Alex Podolinsky | The late Alex Podolinsky was Australia’s most well-known biodynamic thinker and practitioner, and a significant figure in contemporary Biodynamics. He created the Prepared Horn Manure 500, 502-507 compost field spray.
Podolinsky was born in 1925 to a family of Russian-Ukranian aristocrats who’d been forced to leave Russia during the 1917 Revolution. His mother introduced him to biodynamics through her contacts with farmers who had attended Steiner’s 1924 Agriculture course or who had taken up Steiner’s ideas, and who tutored Podolinsky at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland (see Chapter 09, Studying Biodynamics). Podolinsky experienced what seems to have been a difficult education at public school in England but in 1945 fled to Australia after Churchill and Stalin agreed at Yalta to the setting up of the Russian Repatriation Commission. This threatened to send aristocratic families like Podolinsky’s back to the Soviets and an inevitably brutal end.
In his adopted Australia, Podolinsky began refining his method for large-scale biodynamics. This, coupled with his interest in Ehrenfried Pfeiffer’s field spray concentrate led Podolinsky to develop a spray which he called the Prepared 500. Some Australians refer to it as “powercow”, while another name for it is prepared horn manure or 500P, although Podolinsky says to describe horn manure 500 as any kind of ‘manure’ is misguided.
Podolinsky felt European biodynamic farmers’ insistence on stirring their spray preparations by hand rather than mechanically meant that only small areas of cropland would ever become biodynamic. “The world’s population has increased four times in my lifetime and we can’t feed everyone with small-scale, backyard biodynamic farming,” Podolinsky argued. Podolinsky reminded his critics that Steiner had accepted mechanical stirring as valid when giving the Agriculture course. Podolinsky argued that mechanical stirring was capable of producing more consistent results than hand stirring, like deeper vortices in the water. Podolinsky also felt Europe’s biodynamic farmers had shown themselves to be no better qualitatively than their organic counterparts because their solid biodynamic preparations 500 + 502-506 appeared so dry as to be incapable of carrying the formative life forces lacking in contemporary agriculture. For more on this debate see Storing Compost Preparations – Dry or Moist?
Monty Waldin., Biodynamic Gardening (Dorling Kindersley, 2015).
Monty Waldin., Biodynamic Wine (Infinite Ideas, 2016).