Monty Waldin, 216 PAGES, 2015.
Biodynamic gardening has needed a book like this for a long time. It is hard to grasp many of the methods and techniques used in biodynamic gardening, so this gorgeously illustrated book is just what is needed to quickly understand how biodynamics works. The writing is clear and to the point, it's fun when a great read teaches you so much. Excellent pictures and illustrations take you through all the basic concepts and preparations, such illustrations have been absent in other books on this method. We still recommend Grasp the Nettle as the essential book for biodynamic gardeners and farmers, but for beginners, or the interested, this is the book to get.
This is, in fact, a great book for any beginning gardener to learn all the essential organic gardening techniques. You are immediately walked through some organic basics: garden assessment, making compost, water wisely, welcoming wildlife, companion planting, and seed saving. Then they cover natural remedies: using plants to cure plants (highlighting 16 essential plants and how to use them), kelp liquid manure, compost and weed teas.
The next section is about the biodynamic approach and the planetary cycles. A large portion of the book is devoted to explaining the biodynamic preparations 500-507 and how to make them. Then making a biodynamic compost heap, barrel compost, tree paste, liquid manures, and weed pepper and how to use them.
The many excellent pictures following the creation of the preparations here are a godsend. (All the pictures in this book are very useful). I loaned our review copy to a very experienced biodynamic practitioner, who was completely blown-away by these photos - I think something he had struggled with for years was made clear in these pics, He bought the slightly tattered examination copy - would not part with it.
The last section is a biodynamic year planner that simultaneously covers inter-related but disparate topics: the four seasons, the four crop types (root, leaf, fruit, and flower), and most individual vegetables and trees (giving good descriptions and specific biodynamic planting instructions for each crop).
This is a wider reach than Grasp the Nettle, which assumes you will pick up some of these important but peripheral techniques elsewhere (such as companion planting). Other books on biodynamics delve (in my opinion) too deeply into the mystical aspects (which are "real" and compelling, but) which drives many gardeners away from what is a very practical gardening method. I do heartily recommend looking into some of Rudolph Steiner's writings on spirits and elementals, but not here.