Stars in your Garden – Tuning into Nature’s Rhythms

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“ You don’t need to be an astronomer to garden by the moon,  – biodynamic gardening calendars are available to guide you.  They suggest the best times to do gardening & allotment jobs, such as planting and pruning when the moon is descending, or harvesting when the moon is ascending. Sowing seeds just before the full moon is always a winner on our allotment.”

Say Kate Turner & Will Heap, biodynamic gardeners from East Sussex in their recent blog on Moon Planting.

We can recommend their great magazine and newsletter too; ” The Simple Things”

Tuning into the Nature’s rhythms – the sun, moon and stars – is at the heart of biodynamic farming and gardening – but like all things biodynamic, as the book One Gun Ranch  explains these can be used to create harmony  and well- being in our lives, too.

The Sun gives us light and life, day and night. As ancient scholars and civilisations discovered, the Moon, planets, and the way the Moon interacts with the stars in the zodiac as it circles the Earth, also produce subtle but profound effects  that have shaped our lives and cultures since time began. It’s not for nothing that a full moon has special significance.

Until the 20C, tuning into Nature’s rhythms was part of normal farming practices: the Moon’s effect on water, for example, not only creates tides,  but also affects the movement of sap up and down in plants as they grow.  Fast forward and today’s biodynamic astronomical planting calendars combine all these various celestial influences into a set of simple day- by- day guidelines on the most favourable times to grow and tend 4 main types of crops according to how we eat them: root, leaf, flower and fruit. It’s as easy as that.

50 years of dedicated research and use by countless farmers and gardeners have shown it works.  Rosie Yeoman (Gardeners Question Time) told us about her potato trial: planting them on the most favourable day  according to the calendar  almost doubled the yield compared with planting them on other days.

Other benefits? As many biodynamic gardeners will tell you, it brings them closer to their garden, they love the rhythm and order it brings- and makes growing simpler. Your new love affair with Nature’s rhythms starts here.

Root days: These are best for sowing and cultivating roots crops eg onions, garlic, potatoes, radishes etc.  As the potato trial we mention above shows, generally you can expect better yields.  Root Crops harvested on root days, store better, too.

Leaf days: These are best for sowing and tending leafy crops (all noted for their high water content), such as spinach, salad leaves, Swiss chard, leafy herbs – mint, basil, parley, dill, chervil,  coriander,  and leeks etc.  You can expect them to be strong, full of turgidity – which makes for deliciously crisp and juicy salads.  They store best when harvested on flower or fruit days.

Flower days: These are best all garden activities connected to all flowers, flowering trees and shrubs, and flowering herbs – lavender, chamomile, thymes  etc. Picking flowers on flower days, preferably also before noon, will help them to remain fresher and keep their colour for longer.

Fruit days: These are best for sowing, cultivating and harvesting all fruits and vegetables that  we eat the fruit of – eg  tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, peas & beans; courgettes, peppers, sprouting broccoli.

Our top gardening tip?  If you want your grass to grow fast and thick mow it on a leaf day; if you’d rather get your lawn mower out less often,  then mow on flower days.

What else ?  Supermarkets are finding out, wines drunk on fruit days tastes better!  Don’t believe us?  Tesco and Marks & Spencer report on their experiences in this Guardian feature.

If you want to try this out,  use your Biodynamic Calendar and quaff your wine on a Fruit day or if you are an ardent wine lover,  you can buy the excellent book, or App ” When Wine Tastes Best” from Floris Books.

If you want to know how to harness the moon’s power to live happier, more harmonious lives check out:   Moon Time: The Art of Harmony with Nature and Lunar Cycles by Johanna Paungger & Thomas Poppe

And if astrology is your thing, and you’d like to know the best time to have your hair cut, then check out this interesting article.