The Energy of Spring at Urlar
Biodynamic activity in spring includes spraying the cow horn manure in the late afternoon during a descending moon. This helps to develop good soil structure by increasing fungi, soil bacteria and earth worm activity; spray horn silica over vines in the early morning so leaves maximize the sun’s energy and strengthens the vine against fungus and insect attack.
We spread our compost made during harvest from the grape stems, skins and seeds mixed together with straw and our very own cow manure. Inserted into the compost piles are small amounts of preparations made from Yarrow, Chamomile, Dandelion and Valerian flowers together with stinging nettle leaves and stems. This provides a great food source for our soil life.
Depending on conditions, this is also when we cultivate and sow our bio-diversity rows to act as homes for our natural predators such as the Tasmanica Wasp. This attacks the leaf roller caterpillar – a harmful pest in the vines that causes botrytis, a fungal disease.
Activity in the vineyard is busy through these crucial months;
Next to harvest, our favourite time of year. Fresh spring growth appears and the frost season begins. The fresh green growth hates to be frosted so we spend many a night out protecting our prized new shoots. Our water frost protection system utililises the natural reaction that when water freezes it produces heat. This is latent heat and keeps the shoots hopefully at 0°c or above
Then, shoot thinning and bud rubbing happens. Shoot thinning is literally that, it is an important job that sets the canopies up for the season, and then all the plants energy can be put into the shoots that we want to keep. Bud rubbing is removing the shoots that appear on the trunk. They are generally too low and detract vigour from the shoots that we want to keep.
Toward the end of spring we are into canopy management and tucking the shoots into their positions between the wires.