ExpO N&C – 9/2004

Notes and Correspondence.

Newsheet of the Experimental Circle of Gt Britain


Biodynamic Development and Research Group

  • Notes from the Secretary – M Atherton

Found a N&C from 1946 where the name was discussed

  • Thoughts on the Name – Felix Lambe
  • Reply to Felix’s letter – Alan Brockan
  • The practical use of Orthclase – Miles Heasman

The Practical use of Orthoclase and other matters – notes by Miles Heasman

……regarding results (of its use), for me, the whole operation was indeed worthwhile in a really positive way. What is more, it appears that treatment over two consecutive years, ten years ago, has apparently resulted in a permanent improvement in soil condition. Not only was our soil loose and sandy overlaying a clay and ‘shellit’ base but for nearly 100 years the ashes and cinders from aga-type stone etc, had been systematically applied over large areas with gusto and enthusiasm! (shellit is a Cornish term for a subsoil basically consisting of broken soft slate mixed with clay). Hardly an encouraging prospect for fertile humus production.

Our first ten years here saw a good transformation to the basic texture through massive use of biodynamic compost (we had eleven heaps on the go and free access to plenty of farm yard manure). But the general lightness of the soil structure was still in evidence. After the orthoclase exercise there was indeed a fairly speedy and, yes, dramatic improvement.


  • A cow-horn, preferably fresh obviously, is needed. The intention is to bury it on-site (.e. within the area to be treated, whether an allotment size plot or large area).

  • Take a small quantity of orthoclase about the size of a hazelnut or runner bean seed, for example, and mix this carefully and thoroughly with a sample of soil from the general site, moistening slightly if necessary to bind together. Fill this into the cow-horn and place about a spit deep in a hole dug out preferably in an open part of the site. Lay the horn on its side in the bottom and replace the soil. Make sure you clearly mark the place – remember a slightly irritated Rudolf Steiner waiting while those around him frantically tried to remember where they had buried the preps!

  • May month, as early as possible is ideal. Don’t leave it too late and I think I would suggest You do it in northern planting time.

  • Dig up the horn during November and start using the contents straightaway, giving three applications at ten day intervals.

  • Stir a third of the contents into two gallons of rainwater in a three gallon bucket dynamising for fifteen minutes in the usual way,

  • Apply in the manner of 500 preparation,

  • As with 500 and manure concentrate it is best applied after a shower of rain or heavy dew if overcast but again evenings – late afternoon in northern planting. Give the treatment as much help as possible.

  • Retain the horn in moss in a cool place until the following May when you can repeat.