider the greater good. Food grown with this sort of nitrogen input leaves a lot to be desired in terms of taste and smell. What can we do to improve the food we eat so it contains the forces necessary to bridge the gap from what we think to what we actually do? Using fertilisers we can make at home along with insights into growing quality food, our noses and tongues will tell us when we get nitrogen right.

We cannot rely on the food for sale in supermarkets, hotels and restaurants to get nitrogen in food in forms that facilitate the psychic clarity and integrity of consciousness. For the most part we have to grow our own or find growers who know what they are doing. However, in an uncertain world where food distribution is increasingly subject to interruption, growing our own food may be the cheapest and best nutritional insurance anyway.

In terms of getting nitrogen right we can start with making a liquid fertility booster derived from earthworm compost that feeds the microbial dynamics surrounding plant roots to deliver complex living nitrogen to food plants. From there, we need to understand how plants grow so they slap us in the face with their quality. Not all soils or crops need the same things, and not all home made fertilisers are appropriate across the board.

What Is The Point?

Where materialism assumes that our existence just happened, those who believe in a higher reality seek inspiration, enlightenment and greater realization of who and what we are and will be. Surely there is a path to a more highly informed, integrated and energised existence, but to walk our talk in the world of substance requires high level physical energy. To a significant degree, our force of personality or strength of character must come from the food we eat and the air we breathe, complimented by the guidance of our souls. In fact, from the viewpoint of materialism such force can only come from the things—including warmth and light—that we take in as nourishment to our body.

Let us be mindful of this as we explore the hypothesis that the amino acid chemistry of nitrogen provides the basis for genetic memory, awareness, sensation, desire and intelligence. Building a bridge between thought and action depends on quality nitrogen chemistry, as nitrogen is so versatile in accepting electrons that it reacts with the full spectrum of minerals in our body from silicon to calcium.

Lime and Silica

On the one hand the lime polarity is associated with muscles, bones, cell nuclei and DNA—where DNA’s four amino acids are all ring compounds. On the other hand, the silica polarity is associated with skin, hair, nails, transport vessels and cell walls where the three sulphur containing amino acids are found. Studies using photo multiplier techniques show the amino acids at this silica polarity emit and absorbs photons at the rate of billions per second in a process called biophotonic luminescence. It is thought that this siliceous luminescence is what unites our cells and coordinates their activity as a single organism despite the wide variation in genetic expressions.[1]

Looking at bodily organisation as a dynamic interplay of photons, it seems we are luminous beings holding together our various silica, nitrogen and lime activities via biophotonic luminescence. From another viewpoint we are carbon based life forms filled largely with water which contains a smattering of silica, nitrogen, lime and trace elements.  

The Biochemical Sequence

Studying plants and their life processes reveals there is a hierarchy of what has to function before the next thing and the next thing can work properly. First of all, sulphur is the catalyst for life processes to connect with the chemistry of carbon.[2] Thus it is no surprise that our sulphur containing amino acids are found in our cell walls, connective tissues and transport vessels where amorphous fluid silica works via biophotonic luminescence with nitrogen, carbon and water.

          Once life inspires carbon plants reveal a biochemical sequence which starts with boron. Boron doesn’t rest easy in silica rich cell walls and transport vessels, as all it takes is a trace of boron to create enough sap pressure to transport nutrients—starting with calcium and amino acids—to the sites where cell division and growth occur.

Then, since growth requires energy, magnesium comes into play in the formation of chlorophyll, whereupon phosphorus transfers the energy captured by photosynthesis into making sugars. Sugars are then transported via silicon to wherever potassium, the electrolyte messenger, carries them.[3] By understanding this biochemical sequence we can address deficiencies and imbalances in both soil and plants so we grow refined, complex, value packed food.

Potassium Silicate Watering Solution

Though the biochemical sequence makes their importance clear, boron and silicon have long ranked as the least understood essentials in modern agriculture. In our tertiary schools silicon is not even considered essential, and it has been ignored for more than a century. Boron, though it is known to be essential, is also poorly understood. Yet everything that follows this pair depends on their activity, which makes the following watering solution a key input. Use it with vermiwash as a mainstay in any fertility program whether it be for home gardens, market gardens, orchards, vineyards, flowers or herb production. It would even make lawns more resilient to weather, insects and diseases while smelling cleaner and having more of a shine.

An Australian recipe uses the dried foliage of Australian she oaks[4] or bull oaks[5], while In North America and Europe horsetail[6] is often preferred. In either case one burns a large quantity of high silica plant matter to ash and collects the ash. The ash of any silica rich plant material will do, as for example, rice hulls (not the bran) are brilliant and even bamboo ash will do. Mill ash from burning sugar cane bagasse is available at some sugar mills in vast bulk at industrial prices and is rich in both potassium and silica.

On a home garden scale, simmer 2 or 3 kilos of high silica ash along with half a cup of solubor or boric acid in 15 litres of water while stirring for at least 30 minutes, If high quality ash is hard to obtain it may help to add a kilo of diatomaceous earth. Too much boron can cause burning in plants, so take care with measuring this.

After simmering while stirring for 30 minutes, allow the mixture to cool enough to safely strain and filter the lye-like solution. While still warm, add a heaping tablespoon of biodynamic horn clay and potentize homoeopathically[7] for at least three minutes.

In general potassium silicate/boron solution should be watered in. If it is used as a foliar, keep in mind that boron provides sap pressure, which works from the soil up to get silica and all the other nutrients that follow into the plant. If boron is applied as a foliar it still must get to the roots before it becomes fully effective.

The Importance of Silicon

Ordinarily boron and silica enter plants via their symbiosis with actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi. These are silica polarity organisms that are delicate and easily damaged by soluble NPK fertilisers. However, vermiwash and potassium silicate watering solution feed and strengthen these microbial symbiotes. This greatly increases nutrient uptake, especially for boron, silicon, calcium, amino acid nitrogen and zinc.[8]

Since the commonest deficiency seen in both agriculture and human nutrition is silica, this liquid fertiliser is import to ensure strong cell walls and transport vessels so plants are efficient and resilient. Since silica has a lot to do with photosynthesis, this also assures efficient photosynthesis and protoplasmic density while making plants tastier. Taste and the digestive/nutritive processes related to it play a central role in the nitrogen cycle. Using this fertiliser on garden vegetation, which over time gets recycled as compost and vermiwash, can be a big help with engaging nitrogen.

Application Rates

Combine potassium silicate with vermiwash at a rate of 250 mls of potassium silicate per litre of vermiwash. Dilute this concentrate at least half and half with water (more dilute is better) and apply to the soil in garden, orchard or vineyard as needed.

Like everything, this formula can be overdone, so it may be best to limit applications to a litre of dilute solution per fortnight per plant with pumpkins, squash, sweet corn, cukes, zukes, capsicums, okra or anything else with a tendency to get too lush, weak, bug bitten or diseased.[9] For tomatoes if they are especially lush the proportion of potassium silicate to vermiwash can be doubled or quadrupled. If organic certification is a concern keep in mind that these ingredients are all natural materials except solubor or boric acid, which are permissible in most organic certification programs due to widespread boron deficiencies in most cultivated soils.

At the end of the day there will be considerable residual ash which should be recycled as a resource. It can be blended back into compost/vermiwash production or incorporated into solid fertiliser blends such as humified composts and scattered on grain, pasture or hay paddocks.

Sulphur

Some fertilisers apply in nearly all cases, while others should be used only as needed. In working out prescriptions based on soil tests, sulphur comes first as the catalyst for life chemistry. Depending on time and place, sulphur falls freely with the rain, but that does not necessarily mean that soils and plants won’t be hungry for it. Of course, a small amount of sulphur is present in humates and vermiwash, and applying these tends to assure sulphur sticks around and is biologically available. But if soil tests indicate a sulphur deficiency it would be a good idea to apply it.

On the other hand sulphur may be present, at least in total tests, and all that needs boosting is the sulphur process. As this works on the leaf margins of plants, it works more strongly in plants with deeply incised and highly ramified leaves. The herbal biodynamic preparations, particularly the yarrow, emphasize this sulphur process, and homoeopathic application imparts process rather than substance.

Depending on the location and condition of the soil, sulphur applications[10] deserve careful consideration. Herbs with finely cut leaves—such as some lupines, thistles and umbellifers—concentrate and organize sulphur, and these plants can be harvested and composted for a sulphur rich vermiwash which can help to improve the sulphur process where needed. Sulphur, along with potassium, silicon and zinc, prepares the way for life to launch its interplay with substance at the edges and boundaries where organization arises. The more extensive and interactive these boundaries are the more abundantly they give rise to life—which is where syntropy[11] and entropy meet.

Bone Meal or Bone Ash

After sulphur the next thing to look at is phosphorous. As mentioned earlier, phosphorous is important for energy storage and release. Phosphorous is the energy transfer element for both storing energy as sugars in the foliage and releasing energy from sugary root exudates in the soil. Since one of the most energy intensive processes that occur in the soil is nitrogen fixation, it is small wonder that many nitrogen fixing microbes also solubilize phosphorous in order to ensure they have enough available energy to fix nitrogen.

In terms of nitrogen and consciousness, the human brain is rich in phosphorous which is engaged in producing silicic acid in extremely fine dilution so it can flow down nerve fibres to tense muscles. Calcium and magnesium, along with the electrolytes potassium and sodium, are essential for the muscles to relax again, and for this to occur phosphorous once again releases energy in the muscles. Muscle spasms where muscles seize and cannot relax usually is a phosphorous problem, and the same biodynamic preparation herb used for switching on the phosphorous process in the soil—valerian—is noted for its relief of cramps and muscle spasms in herbal medicine.

The occurrence of a red wine colour in petioles and leaf tips is an indication of insufficient available phosphorous, but seeing this symptom does not tell us how much P is actually in the soil or what should happen to make it available if it is present—hence the need for total tests (aka an aqua regia analysis) in soil diagnosis. Particularly on pastures soluble phosphorous may be only a few ppm (parts per million), while an aqua regia (total) digest may reveal a thousand ppm or more. Since it takes life to release insoluble phosphates, plants may need a bit of soluble phosphorous to start releasing the energy bound up in carbon compounds in order to ramp up soil microbial activity that can release more reserve phosphorous.

Of the major nutrients, phosphorous best shows the need for both soluble and total (aqua regia) tests to see what is actually there. If phosphorous is plentiful in soil reserves we only need to prime the pump with a small amount of soluble phosphorous along with a microbial food source—such as vermiwash and/or molasses—in order to start unlocking the reserves. Only when phosphorous is missing should it be added in bulk; and once phosphorous is working biological nitrogen fixation and potassium release tends to function smoothly.

Here is where either bone meal or home made bone ash extract can provide sufficient soluble phosphorous to prime the pump so that phosphorous reserves are released. Bone meal may be available from large animal processors who steam clean bones and grind them up to sell as a dry product. Otherwise fresh bones from local slaughter or road kill can be cleaned up via composting and then burned and crushed as bone ash.

Waste bones, including heads, may be available in quantities from abattoirs or processing facilities, and it may be more economical on a large scale to grind them up with a stump grinder or wood chipper and incorporate them into compost windrows instead of burning them. Sometimes knackers process carcasses by cooking the meat off them and then processing the bones. In whatever the fashion bones are obtained it is a good idea to clean the flesh off them prior to burning to avoid waste and objectionable odours.

Verily, bones should never be wasted, and phosphorous fertiliser production as part of a self-sufficient operation may require burning them. Gardeners may find they can process left over bones through their wood heaters. In general, burned bones may come from almost any source, and some will burn more easily than others. Burnt bones can be crushed into powder and extracted with vinegar or other organic acids using moderate heat to yield soluble phosphates for liquid applications, and if a little elemental sulphur is needed, the vinegar stage is a good place to add it as a small percentage of the total dry matter.

This crude phosphoric extract is useful diluted and combined with the vermiwash and a homeopathic dose of biodynamic valerian preparation to jump start the phosphorous process. Residual bone ash can be added to composts up to about 8 or 10% of the total raw materials, or it can be dried and scattered thinly under fruit trees and flowering shrubs.

Liquid Digest Fish

This deserves mention if fish frames, scales and related wastes are available. Grinding up fish wastes and letting them ferment in water can yield an end product with an excellent balance between lime, silica and phosphorous with enough nitrogen to jump start nitrogen fixation in the soil. However, this tends to be quite smelly, especially in the early stages of digestion.

Humified Compost and Compost Extract

Misunderstandings about compost abound. Many imagine that composts are simply broken down organic matter that is ready to be taken up by plants. All too often composters seek to simply digest a mix of wood wastes, plant matter, manures and protein rich processing wastes with little or no concern for producing an insoluble but available end product. They may test the end product for soluble N, P and K using the assumption that higher soluble analysis is better. Unfortunately such composts feed rampant bacterial flushes that grow better weeds than crops and pollute streams and groundwater with run off and leaching. If soluble N is high these products often reek of ammonia and volatile amines.

In nature composting tends to be is far wiser where materials are more scattered and have good contact with soil. Beneficial soil microbes gather up loose nutrients and tuck them away in high molecular weight clay/humus complexes like bees gather nectar and store honey. Actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi in particular store loose nutrients this way so they only become available to newly planted crops when root emergence and root exudation occur.

Often what we think of as weeds are nature’s back-up team to sop up loose nutrients when humification has not occurred. We can observe this loose nutrient condition in the first three or four weeks after ploughing down a green manure crop. Initially the bacterial breakdown of vegetation runs rampant, nutrients are released and if we plant before the humus builders take over we get a field of weeds that overwhelms whatever we planted.

In composting large piles or windrows, the breakdown phase runs rampant at first, producing plenty of simple sugars, amino acids and soluble salts. However, this sets the stage for organisms which clean up this heady brew, toning down the nutrients to non-toxic levels and quelling bacterial activity while storing large organic clay/humus complexes that tie up amino acids and minerals so they are insoluble but available. It is these large, stable compounds—available to crop beneficial microbes—which provide the most beneficial forms of boron, silicon, calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, etc.

Most soils have remnants of these beneficial microbes that can be awakened using a proper food source—humified compost. It doesn’t take much to nurse theses remnants back, and awakening them primes the pump for further humus formation as root exudates feed the soil. At some point re-enlivened soils can become self-fertile and self sustaining with diversified cropping and abundant carbon capture.

In the near term liquid extracts of humified composts can be of especial benefit to boost this recovery when used as liquid injects on top of seed at planting. Often in broadacre and pasture renovation, liquid inject formulas based on compost extracts can be the most economical way of feeding this all-important microbial population where it does the most good—on new roots as they emerge. In garden and small farm applications this is essentially what is accomplished with vermiwash, and such liquid formulas can be sprayed on stunted areas in pasture and broadacre paddocks.

Large Scale Humic and Fulvic Extracts

Sometimes when we are dealing with grazing or broadacre acreages where the scale is too large to address needs with on-farm composting it can be useful in the short term to buy in humates in the form of activated brown coal solids or humic and fulvic extracts. In general these inputs are excellent in rebuilding soil microbial life so the soils become self-sustaining. While these are a compromise with self-sufficiency they can be especially helpful when they incorporate necessary nutrient deficiencies, which are best determined by testing both soluble and total soil nutrients. In this fashion progress toward self-sufficiency can be made. After all, inputs that get us off the treadmill of future inputs are what we are looking for, no matter the scale of our operations.

Sea Minerals and ORMEs

         Unless one lives on the ocean sea minerals may have to be bought in rather than being produced locally. Sea minerals are a by-product of salt evaporation due to the fact supermarket buyers overwhelmingly prefer free running salt. As a result, most evaporators market the first precipitate, sodium chloride,[12] which leaves a pot liquor that is dense and almost oily. Only fully evaporated (aka macrobiotic) sea salt contains the fully array of minerals in sea water. Sea minerals are a waste product that usually can be obtained in bulk at reasonable prices. At rates from 1 to 5 litres per hectare per year, this bounty of the sea should never be wasted as it contains a well-balanced blend of almost every element in the periodic table. Moreover, it will contain ORMEs.

          Orbitally Rearranged Mono-atomic Elements (ORMEs) occur when large numbers of atoms of various elements align their electron orbitals so they resonate as though they were single atoms, thus becoming superconductors and virtually weightless as well as virtually undetectable. Atomic physics has only begun to shed light on this ancient mystery in the last couple of decades even though allusions to these substances and their seemingly magical properties can be traced back into ancient Egypt and Suma.

It is now evident that many of the puzzling features of plants and animals clearly mimic the quantum behaviours of single atoms even though they are thought to involve huge collections of molecules. For example, how can photons impact a concentration of a billion or more chlorophyll molecules in a leaf and have the photons simultaneously go down all the pathways available to transfer their energy into making sugar, thus achieving virtual 100% efficiency? How can a solution of zinc sulphate be detected at the tip of a very tall tree almost the instant it is poured on the soil at the tree’s roots? Living organisms exhibit on a gross level behaviours once thought to exist only at the level of atomic particles. If large collections of atoms can re-arrange their electrons so they all resonate in perfect alignment—as the evidence suggests—then theoretically they can behave as single atoms no matter how many atoms they once may have been made of individually. We see this sort of behaviour with helium when we chill it close enough to absolute zero that all the electrons simultaneously share the same base state, but recent research indicates a similar phenomenon can occur with elements as complex as gold, platinum and iridium. Furthermore there are indications that sea water is ORME rich and ORME extracts can be obtained by raising the pH of sea water to 10.78 using sodium or potassium hydroxide.[13] This results in a dense, white precipitate which can be separated from the original solution and used in agriculture with results that may seem startling, especially with leguminous crops such as lucerne and soybeans. Small quantities of ORMEs, on the order of 1 gm/hectare, are recommended per application with the understanding that this is something experimental.

Calcium Nitrate and Molasses

Lastly, here is another formula that requires buying ingredients in the short term to achieve long term goals. This is useful when planting in areas where tall, woody annual weeds, such as thistles, amaranths, ambrosias, etc. sprout prolifically. These weeds indicate soil imbalances of too much soluble potassium as compared to the available calcium. Shifting the equilibrium to favour calcium encourages clovers and other calcium/protein rich weeds such as daisies or nettles to take the place of the thistles and amaranths. This can be done when sowing—or even after weed emergence if conditions are dry—by boom spraying 2-5 kg of calcium nitrate along with 10-15 litres of molasses dissolved in 400 litres or more of water per hectare. A hectare is 10,000 square metres, so calculate your area and adjust the recipe accordingly. This amounts to a homeopathic dosage  of approximately 3x potency, as this is barely enough calcium nitrate to flick a stick at. Yet the dynamic tends to shift beautifully and shut down the weeds.

Many organic certification programs do not allow the use of calcium nitrate, and at the conventional rates of 75 to 250 kg/ha this extremely salty fertiliser is far too harsh. However, most organic programs allow a wide variety of trace minerals to be added at considerable dilution in their soluble salt forms as long as soil and leaf tests indicate they are deficient, and it could be argued that this very dilute dosage falls safely within that range. Such light dilution will not harm the soil biology and merely adjusts the calcium/potassium balance so favourable species are encouraged and undesirable ones are discouraged.

Where We Stand

Lest we forget, modern society is fundamentally agrarian. Without agriculture modern society would not exist. Those things that are amiss in our culture, such as crime, disease and environmental destruction, have their roots in agricultural practices that stem from an oppositional rather than a cooperative view of nature—as though we had to wrest a living from the soil in some sort of a war with weather, pests, weeds, diseases and faltering fertility. The kill mentality to solving problems illustrated by the Biblical story of Cain and Abel is just as seductive and unwise today as ever.

          The wisdom of the ages teaches understanding as the path to forgiveness and forgiveness as the path to perfection. The emergence of Chaos Theory and the discovery of the Butterfly Effect in the latter part of the 20th century illustrates that even the tiniest of changes in a dynamic system, such as human society, can have profound consequences downstream. This realization displaced the Kant/La Place cosmology, which assumed that only the evidence of our senses was real and the course of the universe was pre-determined.

As humans we are aware of our own awareness as well as our options, and thus we take a hand in becoming more than what we currently are. In other words, we have free choice and our choices matter—something to keep in mind on the path to being, doing, having and knowing higher consciousness.

 


[1] Epigenetics is the study of the influences of our surroundings on the expression of our genetic code.

[2] Chemists call carbon chemistry ‘organic’ chemistry even when it involves poisons such as dioxins or DDT. Nevertheless, carbon is basic to life chemistry, as we are all carbon based life forms even though not all carbon compounds are alive. For example, heat and pressure are catalysts that cause reactions between carbon, hydrogen and oxygen; but the CH4 and CO2 produced are nevertheless lifeless. It isn’t until sulphur interacts with carbon that life is imparted to carbon chemistry.

[3] This biochemical sequence of sulphur, boron, silicon, calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorous, carbon and potassium is the basis of plant growth.

[4] (Casuarina equisetifolia, C. cunninghamiana, etc.).

[5] (Allocasuarina luehmannii, A. torulosa, etc.).

[6] (Equisetum arvense, E. hyemale etc.).

[7] This refers to rhythmic shaking (aka succussion) or stirring (potentization) where the creation of a series of alternating left and right vortexes are involved.

[8] Caution: When using this formula in foliar applications, it may be appropriate to dilute the boron tenfold. Used sparingly in foliar and fertigation programs this combination considerably strengthens the silica containment and transport features of everything in the market garden, orchard, vineyard or nursery.

[9] Be careful about overusing this formula. Even on high organic matter soils, which greatly buffer the effects, eight or ten times in a growing season should be ample. A rule of thumb in agriculture is that if a little bit is good a little bit less more frequently is better.

[10] The most common sulphur containing fertiliser is calcium sulphate, otherwise known as gypsum.

[11] Syntropy is where available energy accumulates instead of dispersing as occurs with entropy. For more than a century it was fashionable to believe that all heat driven systems invariably ran down. Entropy was enshrined in what was called ‘The Second Law of Thermodynamics’. However, living organisms quite obviously both accumulate and disperse available energy. Thus they concentrate a stream of order on themselves and grow, even while running down. Only at death does entropy rule.

[12] At 90% evaporation most of the sodium chloride precipitates and the remaining pot liquor contains all the other elements in solution in the sea. Many of the functions of these elements are unknown, even though such elements as fluorine and caesium, which are abundant in sea water, are promising subjects for research. It is this pot liquor that is referred to as sea minerals. Although beneficial results are often easily seen, the mechanisms at work are too complex to be clear.

[13] A large amount of information on this subject can be found by googling ORMEs and Barry Carter.

 

H

Growing and Breeding Superior Corn and Maize

Corn Breeding: Another Perspective

Hugh Lovel

Originally published in BIODYNAMICS 233, January/February, 2001

I found Walter Goldstein’s article on corn breeding (in BIODYNAMICS 232) at Michael Fields Institute to be a model of vision, dedication and precision. This is a field of endeavor that for much too long has gone in the direction of removing seed saving from farmers’ hands, making them dependent on things entirely beyond their control. I have the utmost respect for Walter, and this is yet another instance that justifies my estimation. 
    I say this because I don’t want folks to think I’m critical in presenting a different perspective on corn breeding. Walter is breeding corns for large farmers, while what I’m breeding is for small CSA market gardeners. Not only are our aims quite different, but so are the resources at our disposal. Of course, as a market gardener with cows, chickens and sometimes pigs, I am working with corn not only for market but for feed. My sweet corn, popcorn and cornmeal corns primarily are for humans, but the seconds as well as some of the stalks go to the animals, providing a significant portion of their diet. Moreover, the stalks are a major food source for earthworms, and I grow corn as a soil improvement crop. More on that later. 
    Because my location is in the mountains of North Georgia, I enjoy a longer, warmer season than at Michael Fields. But I also have the shortest season in Georgia, spanning a mere five frost-free months. The coldest temperature I’ve recorded here is -22 degrees F, which means I have a rather intermediate situation. Given these conditions, I can develop varieties with a wide range of characteristics that can be used by CSA and market gardeners throughout the continent as a genetic base from which to select strains uniquely suited to their individual farms. In short, I breed for diversity. Hugh's corn (1) Hugh Lovel corn breeding program    I ought to mention a few things about my growing practices. Here in Georgia we have warm temperatures and plenty of moisture so our soils digest rapidly and require a lot of replenishment. In my market garden I use a forty inch wide spading machine to produce beds while leaving a thirty-five inch wide path between them that the tractor rides on. These walking/driving strips are kept in permanent grass and clover cover. By mowing them in the growing season I provide a lot of earthworm fodder while the corn or other vegetables are young. The clippings get digested in place as long as earthworm populations are high. So the earthworms have a balanced diet I interplant soybeans down the middles between the corn rows. Since I plant the large seeded Vinton 81S which make a great edible green soybean that sells for high prices, where the beans flourish I can pick a money crop. The beans never compete with the corn and if anything enhance its growth while suppressing weeds. And since I’m keeping my earthworm populations high in summer with the lawnmower clippings, when I mow and spade in my corn stalks there are plenty of earthworms to ensure their digestion. This allows me to plant my fall/winter spinach/garlic crop behind my early sweet corns without any compost, just tillage. 
    The application of biodynamic preparations makes a huge difference in how my corn grows. I’m planting with a Cole “no-till” planters using the smallest corn plates I’ve got on everything except the popcorn. However, the corns I’m working with, even the flint cornmeals, are small seeded so I get an average distribution in the row of about six or seven corn plants in two feet of row. For conventional methods that may be too much, though it is what my equipment does. I compensate somewhat by wider row spacing and my plant population per acre is probably in the same range as Walter’s. 
    I’ve been getting very good results without using any fertilizers, because with the preparation 500 I’ve got a good soil food web, and with the 501 I take a quantum leap in photosynthesis. This is standard biodynamic practice, but I add to it with the use of horn clay. Horn clay stimulates transport within the stem – and corn has a killer stalk. The abundant sugars created in the leaf go to the roots and are exuded into the soil feeding the mycorhyzae, azotobacters, and so forth. 

corn2 (3) Brace roots exude sugars

These in turn provide the plants with the best possible nutrition. This is especially true for nitrogen. If I put my nitrogen on as compost, some of this oxidizes into nitrates or reduces into ammonia before the corn soaks it up, rendering the corn somewhat salty and watery, though not as much so as with chemical fertilizer. Salts and water in the corn protoplasm makes field corn hard to dry down and encourages insect damage. However, if the corn as it grows feeds sugars to the microorganisms that fix nitrogen, the corn gets its nitrogen as amino acids which it turns directly into protein. Just as the corn matures it is getting abundant amino acids. Then I get corn of the highest quality while getting high yields. Reincorporating my crop residues allows earthworms to do the composting without me hauling anything to or from my barnyard. 
    As a market gardener with limited land and relatively unpredictable help, my resources, especially labor, are thin, as they are with many market gardeners. If things are to get done they must involve inspiration, or – for lack of a better word – fun. For me it is not great fun to conduct the sorts of patient, methodical assessment of individual plants as at Michael Fields, even though I greatly admire Walter’s work. Nevertheless, nature points out the successful individuals in any given corn population, and I watch for these. When evaluating a promising line of breeding, flavor is my best assessment. As chemical analysis goes, flavor is a very integrated and sophisticated method. My orange flint, which has fourteen years of breeding history, makes the best tasting cornmeal of any I know. A lab analysis would be interesting, but its rich, nutty flavor alone lets you know it is high protein. 
    Corn breeding is particularly interesting. On any given ear the genetic contribution from the mother plant is the same for every kernel. It is this genetic simplicity that allowed Barbara McClintock to win a Nobel Prize in 1987 for proving corn mutated every generation. For open-pollinated corn this means saving a minimum of two hundred ears to ensure a stable, reliable breed. Currently I only fulfill this requirement with my orange flint cornmeal, which I’ve bred for fourteen years. All my other corns are breeding experiments that I don’t guarantee as stable. However, I’m growing two kinds of sweet corn, one early and one late; three flint cornmeals, one multicolored hominy dent, and three popcorns. I’m particularly interested in developing a popcorn that is as robust as an ordinary tall flint while still having the small ultra-dense kernels that pop well. 
    I think, however, that a lot more attention should be paid to Barbara McClintock’s discovery that corn mutates with every generation. To be sure, it doesn’t turn into tomatoes. It stays pretty much the same kind of corn over the generations, but it does mutate. Every time. This is another case where what Dr. Steiner said in 1924 has proven true:

We usually think of the seed, from which the embryo develops, as having an extremely complicated molecular structure, and we set great store in being able to understand it in all its complexity. We imagine molecules as having certain definite structures, simpler in the simple ones and getting ever more complicated until we come to the incredibly complicated structure of a protein molecule. We stand there in wonder and astonishment in front of what we imagine to be the complex structure of the seed’s protein. We’re sure it has to be terribly complicated, because, after all, a new organism has to grow out of it. We assume that a whole new complicated organism is already inherent in the plant embryo in the seed, and that therefore this microscopic or submicroscopic substance must also be incredibly complicated in its structure. To a certain extent this is true at first. When earthly protein is being built up, the molecular structure is indeed raised to the highest degree of complexity. But a new organism could never, never develop out of this complicated structure. That is not how a new organism comes about. 1

    Steiner goes on to describe how the new plant arises out of the influences of the whole surrounding universe, and the parent plant only endows it with a tendency, “. . . through its affinity for a particular cosmic setting, to bring the seed into relationship with the forces from the proper directions, so that what emerges from a dandelion is a dandelion and not a barberry.” This is something Luther Burbank surely must have known and used to advantage many times in bringing new varieties into being. 
    What I’m trying to do is breed good starting material for market gardeners who save their own seed. Maybe I can save them ten or fifteen years by supplying a good genetically diverse sweet corn, popcorn or cornmeal corn that responds well to the biodynamic preparations (including horn clay) and has such diverse characteristics that market gardeners from Mexico to Canada can then develop their own breeds uniquely adapted to their locales. 
    Keeping in mind that each new generation arises out of the influences of the whole surrounding universe, and that the forces of the periphery influence the genetics more so than the other way around, I hope market gardeners will look to saving their own seed – not just to save money but to develop breeds adapted to their local conditions. When one thinks of all the heirloom varieties that are being lost right and left one has to wonder where they came from in the first place. It makes sense that they came from folks saving their own seeds on a small scale and conserving beneficial mutations when they arose.

corn_stalks_0

Note 
1) Rudolf Steiner, Agriculture: Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture, trans. Gardner and Creeger (Kimberton: Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, 1993), 34-35.

Hugh Lovel, author of the book A Biodynamic Farm, is a biodynamic farmer, teacher, scientist and inventor

 

 

 

Dynamic Processes

Dynamic Processes

by Hugh Lovel

 

In the uptake of nutrients from the soil foodweb, sulphur is the catalyst for nutrient release. Ever at work at the surfaces of things, sulphur, as sulphate, infiltrates the interstices between the soil’s colloidal particles and exposes their surfaces. In short, sulphur is the ‘open sesame’ to the soil’s mineral storehouse.

Silicon follows, and forms a partnership with the sulphur containing amino acids, methionine, cysteine and cystine in the structure of cell walls and connective tissues. In fibrous tissues, particularly in plant stems, this includes the linings of capillary vessels, as these do double duty as connective tissues, as in the stems of fruits.   

Boron, as borate, embeds itself in these silica linings and establishes an unresolved electron bond in the surrounding silica network that draws water and nutrients into the plant. As a result calcium, magnesium, potassium and amino acids are taken up from the soil and delivered to cell division and chlorophyll rich sites in growing tips and leaves. As chlorophyll captures light waves, phosphorous transfers this energy into sugar production—after which a mix of sugars and carbohydrates follow potassium through the silica pathways to store or provide energy wherever required in the plant.

This also means the role of silica, allied with boron, has enormous importance for photosynthesis.. The rapid transportation system of C4 grasses makes them the most photo-efficient plants—as they can really move things. Through their silica transport system they transfer the energy from chlorophyll to sugar faster than other plants. And abundant photosynthesis depends on how fast the reactions occur. The previous energy catching event must move out of the way for the next one to occur.

It might seem this would happen at the speed of light. In the leaf, however, the magnesium/chlorophyll complex that catches light is stationary. It has to send the energy it captures via phosphorous to where sugar is made, and the speed it transports this energy boosted phosphorous chemistry determines the rate of photosynthesis. C4 grasses are also most efficient at moving carbon dioxide and water into the process while speedily getting sugar out of the way so there are no bottlenecks. This is why with grasses like sugar cane, maize or sorghum, brix readings may need to be taken from the bases of leaves or stems rather than from leaf panels, as these plants rapidly move sugars away from where they are made. 

In looking at this picture, we want to be aware that the sulphur containing amino acids associated with silicon work very differently from nitrates, which cannot be excluded from plant water uptake. High levels of nitrates upset this process. While there will always be some nitrate uptake from the oxidation of amino acids within the soil, excess nitrate is closely associated with low brix. Brix is a measure of dissolved solids; and carbohydrates normally account for roughly nine tenths of the dissolved solids in plant sap.

If the plant can’t exclude nitrates, it must convert them to amino acids or they are useless—even toxic. If anything, nitrate’s affinity for water dilutes plant sap, protoplasm and chlorophyll, impairing photosynthesis and compromising plant vitality.

The conversion of nitrate to amino acid takes time and nearly the same energy as it took to fix nitrogen biologically. This means if plants use up their sugars plant converting nitrate to amino acids, this limits what is left over for root exudation and microbial nitrogen fixation around plant roots.

If nitrate uptake is too abundant or the plant’s conversion is too slow, its protoplasm stays watered down and nitrate reduction lags. Excess nitrate may even scald the plant’s silica transport system resulting in a low brix plant that is difficult to boost.

 

Winter Builds Complexity Into Soils.

 

As winter begins, photosynthesis slows down and nitrogen fixation becomes more problematical, while what grew in summer digests back into the soil. This process builds complexity. We can contribute or impede this, and sometimes we do—perhaps unwittingly, or perhaps deliberately. We have to learn what’s best. What emerges is it is particularly important that decomposing proteins are incorporated into humic acids and built into soil organic matter for future reference—along with sulphates, phosphates, borates and various major and minor nutrients.

Come spring, this complexity will start to break down and release a complex nutrient stream to feed plant growth. If one uses nitrate rich fertilisers—including organic ones—the importance of low nitrates and high amino acids in the root zone will show up in reduced vigour and crop quality.

Brix testing in the middle of crop cycles and trying to rescue processes that were less than optimum during winter, is no substitute for preparing over the previous winter to achieve high brix throughout the crop cycle. For many growers taking the appropriate steps in winter might see a welcome change from crops losing their oomph after the summer solstice when the days start getting shorter and sap doesn’t flow quite as strongly as it should.

 This returns to the question of the importance of strong sap flow.

Plants readily take up amino acid nitrogen, unless nitrates get in the way. Plants are healthiest getting most of their nitrogen as amino acids from the interface between their roots and the soil food web, rather than taking up nitrates in their water. But either way they must get nitrogen. The limiting factor in amino acid uptake usually is root exudation, which supplies energy to nitrogen fixing microbes. These microbes require abundant energy to manufacture amino acids. And lest we forget, soil animal life, particularly protozoa, must digest the nitrogen fixing microbes and release amino acids if this process is to support robust growth. 

If boron is sufficient and the uptake of water and nutrients from the soil is strong, photosynthesis will be productive, and in turn root exudates will be abundant. Otherwise nitrogen fixation may slow down and stall. One of the worries is that nitrate uptake reacts with boron. Thus it can flush boron out of the capillary linings and reduce sap pressure, nutrient uptake and root exudation.

 

Efficiency

 

Advocates of chemical nitrogen say fertilising with artificial nitrogen is efficient because plants don’t have to supply the energy. They reason that if artificial fixation uses ten units of methane to make one unit of ammonia, and still more to convert this into other forms, this is carbon energy the plant does not have to supply. However, when artificial nitrogen is applied as urea, half volatilizes as N2O gas while the remainder oxidizes to nitrate. Moreover, plants use up nearly as much energy converting nitrate to amino acid as was required to fix nitrogen as amino acid in the first place, so where is the savings?

The clincher is that nitrate suppresses nitrogen fixation—nitrogen fixing microbes drown in their own waste, as nitrate is the final waste product of their activity. This means that artificial nitrogen fertilisation—even if from organic sources—shuts down biological fixation. Then plants must depend on applied nitrates rather than on feeding nitrogen fixation and receiving amino acid uptake.

Ironically, the methane required for artificial nitrogen fixation is a non-renewable resource. We don’t want to become dependent on its use to artificially produce nitrogen because whenever it becomes scarce we’ll be in a fix.

In a low nitrate soil, microbes living around plant roots depend on strong sap flow, rich in amino acids and low in nitrates, into the plant by day. In return the plant gives off energy rich root exudates by night. With plenty of energy to fix nitrogen, the nitrogen fixing microbes and the protozoa which digest them in the soil foodweb will provide ample amino acids in each new day’s sap uptake. Strong sap uptake assures rich photosynthesis which assures more energy given off as root exudates. Then there is increased nitrogen fixation and protozoal digestion the following evening. This feeds richer amino acid uptake, stronger photosynthesis, more root exudation and so forth.

The less plants take up nitrate and the more they take up amino acids, the more efficiently they photosynthesise and share their life energy with their microbial symbiotes in the soil; then the more complex and vigorous they tend to be. In the final analysis, it not only matters how we build life processes into our soil, but also whether we impart these in an appropriate, balanced way. There are up and down processes. What goes on above adds energy and complexity to the growth and foliar processes which supply root exudates. Then if what goes on in the soil goes up, then what goes on in the leaf goes back down as root exudates.

Nitrogen comes into these processes in the soil, while carbon enters via the leaf. So we must see to the activities of sulphur, boron and silicon that open up the soil and provide transport for calcium, amino acids, magnesium, phosphorus, etc. so they arrive in the leaf and the processes of turning water and carbon dioxide into sugar take place.

The dynamic is that a certain amount of sugar is required to provide the energy for initiating microbial release of sulphur, boron and silicon for plants to deliver nutrients to the leaves. This is why crop seeds have large, carbohydrate rich cotyledons while weeds have tiny seeds with next to no carbohydrates. Conversely the amino acids and minerals delivered from the soils are required for the leaves to capture energy and make carbohydrates in the leaves. This delivers carbohydrates to the soil’s microbes as root exudates and feeds more and more nitrogen fixation. The dynamic interplay between what goes on below ground and what goes on above depends on boosting each  activity at the right times, morning and evening—as if we were pumping our farms or garden up on a swing set. Timing and balance are key, and that means there’s no substitute for doing the right thing at the right time. We need rhythm and feeling as well as a modicum of substance.

It becomes clearer and clearer that we cannot meet all our challenges in agriculture without understanding both processes and substances. Substances play their parts, but we need an understanding of life process as well. These differ with the seasons, the phases of the moon and various other factors. Without doing the right things at the right times we will never turn our farms around to improving instead of running down. Ultimately what this means is operating our farms or gardens as unique organisms within their own boundaries and contexts. These can be the property boundaries and natural cycles, within which energy and complexity builds up out of the surroundings; but, without boundaries and closure of cycles,  life forces leak away.

The Biochemical Sequence

 

The Biochemical Sequence™

By Hugh Lovel

Beyond sulphur, the minerals plants need from soils have a certain hierarchy of importance. One thing must work before anything that depends on it can. The earlier deficiencies occur in this sequence the more everything else is affected. For example, silicon provides the capillary action that allows plants to draw water and nutrients from the soil. All biological transport vessels—to say nothing of cell walls and connective tissues—are rich in silicon. Silicon is most stable when it forms four chemical bonds. However, boron, which loves to react with silicon, can only form three bonds. This leaves silicon unsatisfied and seeking a fourth electron partnership. It only takes a small amount of boron to make silicon thirsty for water and electrolytes—which means boron is the key to sap pressure. Without it silicon cannot take up water and nutrients from the soil.

Of course, both boron and silicon are essential for plants to take up other nutrients such as calcium and amino acids. Without adequate boron and silicon, the protein chemistry and enzyme activity of the plant—particularly chlorophyll and photosynthesis—will suffer.

Furthermore, phosphorous is essential for all energy transfers in both soil and plants, from soaking up energy via chlorophyll, to microbes breaking down soil carbon for energy. Because phosphorus transfers energy, it energizes the complex processes in soil and plant chemistry. It is essential for utilizing iron, copper, zinc, manganese, cobalt, molybdenum and traces of lesser significance. Even though energy first enters via photosynthesis, phosphorous and the various trace elements play a huge role in the soil foodweb in providing nourishment for crops from root emergence onward.

Lastly, potassium, the electrolyte, is responsible for all the electronic communication and movement processes going on in the plant starting with nutrient flow and the opening and closing of doorways in cell walls.

Understandably NPK fertilisation, which breaks down organic matter and disrupts the soil foodweb, works in the short term because it solubilizes reserves, but in the long term it peters out and loses effectiveness as reserves are depleted. This ignores the biochemical sequence as well as the relationship of micronutrients with sulphur and phosphorous. The truth is NPK fertilisers destroy soil biology and ignore the biochemical sequence, as N, P and K are not of primary importance.

More of the Story

Although the Biochemical Sequence can help to determine the key  deficiencies when soils do not perform, in living soils everything happens in an integrated way. Above ground phosphorous follows magnesium, but in the soil foodweb phosphorous is the key to energy availability. Soil microbes need phosphorous to release energy from the carbohydrates crop seeds give off as they sprout. Thus most planting formulas include phosphorous and its co-factor trace elements to get seeds and their symbiotes off to a good start.

However, if the soil reserves of phosphorous and its co-factors are depleted, the Actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi will struggle instead of providing access to nutrient reserves.

 

 

 

Soil Biology

It shouldn’t need emphasis, but nitrogen fixation depends on soil biology. It requires abundant energy as well as the availability of calcium and certain trace elements. The abundance of energy is determined by the efficiency of photosynthesis, which depends on sap pressure and amino acid rather than salt nitrogen uptake from the soil. Sap pressure depends on microbial symbiosis to access boron and silicon at crop roots. Probably the most important microbes in this regard are the Actinomycetes, which are the source of many antibiotics and are responsible for the clean smell of healthy soil. By forming a fine fuzz growing outward from young roots, they build as well as provide access to the nutrients in clay/humus colloids. Often they live as endophytes within crop tissues and may be found in their seeds. Because they work at the beginning of the biochemical sequence to break down clay/humus structures and release boron and silicon, the Actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi, provide optimum plant nutrition. In return this ensures plentiful root exudation in the active root zone and an excellent habitat for nitrogen fixing microbes and other microbial symbiotes, which again provides optimum plant nutrition. This activity can be seen as soil adhesion around plant roots and a delicate, dense, finely branched root development. This never occurs with heavy applications of soluble NPK fertilisers as they create salty conditions that inhibit both Actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi.

For complete article:

http://www.quantumagriculture.com/articles/true-excellence-growing-food

 

Biochemical Sequence of Nutrition in Plants

Plant Biochemical begin with:

1. Boron, which activates

2. Silicon, which carries all other nutrients

starting with

3. Calcium, which binds

4. Nitrogen to form amino acids, DNA and

cell division. Amino acids form proteins

such as chlorophyll and tag trace

elements, especially

5. Magnesium, which transfers energy via

6. Phosphorus to

7. Carbon to form sugars, which go where

8. Potassium carries them.

This is the basis of plant growth.

 

 

 

High Brix in Vegetables

 

High Brix in Veggies Getting brix high in veggies is usually a challenge due to low silicon and high nitrates. This can be where biodynamics comes to the rescue with oak bark and equisetum. Add these to EM and you reverse nitrification in the soil and improve photosynthesis.  We tend to think we have to feed veggie crops abundantly to get good yield. So we mix in compost and proteinaceous materials and they are distributed throughout the root zone. What happens if the amino acids oxidize? The plant takes up nitrate. It can’t avoid it, but it has nitrate reductase enzyme in the leaves to convert the nitrates to amino acids again. So everything is okay, right? Not exactly. First, nitrate has a salt index of 100, so it is practically a magnet for water. In the plant’s protoplasm it waters down chlorophyll to where there is only about a billion chlorophyll molecules per chloroplast instead of maxing out around 1.5 billion. So it impairs photosynthesis and the plant expands its cells and leaves stretching the silica in its cell walls and connective tissues thin. Second, it takes a lot of energy to resurrect nitrate into the amino phase–somewhere in the vicinity of 10 units of sugar per unit of nitrate. So the sugars are used up in the leaf before they go anywhere. The result is the plant does not develop nitrogen fixation in the soil around its roots because there’s not enough root exudation to support it. The whole cycle is hard to break out of as long as the proteinaceous material in the soil keeps breaking down and the plant keeps taking up nitrate. Something has to happen to arrest nitrification in the soil and concentrate the soil’s digestive activity in the root zone of the plant. The oak bark does this, and I always used my radionic instrument and the oak bark and horsetail cards at 30c in my EM brews. EM brews scavenge nitrate in the soil and their anti-oxidant effects make silica more soluble. The long term solution is to hold back on mixing nitrogenous material into the soil. Apply them at the surface and let the soil animal life cycle them down into the soil. The little critters will tend to excrete them around plant roots. Also, you can brew compost teas rich in nitrogen fixers by using a bit of soy flour as a feed in a compost tea–maybe 1 pound per hundred gallons. I’d also ensure a trace of molybdenum was working–generally I put this in my field broadcaster at 30c, but you could put a pinch of sodium molybdate on the Prue plate and set it at 423 for 30C and have that pattern in your EM too. Be very careful with moly because if you get too much it robs copper of its ability to transfer electrons from tri-phosphate to di-phosphate and then phosphorous doesn’t work and all sorts of other problems result. Moly is used as an alloy in mining tools because it won’t let the steel spark, you know. There must be something analogous going on with it’s ability to open up nitrogen gas and and get it to react with hydrogen.  carrot farm Carrot Farm

True Excellence in Growing Food

 

True Excellence in Growing Food

By Hugh Lovel

Obtaining true excellence relates to the way nitrogen works within each farm. This can be complex and sophisticated or crude and rude. Nitrogen is the essence of protein chemistry, which is what gives us the character and flavour of what we grow. Each farm has its unique protein signature, especially when it generates all its own nitrogen inputs. The wine industry calls this terroir as it comes from the earth. It is the key to protoplasmic density and nutrition. However, few farms today are consciously run with this in mind, and few people think about maximizing sophisticated nitrogen and minimizing the crude and rude stuff. Nevertheless the benefits implicit in robust nitrogen self-sufficiency—production cost, market share, profitability, nutritional excellence and social evolution—are enormous.

 

Vibrant Personality

 

Kicking things off may require inputs from off the farm, but these should be thought of as medicine rather than fertiliser. Growers already addicted to nitrogen fertilisers need to adopt this line of thinking so they wean themselves from buying nitrogen. After all, who wants to keep paying the bill? The key to quality is getting the soil biology really cooking and keeping it cooking with the most minimal outside inputs. There are roughly 1.5 tons of nitrogen over every square foot of soil, and it makes no sense to ignore this abundance.

The chemistry of plants parallels the chemistry of our bodies. Both are carbon based life forms. While plants harvest energy and build carbon chemistry, animals digest and transform this harvest. In the process both depend on the nitrogen in DNA and RNA for memory and sensitivity. Maximum in-place nitrogen fixation requires abundant energy, which plants supply. Animals, particularly protozoa, digest nitrogen fixers and supply amino acids so chlorophyll and haemoglobin can build chloroplasts and red blood cells. This complex plant/animal symbiosis suffers whenever it is short-circuited.

 Our amino acids are supplied by digestion—which is hugely dependent on symbiotic microbes living in a synergistic relationship with us. Vibrant health depends on generating blood in our own bone marrow, while blood transfusions are purely a stop-gap measure. Similarly, nitrogen in plants is provided at the cellular level by endophytes, which live in between plant cells, as well as symbiotes. For example, we may talk about plants fixing nitrogen, but the actual fixation and digestion comes from endophytes and symbiotes that plants share their energy with. If we treat the farm—no matter how large or small—as its own entity this accumulation of energy means life force and farm vitality.

 

How Plants Grow

 

Chemical agriculture tries to feed the plant directly, while the soil is there simply to hold the plant up. This amounts to hydroponics on a weekly or monthly schedule instead of a daily or hourly timetable and it ignores the importance of the soil foodweb.

At first glance the chemical method seems simple and easy, but it is guaranteed to achieve less than optimum quality even when it delivers quantity. Soluble inputs use up humus and nutrient reserves while they take the soil foodweb on a rollercoaster ride between excess and shortage. Chemical fertilisers amount to the residual waste of the microbial network that releases minerals, fixes nitrogen and stores insoluble but available nutrients in humus. The result is soil depletion when we meant to encourage an optimum response. Our rule of thumb should be to feed the soil foodweb so it feeds the plant. This far surpasses anything we can do either chemically or mechanically, and it is wasteful and unjustifiable not to feed and maintain this complex biological system.

The principle components of protoplasm are hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and sulphur while minerals such as silicon, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and traces make up only a few per cent. Carbon—which stores energy—enters into plants from the atmosphere while nitrogen—which provides awareness and coherence—enters from the soil. This carbon/nitrogen duality means plants depend on a dynamic interplay between what goes on above with what goes on below. Humus provides a reservoir that acts as a biological flywheel that stores momentum.  The more we build it, the better the soil foodweb nourishes the plant, and the more ably the plant grows and feeds carbohydrates to the soil foodweb.

 

 

 

Soil Biology and Vitality

 

Nitrogen, which is inert in the atmosphere, is basically restless and elusive. It is most content when sharing its beauty, cleverness and sensitivity with itself. Nitrogen fixing microbes require abundant energy to seduce it away from this narcissism and engage it with hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and sulphur to form proteins and mineral links. But unless nitrogen is in use, or stored in clay/humus complexes, it goes to waste by volatilizing or leaching. Waste nitrogen suppresses nitrogen fixation, and growers who think they must use nitrogen will find  using it requires more use.

Feeding crude nitrogen to the soil foodweb along with humic acids or clay/humus complexes is the safest way to tie it up as amino acids and minimize its effect on crop complexity, flavour and vitality. From there high production growers should watch closely, leaf testing every three or four weeks, to phase these nitrogen inputs out. The goal is to encourage thriving fixation and protozoal digestion so there is always an abundance of freshly digested amino acids to build the farm’s terroir. Since this is a complex and delicate process, we need to know how to enhance it.

 

Boundaries

 

Life builds up on boundaries and surfaces, both in the plant and in the soil. The greater the habitat, the greater the diversity—which ramps up the synergy where ten plus ten becomes a hundred or more. Sulphur containing amino acids play a key role in this boundary process even though they are not especially plentiful. Sulphur also has an intimate relationship with the transition metals essential for enzymes and hormones, which makes it the premier catalyst of life chemistry. As the ignition key to growth sulphur deficiency holds back all other biological processes. This led Rudolf Steiner (1861 – 1925), a biochemist way ahead of his time, to group sulphur with hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen as essential for life.

 

Biochemical Sequence

 

Beyond sulphur, the minerals plants need from soils have a certain hierarchy of importance. One thing must work before anything that depends on it can. The earlier deficiencies occur in this sequence the more everything else is affected. For example, silicon provides the capillary action that allows plants to draw water and nutrients from the soil. All biological transport vessels—to say nothing of cell walls and connective tissues—are rich in silicon. Silicon is most stable when it forms four chemical bonds. However, boron, which loves to react with silicon, can only form three bonds. This leaves silicon unsatisfied and seeking a fourth electron partnership. It only takes a small amount of boron to make silicon thirsty for water and electrolytes—which means boron is the key to sap pressure. Without it silicon cannot take up water and nutrients from the soil.

Of course, both boron and silicon are essential for plants to take up other nutrients such as calcium and amino acids. Without adequate boron and silicon, the protein chemistry and enzyme activity of the plant—particularly chlorophyll and photosynthesis—will suffer.

Furthermore, phosphorous is essential for all energy transfers in both soil and plants, from soaking up energy via chlorophyll, to microbes breaking down soil carbon for energy. Because phosphorus transfers energy, it energizes the complex processes in soil and plant chemistry. It is essential for utilizing iron, copper, zinc, manganese, cobalt, molybdenum and traces of lesser significance. Even though energy first enters via photosynthesis, phosphorous and the various trace elements play a huge role in the soil foodweb in providing nourishment for crops from root emergence onward.

Lastly, potassium, the electrolyte, is responsible for all the electronic communication and movement processes going on in the plant starting with nutrient flow and the opening and closing of doorways in cell walls.

Understandably NPK fertilisation, which breaks down organic matter and disrupts the soil foodweb, works in the short term because it solubilizes reserves, but in the long term it peters out and loses effectiveness as reserves are depleted. This ignores the biochemical sequence as well as the relationship of micronutrients with sulphur and phosphorous. The truth is NPK fertilisers destroy soil biology and ignore the biochemical sequence, as N, P and K are not of primary importance.

 

Soil Biology

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It shouldn’t need emphasis, but nitrogen fixation depends on soil biology. It requires abundant energy as well as the availability of calcium and certain trace elements. The abundance of energy is determined by the efficiency of photosynthesis, which  depends on sap pressure and amino acid rather than salt nitrogen uptake from the soil. Sap pressure depends on microbial symbiosis to access boron and silicon at crop roots. Probably the most important microbes in this regard are the Actinomycetes, which are the source of many antibiotics and are responsible for the clean smell of healthy soil. By forming a fine fuzz growing outward from young roots, they build as well as provide access to the nutrients in clay/humus colloids. Often they live as endophytes within crop tissues and may be found in their seeds. Because they work at the beginning of the biochemical sequence to break down clay/humus structures and release boron and silicon, the Actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi, provide optimum plant nutrition. In return this ensures plentiful root exudation in the active root zone and an excellent habitat for nitrogen fixing microbes and other microbial symbiotes, which again provides optimum plant nutrition. This activity can be seen as soil adhesion around plant roots and a delicate, dense, finely branched root development. This never occurs with heavy applications of soluble NPK fertilisers as they create salty conditions that inhibit both Actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi.

 

More of the Story

 

Although the Biochemical Sequence can help to determine the key deficiencies when soils do not perform, in living soils everything happens in an integrated way. Above ground phosphorous follows magnesium, but in the soil foodweb phosphorous is the key to energy availability. Soil microbes need phosphorous to release energy from the carbohydrates crop seeds give off as they sprout. Thus most planting formulas include phosphorous and its co-factor trace elements to get seeds and their symbiotes off to a good start.

However, if the soil reserves of phosphorous and its co-factors are depleted, the Actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi will struggle instead of providing access to nutrient reserves.

 

Compost

 

Lest we forget, the rule of thumb is to feed the soil foodweb and let it feed the plant. This is best done with humified compost, although the term ‘humified’ deserves explanation.

Many people imagine that composting is a process of breaking down organic materials until somehow they stabilize. This is over-simplified and poorly informed. If breakdown of organic materials was all that occurred the result would be carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia and residual mineral salts and oxides. Cellulose, for example, is a long chain polymer of glucose, a simple sugar. If all it did was break it down the resulting glucose would be used up. However, beneficial fungi and Actinomycetes build up large humic acid molecules much like bees store honey in the comb. All sorts of amino acids and minerals are tied up in humus formation, and the clay/humus complexes that result are so stable that bacteria cannot break them down. Protozoa and higher animals may release their nutrients, but in a healthy soil foodweb the mycorrhizae and Actinomycetes that stored them have primary access. This provides insoluble but available nutrition, as they are so stable they may last for decades or even centuries. Most soil tests do not reveal what’s there in humus rich soils without a total aqua regia digest.

The fungi and Actinomycetes that build humic complexes grow particularly well on clay surfaces, so making humified compost requires some sort of clay or soil dispersed throughout the materials being composted. The resulting humified compost makes a perfect medium to restore key—often missing—micro-nutrients and rebuild the soil foodweb. Even at six hundred pounds per acre, such compost can be spiked with five pounds of borax or solubor per ton, ten pounds per ton of copper, zinc and manganese sulphates, one pound of cobalt sulphate and a gallon of sea minerals to feed the foodweb of a senescent soil and restore it to robust interaction with crops. Incidentally, sea minerals are the dense, almost oily pot liquor left over after the evaporative extraction of sodium chloride from sea water. This contains every element in sea water and can round out the picture with traces like selenium, molybdenum, fluorine and ORMEs (Orbitally Rearranged Monoatomic Elements). Compost of this sort also makes a good microbial feedstock to combine with applications of gypsum, rock phosphate, lime, basalt or granite dusts. Without feeding these inputs to the soil biology via compost, soluble inputs at five times this dosage may miss the mark and wash away.

 

The Keys to Success

 

Syntropy is a process where order arises out of chaos and energy accumulates at boundaries. Chaos theory shows that infinitesimal changes at the borders of chaos can effect large scale changes in a medium. The richer soils are in surface area and internal order the more strongly they draw a syntropic energy stream to themselves.  The boundaries inherent in the surfaces and patterns of soil particles are where microbial life arises. As islands of order amidst an ocean of chaos, living organisms depend on syntropy to grow and multiply. Carbon particles are particularly rich in internal order, and carbon based life forms provide a dynamic dimension to this order, as life begets more life.

Synergy is where two or more organisms working together generate a greater joint product than their products taken separately and added together. Synergy shows us that the greater the diversity and interaction between living organisms the more we can expect ten plus ten to equal a hundred or a thousand. When we take syntropy and synergy seriously the self-sufficiency of kissing nitrogen inputs good-bye is achievable—even while we harvest and sell eight or ten per cent of our total annual biomass production.

Food of true excellence and sophistication supports the development of human potential so we produce art, music and poetry of incredible beauty and poignancy and perform seeming miracles. Clairvoyance, telepathy, healing at a distance or accessing the akashic record need not be rare if we nourish our children so they have the physical capacity to develop their abilities more fully than we, with our dietary handicaps, have managed. As a by-product I believe we will reclaim the Sahara Desert, but first we must reclaim the deserts in both our souls and our bodies.

In nature there are many master plants and animals, and by isolating these and growing them as mono-crops modern agriculture has done a few things. By themselves grains, fruits, vegetables, fibres, even bees, cows, and earthworms are impressive, but we really don’t know what is possible until we integrate them into a concert of life. If we work like members of a vast symphony orchestra to achieve true excellence in food, the progress we make may amaze us.

 

How We Get Our Nitrogen

 

At birth we each have a unique nitrogen signature stamped upon the assembly of our proteins and the replication of our DNA. We digest proteins into amino acids and re-assemble them according to our individual DNA patterns. Our protein chemistry has our singular identity stamped upon it. Everyone is a bit different, and our immune systems maintain this personal integrity.

The same is true of a farm or even a suburban garden. It develops its own nitrogen character. Its nitrogen fixing microbes take in nitrogen from the atmosphere and build proteins according to that location’s unique stamp. All the animals at that location eat, digest and transform this into their unique organisations. The soil microbes and plants that recycle these animals’ digestive products get an even more enhanced nitrogen organization. As the terroir builds, its plants and animals, and ultimately the people that eat them, take the enhancement of nitrogen round after round higher. When we bring in artificial nitrogen fertilisers we water this down significantly.

Even manures, humates and other biological fertilisers brought in from off the farm or garden have to be integrated into its identity. Instead of getting nitrogen from elsewhere, we want to produce crops within each farm or garden’s nitrogen cycle. This makes the most out of biological enhancement. On any given property the more we increase the density and variety of plants and animals and build self-sufficiency, the more we ensure its depth of character. If we keep this in mind, we will achieve true excellence.

Eden is far too shrouded in our past to see from present vantages. Nor can we return. But, having experienced the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and savoured its bitter lessons, we stand on the threshold of creating future Edens.