Mike Sinor’s Passion for Flavor—Not Dogma—via Biodynamic Agriculture

Biodynamic Gardening Report 61—August 1-14, 2015

“BD makes [the wine] taste better,” says winemaker Mike Sinor of Sinor-LaVallee Wine Company in Avila Beach. Farmer Ralph Johnson and I visit their new tasting room to discuss biodynamics—a.k.a. BD—in the vineyard and in the glass. Interview highlights—including a description of Sinor-LaVallee’s goal of a closed loop system in their vineyard and what Mike really thinks about sustainability—appear at the start of the latest episode of the Biodynamic Gardening Report. Listen to the full 20+ minute interview with Mike Sinor below.

worm castings

Worm castings at Sinor-LaVallee’s Bassi Vineyard

The moon was full July 31. The moon begins the third quarter by moving through Aquarius on August 1. It’s an air sign which is dry and barren. These are excellent days to kill weeds and clean the garden. This is also a good time to fertilize and add compost.

On August 2-3, the moon will move through the constellation of Pisces. It’s a water sign which is moist and very productive. It’s a good time to transplant and plant seeds for root crops.

On August 4-5, the moon will move into the constellation Aries, a fire sign which is dry and barren. Because this is a poor day for planting, work ground instead.

JRJO_Taurus_newThe fourth quarter of the moon starts on August 6 when the moon moves into the constellation Taurus. Taurus is an earth sign which is moist and productive. August 6 is the best day for planting root crops and transplanting all kinds of plants. On August 7, just work ground and eliminate garden pests.

On August 8-9, the moon moves into the constellation of Gemini, an air sign which is dry and barren. Seeds planted on these days tend to rot.

On August 10-12, the moon moves into the constellation Cancer, a water sign that is moist and very fruitful. Although the moon is in its fourth quarter, it would be okay to transplant and plant root crops.

On August 13-14, the moon moves through the constellation of Leo. It’s a fire sign which is dry and barren: no planting but you can work ground and do general yard work. The new moon is on August 14.

Now is the time to start thinking about planting seeds for the fall. During the third quarter, you should have planted your fall root crops. With the upcoming new moon, get your seeds ready for planting all your above-ground fall crops.

—Ralph Johnson


Biodynamic gardening principles—some of the most ancient agricultural practices on the planet—require the farmer’s attention to moon phases and constellations to pursue the most effective gardening and farming practices on any given day in the month. San Luis Obispo County farmer Ralph Johnson of Jrjohnson Biodynamic Farms provides insight into how the moon’s phases affect gardening success.


—music: “in THE crowd” by The Years

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