Using BD Preparations in Gardens

Once you have the preps put them immediately into glass jars with top left on loosely. (Baby food jars work well for the compost preps and half-pint jars work for the 500 (Horn manure) and BC (Barrel compost). These jars should be buried in peat moss in a wood box. The peat moss secures the concentration of the preps. Keep the box in a cool dark area. You will want to put the 501 (horn silica) – it looks like icing sugar – in a glass jar with holes in the lid and put it in a window in the sunshine.  Don’t forget to label the lids.

The container for mixing the 500, 501 and Barrel Compost preparations, in order of preference is: a wood barrel with straight sides; a metal (stainless steel is best) barrel/pail, an old metal garbage bin works well; a ceramic container like a five-gallon crock is good; a plastic five-gallon pail. The containers should have straight sides for easier stirring and should hold at least five gallons of liquid.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe 500 (Horn Manure) is mixed about 1 oz (28 grams) in two gallons/ 8-10 liters of warm (preferably) rain water any time after 3pm.  Stir first one way until you get a good vortex in the pail, then reverse the stirring in the other direction until you get a good vortex again. You continue stirring one way then the other for one hour. By doing this you are potentizing the mixture, thereby creating a homeopathic substance. The 500 is sprayed on the ground in large droplets. We often just use a handful of cedar branches or a hand broom to flick the mixture around. The 500 promotes root growth and aids humus formation, thus improving the water-holding capacity of the soil and stimulating the microbes to help the plant take up what it needs. Use this spray after you have put down your compost and before you plant your plants or seeds. The 500 can be sprayed a second time later in the season.  If you have already planted, then spray on the ground between the rows.

The same mixing procedure is used for the 501 (Horn Silica). Mix for one hour 1 gram of 501 in two gallons of cool rainwater early in the morning. This potentized mixture is sprayed in the air above the plants in a fine mist. It promotes photosynthesis and increases assimilation of nutrients and the production of chlorophyll, as well as giving structure to the plants. It is important that the 501 is sprayed before 10am because spraying later could result in plants with burned leaves or stunted growth. BD 501 is also used to help stave off fungal disease and increase the fruit’s flavour, colour and post-harvest quality. It is used by grape growers and orchardists to increase Brix (sugar) levels. Apply the 501 when the flower buds are opening on tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and flowers. Spray 501 on fruit trees when the fruit begins to form. Potatoes are best sprayed when flower formation begins and members of the cruciferae family respond to repeated applications. Use 501 in the greenhouse once the fruit has set.



Barrel Compost helps decompose material in the ground and turn it into humus. If you chose to use this preparation, mix it the same as 500 and 501 but only for 20 minutes 1 oz(28 grams) in two gallons of rainwater later in the afternoon. This preparation is sprayed like the 500, in large droplets on the soil and grass late in the afternoon. It can be sprayed on the soil 24 hours before spraying the 500, or these preparations tend to negate each other somewhat.

The rest of the preps are placed in the compost pile. Once the compost pile is built and ready to be left (not turned any more), make evenly spaced holes on the edge of the pile and extending into the middle. The preps are placed in sequence in the holes 502 – 506. The 507 (Valerian) is mixed 30 drops to 1 gallon of water in the 500/501 fashion for 10 minutes, and sprayed over the compost pile to protect it. The pile is then covered with a thin layer of soil, straw or some kind of mulch (not plastic) to protect it against too much rain or snow. It is then left undisturbed until the next spring when it is used on the garden.

The compost preps have the following functions:

  • 502 Yarrow – used to attract potassium and trace elements such as selenium and sulphur
  • 503 Chamomile – stabilize nitrogen, calcium and sulphur, as well as magnesium and boron
  • 504 Stinging nettle –  aids in chlorophyll formation and stimulates iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulphur activity in the soil.
  • 505 Oak bark – is used to help restore water balance after too much rain or a full moon. It also helps protect against fungal diseases and stimulates calcium and phosphorus activity in the soil.
  • 506 Dandelion – used to increase flowering and filling of fruit.
  • 507 Valerian – used to mobilize phosphorus – activating bacteria as well as selenium and magnesium.

508 (horsetail, or equisetum) is not applied to a compost pile, but is recommended by Steiner for fungal diseases as a foliar spray or root dip.

Note:  The rates for application of 500 and 501 on a farm are a bit different. The volume of water is reduced to about ¼ the amount suggested for the garden or two litres per acre. This is because sprayer nozzles can be set finer than garden sprayers and so the farmer gets a more concentrated rate for the farm.