Tend to your plot with the magical toolkit of lunar living
There many ways in which we can garden that don’t involve modern methods of intensive digging, chemical spraying and artificial feeding. Many of these traditional techniques were developed as part of the agricultural revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. Gardening by the moon, and using biodynamic methods, is something that we’ve since lost touch with, however, they’re starting to be reawakened in the 21st century and are growing further in practice.
It’s quite common to confuse moon gardening with biodynamic gardening, and many people believe that they are one and the same thing. Although rooted in the same foundations, they are, in fact, quite different. However, both methods take an entirely organic approach as a base level and then extend the nature of organic gardening to a more purified level. It’s of little surprise that the moon’s gravitational pull also influences the movement of water through the soil, plants, and seeds – everything that exists on Earth, in fact. This means that, regardless of the location, your garden will respond to the influence of the moon accordingly, whether this is a balcony terrace or a country estate, a simple potted tomato on a windowsill or an ornate French vegetable potager.
Following a 28-day cycle through an elliptical orbit, the moon has four quarters, which you’ll need to be aware of when moon gardening. In the first quarter, it grows (waxes) from almost nothing, through a crescent, to a half-moon. The second quarter sees it continue to grow (waxing gibbous) into a rich, full moon, before entering the third quarter. The next two phases see the moon shrink again (waning gibbous) to a half-moon, and then to a crescent (waning crescent) in the fourth quarter. It’s these phases that are the easiest to see, understand and work by when gardening. A growing, waxing moon (for example, a moon that’s getting bigger) has an opposing effect on the strength of Earth’s own gravitational pull, resulting in water being drawn up into plants, seeds and leaves. This means that a waxing moon, particularly in the second quarter of this phase, with its strong pull on the water, is the best time to sow your seeds for optimum germination.
A basic knowledge of the moon’s phases is enough to start with, and the process is further influenced by the planets, the stars and our sun, as well as by variations in the moon’s orbit (the path it takes around the Earth). After centuries of a mechanical, chemical and unnatural abuse of the land, biodynamics seeks to restore a harmonious natural state. It’s practitioners believe that a garden needs care and delicate management to keep it in healthy balance. Biodynamic gardeners understand that their role is to treat the soil well, to return to it what’s missing, and to do this in a natural way. This healing and feeding process is achieved through the application of specially prepared tonics or biodynamic preparations, which act rather like homeopathic medicines, and provide the soil and plants with important trace elements. An example used often is ‘horn silica’, a finely ground quartz meal that spends the summer in a cow horn before being misted onto plants in the morning. The healing process makes the soil, which nourishes all plant life, more receptive to the subtle influences of the cosmos.
Extracted from Moon Gardening by Matt Jackson (CICO BOOKS £12.99)
Save over £11
when you subscribe today
Exclusive prizes from our Heaven Skincare, Senspa, Green People and more...