Pfeiffer Compost Starter | A plant-based spray used in Biodynamics created by Dr Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. He designed his compost starter for industrial and urban waste, trialling it commercially between 1950 and 1952 whilst directing a municipal composting program in Oakland, California. Household waste was composted then pelletized for use as agricultural fertilizer. Based on the six biodynamic compost preparations 502-507 and Biodynamic horn manure 500, Pfeiffer’s compost starter also contained bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, yeasts and other micro-organisms capable of generating large quantities of stable compost from green waste via a quick, hot compost fermentation (See Comments by Chris Stearn: 6/1993). Having worked with Rudolf Steiner, Pfeiffer knew that inoculating compost with a microbial starter was no magic bullet as this encourages a materialistic (physical substances) rather than spiritual (intangible formative forces) view of the composting process. Pfeiffer’s book, Bio-Dynamics – A Short Practical Introduction published in 1956 presented Biodynamics in a down to earth manner. No explicit reference was made to the strange ways the biodynamic preparations were made, presumably so as not to scare off American farmers with the no-nonsense mind-set of the 1940s and 1950s (Hugh Courtney: 2005, p.13). Pfeiffer’s proprietary sprays got farmers using the Biodynamic compost preparations 502-507 without having to endure the goriness of making them. The downside is “off the shelf” products like Pfeiffer’s allow farmers to avoid adopting the Biodynamic mind-set of working things out for themselves (Comments by Courtney: 6/1993).

See alsoPfeiffer Field Spray Concentrate.


Comments by Chris Stearn in Courtney, Hugh., & Stearn, Chris., ‘Dr. Pfeiffer’s BD compost starter and BD field spray’, Applied Biodynamics 6/1993, p.10

Comments by Courtney in Courtney, Hugh., & Stearn, Chris., ‘Dr. Pfeiffer’s BD compost starter and BD field spray’, Applied Biodynamics 6/1993, p.10; and Courtney, Hugh., ‘Compost or Biodynamic compost’, Applied Biodynamics 9/1994, p.12.

Hugh Courtney., What is Biodynamics? (Steiner Books USA, 2005), p.13.