WATER is fundamental to Biodynamics, as it is to all life. In biodynamics, water is used to dilute various biodynamic sprays. Three of the nine so-called Biodynamic preparations are used as field (vineyard) sprays – Horn manure 500 on the soil, Horn silica 501 for the atmosphere, and common horsetail or Equisetum arvense 508 for disease prevention. A fourth spray, Valerian 507 also requires stirring before it is poured into a hole in piles of Biodynamic compost 502-507, or sprayed directly on vineyard soil to limit potential damage from frost. Water is also required to make a wide range of other plant-based sprays.
The effectiveness of water-based sprays used in organics and Biodynamics may be improved by bearing in mind some of the following observations as regards water quality. Tap or mains water is deemed unsuitable for biodynamic spray preparations, teas, liquid manures and decoctions. It is too hard (alkaline) and contains added fluoride and chlorine, as well as nitrate (fertilizer) and pesticide residues from agricultural run-off. Although these cannot be removed, chlorine levels can be reduced by aerating the water either by passing it through a hose with a sprinkler head or splashing it into a container which is left uncovered. Pierre Masson favours water with a slightly acidic pH of between 6 to 6.5 and with a low mineral content, like rainwater.1A Biodynamic Manual (2nd edition, Floris) by Pierre Masson, p.33.To collect it, let it rain for twenty minutes before placing a recipient container under a roof gutter because the earliest fraction will be the most polluted and contain mineral impurities which may inhibit the fermentation process for liquid manures. It is also likely to contain accumulated dust and other dirt from the roof itself. The pH of alkaline spring or river water can be lowered (acidified) with cider or vine vinegar, while that from acidic, granite-rich soils can be raised by adding calcium-rich marine maerl (calcified sea algae).
FURTHER READING Biodynamic Wine by Monty Waldin (Infinite Ideas, 2016), p.102