Roots 'n' Shoots: Lunar Gardening Revisited & Biodynamics

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Lunar Gardening Revisited & Biodynamics


Demeter, Greek Goddess of the Harvest

Dr. Vollmers Wörterbuch der Mythologie aller Völker,
third edition Stuttgart 1874,
Pitichinaccio,
Wikimedia Commons

My previous post on the same topic has been surprisingly popular and so almost exactly a year later I decided to revisit the topic.

In my previous post I mentioned that lunar gardening has the habit of taking over your life as it dictates when you garden as oppose to your daily schedule. But I have wanted to try lunar gardening again and decided that maybe I can ‘make time’ for it.

So, before I dove into lunar planting in the garden I first wanted to see whether there are any proper scientific studies done on lunar gardening that indicates whether it has a beneficial effect or not. I searched all the dungeons of the internet and didn’t have much success. Most of the scientific papers either investigated the lunar cycles influencing the hatching or emergence in some insect species or the effects on animals. If they investigated direct lunar influence in plant growth, the study was usually poorly designed and that you cannot accurately interpret the results as they were not measuring just the influence of the moon cycles (too many other factors influenced the experiment).

Reading about lunar gardening around the internet it seems that many do not believe in it, whereas others claim that the moon has some mystical effect on plants when you garden by the moon… I am going to give my opinion on the matter and all the new stuff that I have been able to find regarding lunar gardening:

– On that note I would like to make this an open discussion topic, 
so please feel free to add your opinions on this 
at the comments section here under – J

I do not necessarily believe in the hocus-pocus of the lunar gardening and those who claim that the moon simply cannot have an effect on plant growth should provide me with evidence of such a claim (I read one comment stating that physics simply doesn’t allow for it, but no such equation or proof was later provided so that I can make up my own mind and I also haven’t seen any physicists trying to de-bunk it so far…). Also some horticulturalists state that the health and yield of vegetables do improve with lunar gardening, but not because of any moon-effects, merely because of the fact that a more regular garden management schedule as imposed by the lunar gardening calendar allows you to better plan and take care of your garden. This may be true and if so – why do people then have an issue with it? If it does no harm, why are people that implement lunar gardening seen as raging lunatics who likely dance naked by the moon as well? LOL!

So that is basically my two cents on the matter – I like the idea of lunar gardening because it makes me feel that I am working with nature and not against. The same applies for my views on conservation agriculture: natural or near-natural systems [AKA organic] work better and if the plants bode well by such a system regardless of the reason – why shoot it down? My question would be rather: Why not? You aren’t harming anything or anyone by incorporating it into your gardening schedule and I am also not going to judge those who do feel a certain ‘magic’ from doing it.

Yet, I still have some issues with the structure of it all, the planting of certain crops for only one week per month isn’t practical; surely there must be more refined systems than the simple lunar cycle. After some more surfing I saw that lunar gardening forms a large part of biodynamics; another method of sustainable organic farming, on which you can read more here: The Moon Gardener. In this book they also introduce you to Maria Thun.

Maria Thun, 1941
© 2013 florisbooks.co.uk

Maria Thun devoted her life to studying the effects of moon gardening, and its associated zodiac, on the growth and yield of crops. See developed her own biodynamic calendar based on her observations and the sidereal lunar cycle. For more information on her methods and her biography, please see the following two sites: Maria Thun, Biodynamics Association and Maria Thun Biography. She published a biodynamics calendar each year and has made it available world-wide. I had a look-see of the principles and organisation of the calendar, the 2013 Calendar (The See Inside Option on the right!). The booklet explains clearly the methods and application of her calendar and I really like the fact that you can plant multiple types of crops each week (of course depending on the moon and constellations at the moment J) as well as the overall user-friendliness of the calendar.

Radish trails Maria Thun
© 2013 florisbooks.co.uk

Unfortunately it is a bit late (not to mention silly J) to purchase the 2014 calendar, but the 2015 calendar (a tradition continued by her son Matthias Thun since 2012) is already out and you can get it online at:

The Maria Thun Biodynamic Calendar 2015:
Kalahari: R138
Loot: R135

I would strongly recommend the courier option as you will likely never receive your calendar through the SA Post Office at its current non-operational state…bah!

I have ordered mine and I am thoroughly impressed with the quality of the booklet at only R135! They also discuss some burning issues that their readers enquire about and they include a handy poster of the calendar (good to stick up onto the fridge I’d say!). I am looking forward to using it once 2015 comes around, but until then I am implementing the basic and simple lunar plating principles. I have been ‘lunar gardening’ for two months now, but because of all the changes in the garden (switching to organic fertiliser and conservation agriculture) I cannot yet comment on its advantages (other than the garden looks like a jungle since I implemented all the organic fertilisers, conservation agriculture and lunar gardening techniques).

The Constellations, plants and associated jobs Maria Thun
© 2013 florisbooks.co.uk

If you are interested in Biodynamic farming, The Moon Gardener book I mentioned previously covers that topic very well, but I will likely not be able to implement it in my own garden as Cattle (and all their associated products and waste LOL!) are central to biodynamics.

Please let me know as to your views on Lunar Gardening (or similar system) and if you have implemented it in your garden please share your experiences!



Related Post:

Lunar Gardening: Planting by the phases of the moon



- Update 11 November 2014 - 

I have been made aware of a South African based Moon Calendar by no less than the author herself, Ilona Thorndike. Our current discussion is over at my About Page.

You can find her Moonlight calendar to order on her website: Moon Time. It includes the cycles of the moon and the associated zodiac constellations specific to Southern Africa.



All pictures (except Demeter) are screen-grabs from The Maria Thun Biodynamic Calendar 2013, See Inside Option and are copyright by Floris Books, Edinburgh. Reference website: Floris Books.





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2 comments:

  1. Hi, here I am, curious again! Any final verdict on lunar gardening one year+ later? I am currently in the 2nd week of my lunar gardening experience, and last week was the last quarter, so not much of a result yet. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well it’s a null-and-void situation because the garden has been just short of an absolute disaster this year. The El Nino had us working like slaves just to keep the veg alive - we even had to water the alfalfa, which was the only greenery available to the chickens. After seeing it through the worst of the season Sep-Dec we started to receive rain late Dec early Jan - and then a monumental hail storm wiped out the measly harvest we had! I couldn't even look at the garden much less repair the damage... so I am sure the moon did her part but without rain and the hail decimating what was left; I cannot make any observations about the role of the moon at all this season.

    At least the global weather systems are indicating a shift out of the El Nino cycle and next season will be better. Currently I have started to clean-up the garden with hopes to get it regrown by winter, but the plants are already shedding their leaves as if it is April - so I think they had enough of summer. I am making a few plans for winter, which I will write about as part of an update on the whole state of the garden come next month!

    Good luck with your new lunar adventure and keep me updated! ;)

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