Welcome to the blog of Johnathan Grieve.
I am the proprietor of Avondale wine estate, and pioneer of the BioLOGIC® approach to sustainable viticulture. The transformation of Avondale from over-used and abused land into a thriving, robust vineyard ecosystem has been a personal learning journey of more than a decade long. This blog is where I share some of what I have learnt about promoting life on our farm and the wonderful impact this has had on our handcrafted premium quality wines.
Weeds are naturally full of nutrients, and when they decompose through fermentation or composting those nutrients become available. Using the problem weed ferment methodology, you can use the following weeds to make specific mineral-enriched teas.read more
Over the past months, I have been writing about some of the different plant-based ferments and peppering used in Biodynamic farming. Cow Pat Pit, known as CPP, is also a ferment. It is not one of Steiner’s Biodynamic Preparations, but was developed by leading Biodynamic proponent, Maria Thun who conducted extensive research into its benefits.read more
One of the year’s highlights has been to bring chickens into Avondale’s Circle of Life and see them thrive. Housed in a converted 1952 Dodge truck, our brood of Rhode Island Reds, Leghorns, Koekoeks and Buff Orpingtons spend their days free ranging and foraging in the vineyards. They’re great at spreading and breaking down the cow manure as they scratch, and at controlling flies by foraging for their larvae. They’re also providing us and FABER Restaurant with fresh pasture-reared eggs.read more
Ferments are not only used to help solve issues. There are a great variety of beneficial ferments that you can use to promote balanced life on the farm. Many of these are especially effective when you are working to transform depleted land into a fertile, natural farm. Essentially, these ferments serve as tonics. Through the fermentation process we create cultures of microbial life, which through their digestion deliver nutrients the soil needs. Different ferments can be made using plant materials or manures to increase nitrogen or phosphorus or trace elements.read more
In this third article in our series of articles about the use of ferments and peppering in the biodynamic system of farming, I am going to share the essential information of how we make and use ferments to help to keep problem weeds in check at Avondale.read more
Also known as Medicago sativa or alfalfa, Lucerne is a wonderful legume as it binds nitrogen and is a wonderfully rich food to help breed up protozoa, which in turn is one of the earthworms’ favourite foods. Protozoa will also keep the bacteria numbers in check.read more
Peppering and Ferments are not a quick-fix. With particularly stubborn weeds the process will be repeated at regular intervals and it can take anywhere between 2 and 4 years to see results. The satisfaction comes from considering how everything fits together and from creating balance.read more