Working with Biodynamic Compost

One of our biggest events this year was our biodynamic barrel compost workshop hosted this June. With the assistance of expert Abby Porter and in partnership with the Chesapeake Biodynamic Network, we embarked on making biodynamic barrel compost to be utilized in our flourishing member garden. 

Barrel Compost preparation was developed in Germany by biodynamic pioneer and researcher, Maria Thun, in collaboration with bio-chemist Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, to mitigate the effects of radioactive fallout from the above ground atomic bomb testing in the 1940s and 50s. 

The Biodynamic Association says it is “one of the easiest to make and most versatile composts. Barrel Compost is a wonderful carrier for the biodynamic preparations.” Barrel Compost (BC) is made with cow manure, paramagnetic basalt, and finely crushed organic eggshells and is mixed together for one hour. When we completed the first portion of the workshop in June, workshop participants, with the help of members from Moonlit Acres, helped us stir and flip the compost for the entire hour. It is then put into a barrel or brick-lined pit and biodynamic compost preparations (502-507) are inserted. The mixture composts for 3-6 months. We initially planned on using a barrel, but the one we had was warped and rotting. Special thanks to Michael Judge (from the CBDN and The Christian Community in College Park) for donating bricks for our BC pit! 

Earlier this month, we finished up the last stage of our workshop. After five months, the compost was finally ready! With the help of our friends at Moonlit Acres again, we were able to remove the completed compost from the pit, package it up in glass jars with peat moss on all sides, and safely store it in wooden boxes for the winter. However, we were also able to use some compost on the garden as well. By vortex stirring ⅓ cup of compost with 2.5-3 gallons of water for 20 minutes, we were able to apply the compost mixture to the member’s garden. This highly concentrated compost material increases fertility, stimulates plant growth, and is similar to homeopathic remedies. 

Be on the lookout for some of this nutrient-rich compost for sale next spring!

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