Biodynamic Farming Simplified Into Four Steps
When we talk about biodynamic farming, we focus on health, quality, and vitality. Healthier vines make better fruit and the power to continue to live and grow.
Biodiversity is looking at the farm as a whole, which brings in opportunities to have flowers, insects, plants, and animals... accomplishing the overall goal of a healthy farm. When you have more diversity on your farm, you have a better farm. One of Dave’s favorite ways to explain this goes back to a question he got while taking a biodynamic farm tour. The question was, “How do the chickens make the chardonnay taste better?” Loving the question, he answered, “I can’t tell you how exactly chickens make chardonnay better, but I can tell you that they make the farm better, and the healthier the farm, the better the fruit.”
Using compost and cover crops go hand in hand. When you address the soil health on a farm or vineyard, you’re looking at billions of living organisms; you’re looking at the life of it. One easy way to understand this is to think about how being surrounded by good people can have a positive effect that will last for months or even generations. It’s the same concept with a healthy farm. Good soil health and management is teeming with life (when you add compost, you give it a food source). When asked to consult on the health of a farm, the first question Dave asks is, “what kind of compost are you using.” To learn more about the importance of compost and cover crops, listen to Jim Duane’s podcast, Inside the Winemaker. Dave was featured in the episode Compost and Organic Farming.
When you start paying close attention to your farm system (vines), you begin to notice that the farm works in rhythm, and you want to work with that rhythm. When looking at farming practices, there is always the best time, a good time, an okay time, and a time you should avoid. You don’t always choose the timing because there are so many variables, but if you’re not observant of what the plant wants and needs, you will miss opportunities to improve your vineyard. Instead, observe how the plant wants to live and work. When you do this, you’re making it better for the plant and the quality of the farming.
Biodynamic preps were created back in the 1920s by Rudolph Steiner to help farmers enhance the nutrients in their farms. Biodynamic preps are made from herbs, mineral substances, and animal manures that are utilized in field sprays and very specific compost which influence the soil. Using biodynamic preps is the icing on the cake. You can’t just do biodynamic preps without doing the three steps above. To learn more about biodynamic preps, listen to Jim Duane’s podcast, Inside the Winemaker. Dave was featured in the episode titled Beyond The Cowhorn.