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Moon Gardening (Astrological Gardening)

rynner2

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i don't normally pay much attention to the gardening pages, but this caught my attention:
ANCIENT PLANT LORE IN TUNE WITH THE MOON

11:00 - 27 January 2007

Mention the term moon gardening and some folk imagine it involves an excruciatingly early alarm call to don wellies and tramp out in the dead of night to tend your plants in virtual darkness.That, of course, would be a bit daft. As John Harris well knows - and will explain to anyone who takes the time to listen - moon gardening has nothing to do with night-time toil and everything to do with keeping in tune with the monthly lunar phases.

So, a plant's life cycle - from tilling seeds to flowering and harvesting, in the case of fruit and vegetables - is timetabled according to whether the moon is in its first, second, third or fourth quarter.

The passionate and universally respected Cornish gardener adds to this a knowledge of companion planting - which plants help each other to thrive or perish - and an understanding of how gardeners worked before the arrival of today's technology.

It's a method dear to the heart of the Newquay-born horticulture expert, lecturer, water diviner, poet, storyteller, parish councillor, father and grandfather, who has been masterminding the restoration of the gardens of the private Tresillian estate for more than 20 years, but whose wealth of deep-rooted knowledge has been built up since childhood days.

As John says, it is accepted that the moon affects the tides in the ocean, and it follows that it also affects the gravitational pull of the water table running underground, which has everything to do with how well a plant will survive.

"Even from back in the 1960s I have had a fascination with moon gardening," he says. "I realised there was more to growing than throwing water around."

Here at Tresillian, which is open to the public by appointment, everything in the 20-acre garden is raised organically, with no artificial pesticides or fertilisers - and, incredibly, nothing planted in the ground is ever watered.

The significance of this is so huge in these days of water shortages and hosepipe bans that it's astounding we're not all tuned in to the ancient methods employed by John and his team.

Of course, it is not a new theory by any means. John picked up on it over the years by talking to gardeners from far and wide.

"Water is the most precious commodity we have, yet it's the one we waste most," he says, shaking his head.

As a regular gardening presenter and commentator on Radio Cornwall, John is always meeting fellow garden lovers, particularly at the Chelsea Flower Show.

One encounter a few years ago was particularly significant - a meeting with an American professor who was descended from the Sioux tribe.

"We got talking about moon gardening and water conservation and what he told me really brought home how things used to be done and the sense of it all," John says.

"What I do now is exactly what the Maoris in New Zealand, the Incas, the Aborigines, the South American Indians and the Native Americans have been doing for centuries."

It was with the premise of preserving the old ways that John approached the recovery of the grounds at Tresillian, particularly the restoration of the walled Victorian kitchen garden. He uses old seed varieties whenever possible, and has become an expert in the preservation of dozens of old apple varieties from Cornwall and beyond.

His research into the subject is never-ending. Shelves in his little office on the estate are stacked with books of varying vintage, and while he has adopted many of the methods of the head gardeners who have gone before him, he has rejected the use of poisons used ruthlessly in earlier times to ensure that pests and diseases didn't spoil the crop.

The garden has become a Mecca for students at all levels of horticultural training, including those from the local Duchy College - in spite of John's own lack of classroom training. Now aged 66, he is on a mission to pass on everything he has learned to the next generation.

"If we don't save this knowledge, the old ways will be lost forever," he says, while acknowledging that you also have to be switched on to modern ways in order to present an educated argument.

To this end he put pen to paper and - with the assistance of professional writer and editor Will Summers - wrote his best-selling book Moon Gardening, which has had four print runs since its debut in 2002.

A completely revised edition is due out in March, and the associated website is booming, with hits from as far afield as Costa Rica and Northern India. It takes the form of an A to Z of how to produce common soft fruits and vegetables using the moon method, with 127 tips and 130 associated panels.

"I only wrote the book to preserve knowledge - not for personal gratification. I never thought in my wildest dreams that it would open such a communication with people all over the world," says John.

His wife Olive, whom he has known since he was just four years old, gives him sterling secretarial support and takes photographs of the garden's progress.
article continues: http://tinyurl.com/yoot3v
 
Ooh! Urgh! You be wanting to talk to them Rudolf Steiner, 'Biodynamic', gardener types, what lives up on the hill and shovels ...
Cue Archers theme, "Dum-di-dum-di-dum-di-dum-dum-di-dum-di-dum-dum."
 
Pietro_Mercurios said:
You be wanting to talk to them Rudolf Steiner, 'Biodynamic', gardener types
Blimey! they seem to blur the distinction between nature lore and astrology:
The most striking thing one notices about the year 2007 is the unusually large number of occultations by the Moon of every other planetary body in the solar system except Jupiter and the now demoted Pluto. A total of 23 such occultation events occur beginning with a Saturn occultation on January 6 and ending with a Mars occultation on December 24. One can only be struck with the coincidence that this extraordinarily large number of occultations begins on Three King's Day and ends twelve months later on Christmas Eve. The year sees the end of the long series of occultations by the Moon of the planet Uranus, only to be succeeded by another lengthy series of occultations involving first Saturn with ten occultations from January through October and then Neptune with five during the period of July through December. Beyond these two planets, there are another seven occultations during the year involving Mercury, Venus and Mars. During the twenty-five or more years of observing closely occultation phenomena, I can not recall any year that has been quite this prolific in number of occultations. Exactly what this forebodes for agriculture is most uncertain, but prior observations over the years suggests that effects will not be positive. It should be noted that the diminished yarrow flowering seen during 2005 after the Venus transit of 2004 did not carry over to 2006. In fact, if anything the yarrow bloom in 2006 can only be described as outstanding. We will, of course, be very interested to observe what effects, if any, the Mercury transit of the Sun on November 8, 2006 might have on plants such as Chamomile and others that have traditionally been assigned to the planet Mercury for rulership.
.....................
For ashing of animal pests
With respect to vertebrate animals, Steiner specified that the skin of the animal must be burned when the planet Venus is 'in the Scorpion.' The resultant pepper is then scattered over the area to be protected from the particular animal. In the case of deer, mice, voles, gophers, groundhogs (woodchucks), coyotes and the like, one should use as much of the skin/hide as possible, but probably should omit from the ashing process the feet or other parts containing flesh or bone. For crows, pigeons, and other bird pests, skins as well as feathers are probably desired, again omitting flesh and bone from the ashing process. Given the fact that there are times when Venus is in Scorpio when some animals would be in hibernation and thus not as readily 'harvestable', one can probably gather the skin of the 'pest' at other times during the year rather than only when 'Venus is in the Scorpion.'
..................................
For ashing of weed seeds
This is a complicated issue, since it appears that each particular weed has a relationship to a particular constellation and can best be countered or ashed when the Moon is in that constellation. Maria Thun in her research has repeatedly observed that germination of all weeds is greatest when the Moon is in the constellation Leo/Lion and the least germination takes place when the Moon is in the constellation Capricorn/Goat. Therefore, in soil preparation, one would be well-served to cultivate when the Moon is in Leo/Lion to stimulate the greatest weed germination, and follow with final seedbed cultivation when the Moon is in Capricorn/Goat. If one consistently followed this pattern, weed problems would be greatly diminished.

etc
http://www.biodynamics.com/advisory.html

and this bonkers government wants to promote Steiner schools:
A state-funded Steiner school could open in September under the government's city academy programme.
A feasibility study on bringing the independent school in Herefordshire into the maintained sector will be put before ministers in the coming weeks.

The academy would not have to follow the national curriculum, but would introduce national tests in key areas.

Steiner schools give priority to educating the "whole child", with a strong emphasis on creativity.

The academy bid would see a new school building constructed alongside the existing building.

The sponsor for the new academy is the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship.

The Department for Education and Skills said, in line with its commitment to offer greater degrees of parental choice, it was working with the Steiner group to explore "different, but effective, educational principles".

"Academies must provide a broad and balanced curriculum - this is one of the conditions of their funding agreement - and can specialise in one or more subjects," a DfES spokeswoman said.

"They must teach the national curriculum core subjects like all others and carry out Key Stage 3 assessment tests in English, maths and science

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6290115.stm
...and astrology? :shock:
 
My Mother had an uncle who was a farmer that only planted and reaped by lunar signs.

And a very successful farmer he seemed to be.

Of course the fact that he also owned one of the largest new automobile dealerships in Greater Cincinnati probably didn't hurt anything either.
 
This seems to belong here:

Can lunar cycles affect the taste of wine?

Supermarkets are arranging wine tasting sessions around "good" and "bad" days as dictated by the lunar calendar. So does the Moon really change the taste of wine?

A German great-grandmother called Maria Thun is wielding huge influence on the British wine industry.

A calendar she first published in the 1950s categorises days as "fruit", "flower", "leaf" or "root", according to the Moon and stars. Wine is best on fruit days, followed by flower, leaf and root days. The worst day is marked as "unfavourable" in the calendar. (See factbox below for forthcoming "good" and "bad" days).

Tesco and Marks & Spencer are the latest supporters of her philosophy. The two supermarkets have revealed that they have a policy of inviting critics to taste their wine only on days which the calendar says are favourable. :shock:

Her theory is that wine is a living organism that responds to the Moon's rhythms in the same way that some people believe humans do. The so-called "lunar effect" has been widely dismissed as pseudo-science but its followers think that as the Moon exerts such a huge impact on the tides, it must follow that it affects the water in the human body and therefore human behaviour.

The belief that wine can taste different depending on the day it's drunk is not as eccentric as it may sound. All wine experts tend to agree - although their theories on why vary. 8)

Wine merchant David Motion has recently been won over to Maria Thun's "biodynamic" calendar theory.

"We tried eight wines on Tuesday, which was a leaf day and then the same wines again on Thursday, which was a fruit day. And it was totally conclusive.

"It wasn't that the wine tasted bad on the Tuesday but it was much more expressive on the Thursday. It was more exuberant and on-song. It was like the heavens opened, the clouds parted and the wine just expressed itself." :roll:

UPCOMING GOOD AND BAD WINE DAYS
Flower: Now until 2100 Tues
Leaf: 2200 Tues to 0800 Weds
Unfavourable: 0800 Weds to 1600 Weds
Leaf: 1700 Weds to 1900 Weds
Fruit: 2000 Weds to 1100 Thurs
Leaf: 1200 Thurs to 1700 Fri
Fruit: 1800 Fri to 0900 Sun
Root: 1000 Sun to 1700 Mon
Source: Maria Thun's Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar 2009

The trial solved his long-standing puzzlement at why the same wine could taste so much better on certain days. From now on, he says, his wine shop in north London will only hold tasting sessions on fruit days.

The biodynamic calendar is part of the wider concept of biodynamic farming, pioneered by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. The philosophy is similar to organic farming but a key difference is that planting and sowing is timed according to the moon.

Biodynamic farming has itself had an influence on the growing industry - with some wine growers running their vineyards along these lines.


Despite its growing traction in viticulture there's still much scepticism in the trade, with some scientists dismissing it as sorcery.

The resident wine expert at London's Vinopolis, Tom Forrest, agrees it all sounds a "little bit like witchcraft".

"But having thought about it and spoken to biodynamic wine producers, I'm more sure there is some sort of influence. Whether it's a huge influence or not, I don't know."

The Moon can impact on a plant through changing water levels, he says, so there is something to be said for the way it can influence wine.

But Jamie Goode, a wine scientist and author of online magazine wineanorak, thinks too much is made of planetary alignments and the lunar calendar.

"But I'm not going to say it's absolute nonsense. Wine tastes different on different days but the differences are not that huge and the differences are more about atmospheric pressure.

"And we are part of the equation when it comes to tasting wine. We are not measuring devices. The taste of the wine is something we generate in response to the wine."

People taste wine with expectations, and part of that could be the knowledge that it is a "good" day for wine, he says. Mood also influences

There are other aspects of biodynamic farming that could explain why producers that switch to it from conventional methods tend to improve the quality of their wine, he says. And they have nothing to do with the Moon.

They don't use pesticides, they compost, they till manually and they use other crops to create a more diverse eco-system.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8008167.stm
 
Though not an advocate of astrology, the moon does affect our world in dramatic and more intangible ways, as it always has (and according to a recent new scientist item life on the planet may only be possible because of the size & affect that our satellite has on the planet).

So if in history life has been shaped by the movements of the earth & moon in space, it seems very plausible that plants eveolved in response to celestial stimuli.
 
..according to a recent new scientist item life on the planet may only be possible because of the size & affect that our satellite has on the planet
I normally scan NS online, but didn't notice that story - is there a link for it?

(A lot of such claims are based on the false idea that there'd be no tides without the moon: there would still be tides, caused by the sun, but with a tidal range about one third of what we have now.)
 
OldTimeRadio said:
My Mother had an uncle who was a farmer that only planted and reaped by lunar signs.
I'm very ignorant about farming/gardening in general - do almanacs work on things happening in the sky, and are they used to plan plantings etc?
 
rynner2 said:
I normally scan NS online, but didn't notice that story - is there a link for it?

It was in the mag, so it must be online somewhere I guess - give me a couple of days & i'll try to find the article.
 
rynner2 said:
This seems to belong here:

Can lunar cycles affect the taste of wine?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8008167.stm
A similar article from today's Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink ... astes.html
"I know it sounds the most frightful hocus-pocus," says Doug Wregg, Les Caves de Pyrène's director of marketing and sales. "But the more we investigated, the more we found the calendar to be accurate. Wines that smelt and tasted great on fruit or flower days were noticeably less attractive on leaf or root days. I agree that there are other variables that need to be taken into account, but it's a bit like Pascal's Wager and whether or not you believe in God. You've nothing to lose by following it. Our last half dozen tastings have been on fruit days and have been successes."
....
To view the calendar online, visit http://bunkahle.com/astrolog/mocal.cgi
 
the right time

there is the right time to do anything. setting fence posts is a prime example. do it at the wrong time of the moon and the posts will always be wobbly, and at the right time the posts will set in good and there will be lots of dirt left over.
 
H_James said:
OldTimeRadio said:
My Mother had an uncle who was a farmer that only planted and reaped by lunar signs.
I'm very ignorant about farming/gardening in general - do almanacs work on things happening in the sky, and are they used to plan plantings etc?

Good lord, how did Mr. James get left hanging so long on such a simple question?

Yes, almanacs work on "things happening in the sky." The original purpose of the almanac was to put the solar and lunar calendars into the same place as a guide to the agricultural year. This naturally included astrological calculations, since they're too complex for most people and at the time everyone believed in it. (Good enough for the ancient Greeks, good enough them!) Because decisions about planting and harvesting can be so complex and are so vital to personal economy (you lose your crop,you lose your year), weather predictions, historical notes, and folk wisdom were all natural additions; and from there it steamrollered.

An almanac might be the only book in a rural family's home apart from the Bible - and they would buy one every year, making it an important source of income for printers. In order to get that money, though, the almanac had to be as useful as possible. The Civil War era Texas almanacs I've consulted for research squeezed the past year's most important news, the names of the state's officials right down to local postmasters, manpower of home defense units, advice on sheep raising, summaries of new Confederate and state regulations and taxes, the phases of the moon, recipes for home remedies, and planting advice onto the absurdly small amount of paper available; a handy all-purpose reference no frontier family would want to go without (and you can hang it up in the outhouse when the year's over - coarse by modern standards, but still softer than a corn cob).
 
Moon planting: just a passing phase
While there are many believers, it hasn’t been proven to work.
By Ken Thompson
6:00AM GMT 13 Jan 2012

I still recall a letter I read a few years ago in the National Trust magazine. The writer recounted how he sowed his runner beans before the end of April and only two germinated, but when he planted a second batch in May he achieved 90 per cent germination within a fortnight.

No great surprise there, you may think. Late April/early May is rather a borderline time for the seeds of a subtropical plant like runner beans, and you are taking a chance sowing them before the end of April, even under glass. There is always a risk that an early sowing will just rot, but with every week that passes the weather warms up and your chances of success increase. Did our letter writer draw this conclusion? No, he did not. A firm believer in planting by the moon, he attributed his success in May to the new moon at that time, which is apparently propitious for runner beans.

You can therefore imagine the sinking feeling with which I read a brief article in a recent issue of the RHS magazine The Garden, which attempts to breathe some life into the moribund carcase of moon planting.
The main argument is as simple as it is wrong: the writer says that “the science is lacking”, yet believers “have a gut feeling that it just might be true”, so “why not?”.

Well, the answer to “why not?” is easy: It doesn’t work. In 2003, Which? Gardening carried out a thorough test of planting by the moon, using the lunar sowing calendar published annually by Nicholas Kollerstrom, which is itself based closely on the famous Maria Thun original. Their results showed no difference at all in the yield of calabrese, beetroot or lettuce sown on “good” days and “bad” days.

Note, by the way, that although we talk loosely about “planting by the moon”, the biodynamic calendar is not strictly about the moon itself, but about its position in front of the 12 constellations of the zodiac, each of which has an affinity with one of the four elements earth, air, fire and water. So, below-ground crops such as carrots need to be sown when the moon is passing through the constellations of Capricorn, Taurus or Virgo – all associated with the earth element.

Just so we understand each other perfectly, am I suggesting you should stop every slightly irrational gardening practice, if it works for you? No, I’m not. After all, where would medicine be if we were forbidden from using treatments that seem to work, even if no one has a clue why? What I am suggesting is that you shouldn’t waste your time on things that have been convincingly shown not to work.

Apart from being indicative of a slight softness of the brain, at least planting by the moon is harmless. But here are a few more ideas for you, arranged in approximately declining order of acceptability: ley lines exist; dousing works; governments are covering up visits by extraterrestrials, homoeopathic medicines differ in their properties from pure water; anthropogenic climate change is a myth; all GM crops are inherently dangerous; the MMR vaccine causes autism. There’s no evidence for any of these, but plenty of people “have a gut feeling they just might be true”, and not all such people are obviously certifiable (although I would take a long detour to avoid anyone who believed all of them). 8)

So the next time you are pondering whether the relative positions of objects hundreds of light years away affects the growth of your parsnips, just bear in mind that’s the first step down the slippery slope to believing almost anything, for example that Uri Geller really can bend spoons without touching them, or that there actually is a Nigerian out there who would like to make you a present of five million dollars.

And before you invest in a copy of Kollerstrom’s book, spend a few moments with Google to check out a few of the other things Kollerstrom believes.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/90 ... phase.html
 
I used to plant my vegies by the moon, but realised that harvesting a successive prior planting every month meant that by the time we ate the end of that months plantings, quite a few went to seed, or gained a coarseness in taste.

I then came across planting by the stars, or moon signs, and rediscovered a much better system.


As the moon goes through 4 phases which corresponded with the elements (fire earth air and water), so do the moon signs, but this happens every 56 hours or so, instead of 672 hours, which means that instead of planting once a month, you can plant 4 different types of Vegies every week - a much better proposition about continuity for freshness and vitality.


Another strange occurence is that every progressive full moon is held on the previous astrological moon sign, therefore this full moon was in pisces, but the next one will be in aries, and so on and so on, which if you want to read into the Universe, mind traps concerning answers about the sublimity of infernal clocks and universal harmonics, it means that by knowing what the full moons star sign is, you'll always be able to plant in the optimal signs.
 
Interesting, Mungoman. :)

I've never tried astrological gardening, but there is a farmer a few miles away who uses astrological principles. He believes in doing things the old way, and you can see him late on moonlit nights tooling around in the fields on his tractor.
 
Interesting, Mungoman. :)

I've never tried astrological gardening, but there is a farmer a few miles away who uses astrological principles. He believes in doing things the old way, and you can see him late on moonlit nights tooling around in the fields on his tractor.


We do a lot of night tractor work down here Ulalame - more for comfort and convenience, along with expedience to get the crop in, or when planting, to reduce trans-evaporation from the soil - and a moon dance now and again never hurt, did it

The astrological planting came from a wonderful series of American books concerning old farming practices brought to America by migrants, and also growing techniques from the First Nations and Native Americans, and astrological planting was one of them. It intrigued me, but I thought that it was too restrictive - only planting in that phase of the moon, and only when that star sign was compatible.


I started out with planting a couple of radish seeds every day for a couple of months to see what happened and came to a theory from my ratbaggery that there was something in it. The results were those planted in the first quarter generally had more green lush growth than tuber except for those planted in an air sign which did well, both above and below the ground.

Those planted in the second quarter tended to bolt (go to seed), with smaller tubers, apart from those planted when the moon was once again in an air sign.


Those that were planted in the third quarter did very nicely indeed with minimal top growth and lovely full tubers, and those planted in an air sign did especially well.


Those planted in the fourth quarter did not do particularly well, with some seed not germinating.


I then started to apply it to other aspects of farmlife, even down to keeping records of milk production, egg laying - even castrating in the last quarter - and came to the conclusion that there is something to it.


By then we were growing vegies for market, shallots, zuchini, beans, beetroot, parsley, lettuce cabbage and of course radishes in their respective seasons with us being able to harvest our radishes after three weeks of planting the seed, with our beets being ready in 11 weeks time.


It was a lovely time for me, two young'uns who followed dad about, the right age (30) vitality coursing through my
veins, and me doing something I wanted to do and there being just enough weirdness in my life to satisfy that quirk that needs quirking...but then again, I come from an area where it was known that the good Lady wife helped to produce a good crop, by planting her bare behind in a tilled field for a more bountiful harvest...
 
Another strange occurence is that every progressive full moon is held on the previous astrological moon sign, therefore this full moon was in pisces, but the next one will be in aries, and so on and so on, which if you want to read into the Universe, mind traps concerning answers about the sublimity of infernal clocks and universal harmonics, it means that by knowing what the full moons star sign is, you'll always be able to plant in the optimal signs.
This is because, in our era, there are about 13 lunar months in a year. The Moon circles the starry background in several days less than an average calendar month.

But over the long term, the moon is being pushed away from the Earth by tidal forces, and eventually the two bodies will be gravitationally locked, with the Moon's new sidereal month equal to the Earth's new (and longer) day. I wonder how the current-day astrological prognostications will pan out in these coming and changing millenia! ;)
 
Tha
This is because, in our era, there are about 13 lunar months in a year. The Moon circles the starry background in several days less than an average calendar month.

But over the long term, the moon is being pushed away from the Earth by tidal forces, and eventually the two bodies will be gravitationally locked, with the Moon's new sidereal month equal to the Earth's new (and longer) day. I wonder how the current-day astrological prognostications will pan out in these coming and changing millenia! ;)


Thank you Rynner2, the logic has always escaped me until now, but when explained, it seems so obvious.

The moon at present has a difference of 60,000 kilometres between apogee and perigee, so if this is no longer, the tides will be constant (no king tides), and moods will be more tranquil, I'm thinking - and as for agriculture, things will be more consistent for Mr McGregor...
 
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