In this series of articles about the ferments and peppering used in Biodynamic farming, we looked at how to make and use a problem weed ferment to keep problem plants under control.  Another technique, which can be used as well as ferment, is a problem weed pepper.

Peppering is using the ash of the species you want to target.  It works by engaging in the rhythms and energies of the farm to communicate that the environment is not conducive to the problem plant.  As with a pepper for problem animal control, the decision to use a pepper to discourage a certain plant species must only be made after careful consideration.

Weeds tell us stories about what’s happening in the plant community on the farm, and they highlight deficiencies and conditions we might want to solve.  You have to consider that if you get rid of a particular storyteller, you might miss out on messages you need to read.  You also have to think about the role the weed plays in the plant community, and what might rise up to fill the gap.

Specifically, we always look at a multi-pronged approach to a problem weed.  We need to firstly balance the soil nutrition, and then follow by planting cover crops that we want in the vineyards and then follow up with the peppers and ferments.

How do we make a pepper for the control of a problem weed?

There are two critical requirements for making this pepper:

Firstly, the weeds must be burnt when the moon is in the constellation when they get their energy. This will be different for various species of plants.

There is a concept that if you are unsure of the constellation then take a ‘shot gun approach’.  In other words, ash the seeds every day for a month and by doing this you will ensure that you have at least burnt it through each constellation.  Maybe not accurate, but at least it seems to work.

Secondly, it must be made from specific  reproductive parts of the plant,  most importantly including  the seeds.

To make the pepper:

  1. Make a wood fire.
  2. Place an old pot or pan, or a sheet of corrugated iron over the fire.
  3. Burn the plant parts to ash, and then let it cool down.
  4. Grind the ashes into powder. 

How do we apply a problem weed pepper?

A pepper for problem weed control must be applied during the full moon period when plants are at their peak.

There are two common ways to apply it:

Firstly, you can mix the pepper into some sand, and sprinkle it in the area where the plant occurs and also around the boundaries of the area.  You can use 10 grams of ash to a bucket of sand.

Secondly, you can potentize the pepper.  Potentizing uses the homeopathic decimal scale for dilution, and D8 is the optimal dilution for a pepper.  You potentize to D7 if you want to store the pepper.  This works as follows:

D1 is 10gm ash mixed with 90ml distilled water
D2 is 10ml D1 mixed and shaken up with 90ml distilled water
D3 is 10ml D2 mixed and shaken up with 90ml distilled water
D4 is 10ml D3 mixed and shaken up with 90ml distilled water
D5 is 10ml D4 mixed and shaken up with 90ml distilled water
D6 is 10ml D5 mixed and shaken up with 90ml distilled water
D7 is 10ml D6 mixed and shaken up with 90ml distilled water (Stop here if you want to store the pepper which should be stabilized by adding ethyl alcohol)

D8 is 10ml D7 mixed and shaken up with 90ml distilled water

The pepper is now just like a homeopathic tincture, and it can be sprayed in the affected field or vineyard. Don’t be shy; the tincture can be applied whenever and at every opportunity.  Maybe through irrigation, when planting seeds and when engaging the soils spray it onto the implements. Become inventive!

The pepper can also be applied through a field broadcaster.

Over time, the pepper works to discourage the problem weeds from being in the treated environment.  It is not a silver bullet, so you need to have patience and perseverance.  At Avondale, we don’t use a pepper as a single remedy.  Rather, we use it in conjunction with a ferment made from the problem weed, as well as other ferments that can help correct the nutritional imbalance that is causing the weed to become a problem.

Read how to make and use a problem weed ferment to keep problem plants under control