The last of our grapes have been harvested, and now as we wait for the winter rain, we are busy preparing the vineyards for dormancy.
Our Nguni herd is a valuable link to the biodynamic chain on our farm and as our composting machines also provide us with preps that will sustain and boost the vineyards during their winter sleep. Biodynamic farming practices work to achieve soil health through compost, diversified crop rotations and incorporation of livestock. As farmers we rely on eight specific preparations for the soil, crops and compost to enhance soil and plant quality, and to stimulate the composting process.
The eight preparations, designated by their ingredients or by numbers 500 to 507, are made from cow manure; silica; the flowers of yarrow, chamomile, dandelion and valerian; oak bark; and the stinging nettle plant. A ninth prep, often referred to as 508, is made from horsetail and is used for fungal disease. During autumn we use prep 500 and prep 501; prep 500 will boost the roots while prep 501 will provide much needed resources to the leaves of the vines.