We are dependent on both the sun and the moon for life on earth, and since time began, both have held a profoundly symbolic importance for mankind. The influences of the Moon’s gravitational pull on the seasons and plant growth (as well as animal and human behaviour) has been documented since ancient times. Biodynamics acknowledges these and other subtle cosmic forces, and works with them throughout the growing cycle. This is what is meant when people say ‘planting by the moon’.
Over 40 years of ongoing research by Maria and Matthias Thun and others into the influences of the moon, planets and constellations on plant growth has resulted in the publication by them of an annual astronomic calendar, The Maria Thun Biodynamic Calendar. This is used by biodynamic farmers, growers, gardeners and others to determine auspicious sowing, planting, cultivating and harvesting times of crops. It is available to buy from our online shop.
By using the moon as a guide in our growing, we’re attempting to stimulate the latent promise that each crop has to offer. Sometimes we have to compromise because of more immediate constraints of time and weather, but over the years we’ve noticed that the closer we work with these subtle rhythms of the cosmos, the better these results.
Jane Scotter and Harry Astley, Working with the Moon, in Fern Verrow, published by Quadrille, 2015
Each month the moon moves through all twelve constellations of the zodiac in turn. This is referred to as the moon’s sidereal cycle and forms the basis of the biodynamic calendar. Although the waxing and waning (synodic) cycle is the most well known lunar rhythm, it plays a small part in this calendar.
Since ancient times the twelve zodiac constellations have been associated with the each of the four elements: earth, water, air, and light. Three constellations are connected to each element, and each element is related to a part of the plant: thus, Earth – root; water – leaf; air – flower; fire – fruit.
For example, for sowing or harvesting carrots an earth – root day should be chosen; for lettuce – a water – leaf day; for beans and apples – a fire – fruit day; and for cut flowers and broccoli – an air – flower day. The influences have most effect when the soil is disturbed and /or when the biodynamic preparations have been used. Choosing suitable times for cultivation, as well as for sowing and harvesting, is therefore important.