Friday, 23 March 2007


We’ve had some very good gardening days this week. I’ve been making the most of the sunshine and venturing into the overgrown areas of the garden. The Lavatera shrub that I put into the garden as a little insignificant twig last year, had to be pruned back using a pair of heavy-duty loppers. In the year it’s been there it has grown to over 6 feet (2m). They are attractive in the summer with their large purple flowers, but they do tend to look a bit shabby, especially in the winter. Lavateras have very brittle branches and if they aren’t pruned back they tend to snap in strong winds. I treat them in the same way as Buddleias by practically cutting them down to ground level. It looks drastic, but it will be back up to 6feet (2m) next summer

Gardening by the moon
Gardening by the moon doesn’t mean going out at night and pulling your weeds (sorry mulching) but using the lunar calendar to assess the best time to plant seeds for the best possible crops. The system is known as biodynamic gardening. Biodynamic gardening has been around for 50 years although the practice of using the moon cycles as a guide was used in ancient times by the Chinese, Greeks and Romans. The idea of biodynamics is to use natural cycles and work in harmony with them.

How gardening by the moon works.
As well as controlling the tides the moon controls the moisture content in the soil. There are two periods:

The waxing moon, which is the growing moon from new to full. That’s when the moisture level in the soil is at it’s highest and is the most favorable time for seeds to germinate so it is best to plant them a few days before depending on how long it takes a seed to germinate.

The waning moon which is from full to last quarter. That is when the moisture content is at it’s lowest and there is less sap growing in your trees and shrubs, this time is the most favorable for any type of pruning.

Biodynamic calendar for vegetables

The Biodynamic calendar gets a bit more complex as they split things into a four-element cycle depending on where the moon is in relation to the star signs.

1,Root days: this has earthy energy and is the best time to plant carrots beetroot and spuds etc.

2,Leaf days: This period has water energy. This is the best time to plant spinach, basil etc.

3,Flower days: The plants best sown in this time of air-based energy are the ones grown for their edible flower heads such as cauliflower and broccoli.

4,Fruit days: This time is fire based and plants such as peas and beans are best planted on a fruit day

Reports have proved that applying fertilizers at the right time in the lunar calendar can cut the plant requirements by up to 50%.

Harvesting crops
Following the moons cycle can be important for storing vegetables too. Crops such as potatoes and carrots are best stored near a full moon, as this is when they have the lowest water content and stand less chance of rotting. On the other hand if you wanted the juiciest vegetables for eating on the same day then harvest when the moon is waxing. This would also be a good time to harvest crops that were being sold by weight, such as grain. In a waning moon they increase in bulk so there would be a better price at market!

If you would like further information about lunar gardening here are a couple of websites to look at. .


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