"Biodynamic" means different things to different people.
It's not a laundry detergent ingredient to bring out dazzling fabric colors.
It's not the kid in the high school Biology class who aces all the tests.
Nor is it a member of the Justice League of America who just came out of the closet.
To graduates of the Rudolf Steiner college, "biodynamic" refers to: "...an agricultural method developed in 1924 in a series of lectures by Rudolf Steiner. It laid the foundation for a new way of thinking about the relationship of the Earth and the formative forces of Nature. Biodynamics became the first organized organic approach to farming. The ideal is for a Biodynamic farm to be a self-sufficient organism, enlivened by the biodynamic practitioner through the use of compost and spray preparations in cooperation with natural rhythms. The results of biodynamic agriculture are found in the quality of the produce, the health of the land and the livestock, and the independence from damaging modern agriculture practices with their use of herbicides, fertilizers and pesticides."
A good book that explains biodynamics in easy to understand terms is the John Jeavons classic, "How To Grow More Vegetables".
Slowly, biodynamics is graduating from the organic farm and extending into commerce.
Biodynamics is the underpinning for Malibu Compost, available in California and soon in Oregon and Washington.
According to Malibu Compost founder Randy Ritchie, "We windrow our compost on the farm (in Fresno). We let everything decompose naturally 100%. Which is why it has such a nice humus smell to it."
The compost is comprised of organic dairy cow manure and more. "We use biodynamic preparations which include different forms of composted herbs including chamomile, dandelion, valerian, stinging nettle and other ingredients," says Ritchie.
Malibu Compost passes the three tests I give every compost:
What does it look like?
What does it smell like?
What's the pH?
Unlike many inexpensive composts, you can't tell what it is comprised of. No chunks of redwood, no pebbles, nothing that is recognizable. Well-aged compost should have a fine brown/black consistency, which is what Malibu Compost looks like.
As noted earlier, there are no off-putting aromas to Malibu Compost...just a rich humus-like smell. I've smelled some composts that have an aroma resembling an overflowing urinal at Candlestick Park during the 4th quarter of a 49ers game. That's a lot of burning urea that could harm plant roots, if not allowed to age further.
And the pH? I brought along one of my pH test kits to sample Malibu Compost, unannounced, using a random sample. The result? A pH of 6.9-7.0. That's neutral; not too acidic or alkaline, perfect for most fruits and vegetables.
Listen to the full interview (6:26) with Randy Ritchie to find out more about Malibu's biodynamic compost: