Biodynamic Tree Paste (BTP) comes from the tradition of lime-washing the trunks of orchard trees in the winter to combat pests and provide the trees a boost. It is generally applied in winter in a descending moon to boost health, combat fungal diseases and pests and to help heal pruning cuts.

Hugh Lovel gives a gives an overview of the history and principles of BTP and a recipe at http://www.quantumagriculture.com/node/178. He sums it up well when he says “The idea is one of building, strengthening and enriching the bark and trunk of the tree, which can be thought of as the ‘soil’ out of which the tree’s vegetative growth springs.” I also found a great simplified recipe and a video demo from Backyard Biodynamics at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VHRtDOo8k0.

We made our BTP at the gardens based on the Backyard Biodynamics recipe, with some of the other things I found in other recipes added back in based on what we felt was right for our place. Ingredients: 4 parts certified organic composted cow manure (easier to get around here than actual cow pats); 3 parts fine clay (ours had some grit in it and wasn’t bentonite but it had to do); 2 parts fine diatomaceous earth; 1 part volcanic dust; 1 part agricultural lime (some recipe’s recommended slaked lime, but that didn’t feel right to me); A 1/4 part of zeolite (probably not needed); some seaweed concentrate and; enough rainwater (about 10 parts) to blend it all to the consistency of paint.

Method: Soak the clay for a few days or more. Put the rainwater in a non-reactive container and expose it to the sun and stars for several days and nights. Assemble all the ingredients. Dilute the seaweed concentrate into the water to about half the strength you would use on vegetables. Put all the dry ingredients in a wheelbarrow with a little seaweed-water and mix lovingly by hand in a wheelbarrow, gradually adding more water until it reaches the consistency of paint.  Transfer the mixture to a tall bucket and stir in the usual biodynamic way to further energise the solution with both yin and yang. Stir for an hour, or at least as much of hour as you can. Then, paint the trunk and bark of the tree as high as you can reach.

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