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Weather you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festival of Light, Yule or Winter Solstice you are following ancient traditions. The end of the harvest, usually a jubilant time, finds farmers responding to the shorter days and the first frosts by preparing the plants and animals for winter, also an ancient tradition.
In late fall as the leaves are dropping from the grape vines, there is a flurry of activity in the roots. They are pulling in and storing the last nutrients of the season and holding them until the spring to provide energy for bud break, early cane and leaf growth. One of the most important tools in the BD tool chest is the preparation of BD 500, essentially specially composted cow manure. When properly prepared and applied to the soil it has the effect of stimulating root activity and enhancing the vitality and activity of roots. It is a traditional and obviously logical part of the biodynamic practice to apply BD 500 in the spring to help with the new season’s growth. When looking at vine growth in an annual/cyclical perspective it becomes apparent that a fall application is beneficial. In a sense it puts the vines to bed for their winter rest with a full belly of nutrients so when they wake in the spring they can burst into activity with everything they need. This is something we do each November at Montinore and we have seen a real benefit over the years.
As a Biodynamic farmer, one develops sensitivity to the life cycles of growth on the farm. By paying attention we can time our actions to take advantage of the ebbs and flows of the life energy through the year. May your celebration of the season, however that may look, be joyful and fruitful.