Lessons in Biodynamic Goat Keeping

Lessons in Biodynamic Goat Keeping   Despite all the theory and spiritual discipline that Biodynamic agriculture offers, there is always the practical to consider, and goats are good reminders.  Lesson: always keep a goat busy doing what you want the goat to do. Otherwise, the goat will make the determination herself. Goats need a project…. Read more »

Waning 2013 and Dark Nights

Two young redwoods we planted (left and center) 14 years ago to keep the redwood clump (to the right) company.     When we first began using Biodynamic practices, we were advised by our consultant to plant redwood trees at the east end of our vineyard because the clump of redwoods there were lonely and… Read more »

Holistic Management: New Steps

Good news!  The USDA sees value in this course, partially funding the manual.         We received our manual yesterday: Whole Farm Planning and Management: Introduction to Holistic Management®. One of our New Year Resolutions on our ranch is to begin a process of study through Holistic Management, a system with the motto:… Read more »

Napa Valley Life Magazine: Harms Vineyards and Lavender Fields

Napa Valley Life Magazine: Harms Vineyards and Lavender Fields This month we are honored to be featured in Napa Valley Life Magazine. The issue is a harvest issue with special emphasis on the diversification of agriculture in the Napa Valley. The publisher Kari Ruel and photographer Lowell Downey chose us because of our own work on… Read more »

Blue Dick

These the goats love!  I have to be very careful photographing when the goats are with me, or the flower head is gone, quick as a wink! These are the kinds of plants  our ranch expresses when it is in its full individuality and natural biodiversity. The more I understand, the more I see that not listening… Read more »

Biodynamic “Preps” arrive!

Biodynamic Preparations for 2012 arrive! Last Thursday our “preps” for the year arrived in a rather small box. I am always astonished at how little space is required for the preparations which treat 8 farmed acres over the course of the coming year. We repack the earth or compost preps preparations in ceramic and glass… Read more »

A Way to Begin a Biodynamic Garden: Spring Spraying

Stirring the horned manure, “500”.  We begin the growing year with a biodynamic spray sequence: Barrel Compost (BC Prep), Horned Manure (500), Horned Crystal (501), andthen fermented Equisetum tea. This is a kind of awakening sequence, awakening the soil, the vines, the lavender, and the many other plants growing here, as well as our own… Read more »

Fall Biodynamic Spraying: ‘501″

Buckeye butterfly beneath coyote bush         After harvest we spray the crystal spray “501” on the vines and orchard to help prepare for the fruit the next year. This balances cosmic/solar forces with earth forces. We spray three times, once in each of the fruit (fire) astrological signs: Ares, Leo, and Sagittarius…. Read more »

Equisetum Tea

Equisetum Tea Measuring the dried equisetum for tea. One of the reasons that we can decrease our use of sulfur in the vineyards is the use of equisetum tea. Never is the difference between conventional and Biodynamic farming more evidenced! In conventional farming fungicides and sulfur (not a chemical and thereby also acceptable in organic… Read more »


Using evergreen branch to “spray.” There are several ways to spray the biodynamic preps, depending on the quantity of spraying that you have to do. In the garden we simply take an evergreen branch or a clean paintbrush to swish the stirred prep onto the ground or into the air around the plants.  In the vineyard… Read more »