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Home Garden Barrel Compost Fact Sheet


Barrel compost activates the soil and soil organisms, encouraging better
soil structure and quicker breakdown of inorganic and organic substances. It is
used to spread the ‘compost’ influences especially when converting farms. 

Background

The development Barrel compost grew out of concern with pollution of
Strontium 90 s from atmospheric atomic bomb tests in 1958. Maria Thun and Dr
Ehrenfried Pfeiffer collaborated trialing various substances then cultivating
plants. An unambiguous result was obtained by growing plants with eggshells and
ground basalt; the plants did not incorporate or store any radioactive
Stontium90. They then set about a way to bring these two substances to the
biodynamic farm. Further experiments and trials saw the development of the barrel
compost.

Peter Proctor has developed its use especially on larger farms in
Australia and NZ where there is little compost used. In India he has developed
wide usage of the preparation. Although the barrel compost is made in a similar
fashion all around the world the quantities of compost preparations, egg shells
and basalt used vary although the amount of manure was around 50 litres End
uses also vary see table below.

Very little is written about its use in the home garden. Deb Cantrill
recommends it use for home gardeners on compost heaps, worm farms and to make
the whole garden ‘compost’ by guiding the breakdown process especially where
heavy mulch are used to protect the soil from heat and dryness. Many of the
uses in the table below are also applicable.

Home Garden Barrel Compost.

*This was developed by Deb Cantrill and the Adelaide Hills Biodynamic
Group to encourage and enable home gardeners to have their own supply thus
increasing its frequency of use on the home garden.

To make the Home Garden Barrel Compost

  • Bottomless Container* Terracotta pot with
    bottom cut out.
  • 10 litres (1 bucket) good quality firm cow
    manure
  • 1 x 2gram biodynamic compost set
  • 125gm Fine rock dust e.g. fish creek
  • 50 gm ground egg shells

Method

  1. Dig a hole 150cm deep and place bottomless
    container in hole and back fill up sides of container.
  2. Mix cow manure, rock dust and egg shells
    using a hand kneading action for 1 hour. You will observe quite a change.
  3. Place manure mix in container, add compost
    preparations as per usual.
  4. Cover manure with a damp hession sack.
  5. Cover container with waterproof lid.
  6. After 1 month fork over manure, smooth out
    and cover again.
  7. Check every 4 weeks or so. It should be ready
    in 3 months.
  8. Remove to storage container and store as per
    500.

Preparing the Barrel Compost for use

CCP is generally applied in the afternoon. For a home garden take 20gm
and place in 5 litres warm water. Stir as per 500 for 20 minutes and apply to
selected area as per 500.

Applications

Application

benefits

Stir

timing

rate

source

Soil spray

Influence of compost
preps during conversion

At least 15m

1hour

20 min

Afternoon

Afternoon 3x

Afternoon

1kg /40l per acre

100g/portion
500

60g/10litres

20gm
/5litres

PPI

PPN

MTL

AHBG

In conjunction with
stirring 500.

Getting effects of 502/507
over the land

Last 15 min of stirring

Last 20min

Afternoon

Afternoon

100grams per acre

50g per gal

PPI

BAA

Used on the soil around
all fruit trees

as a soil inoculants or
soil conditioner

Before mulching trees

1kg/40 litres per acre

PPI

Foliar feed on all fruit
trees

Strengthen the plants
against possible fungus or insect attack

Every 14 days before and
after flowering

1kg/40 litres per acre

PPI

Tree paste on bark of
fruit trees

Strengthen the bark. This
can bring good soil micro organisms up onto the tree

1kg/40 litres per acre

PPI

BAA

Dip roots of all young
trees, shrubs or grapes prior to planting

Encourage new root
development

1kg/40 litres per acre

PPI

Soak seeds prior to
sowing

Encourage root
development

Soak for 30 minutes, dry
off , sow immediately

1kg/40 litres per acre

PPI

BAA

Dip seed potatoes before
planting

This seems to protect the
potato against blight

Dip potatoes and dry
before planting.

1kg/40 litres per acre

PPI

Soak cuttings

Assist root development

Soak overnight prior to
planting

1kg/40 litres per acre

PPI

BAA

Inoculate compost heap

Poured into holes along
top of the heap. Or

Sprinkled into successive
layers while building the heap.

1 kg/40 litres for each 5
meters of compost

PPI

Liquid manures

Add compost preps
influence

Stir 10
minutes

1kg/45litre/acre

PPI

PPN

Used as one component of
the sequence of BD sprays of 500,501,502/507 and 508

Brings the effect of all
the preparations onto the land over a short period. Gives Strength and
quality to plants

1kg/40 litres per acre

PPI

When green
manures are turned in

Add compost
preps influence- guide breakdown and humus formation.

1x

MTL

BAA

When compost is
applied

1x

MTL

On winter
furrows

1x

MTL

Inoculants in
dairy shed effluent, mainly with flowforms

Add compost
preps influence- guide breakdown and humus formation.

20 minutes

240g /40
litres/

1 bucketful
per 5,000 litres

1kg/1weeks
effluent/100 cows

BAA

PPNZ

Compost tea

Brings in
bacteria & fungal activity- humus + trace elements + soil life

20 minutes

150g per ha
for smaller areas, 75g per ha boardacre

BAA

BAA Biodynamic Agriculture Australia

PPNZ Peter Proctor various NZ publications

PPI Peter Proctor ‘Biodynamic agriculture in India’

MTL Maria Thun ‘Gardening for Life’

AHBG Adelaide Hills Biodynamic Group.



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