You may have heard of ‘moon gardening’ which is one element of biodynamic gardening and it’s truly fascinating! This year I decided that I would follow the lunar cycles to decide when to sow, plant out and later harvest my crops. This is how, many moons ago, humans would have grown food - by the sun and moon and seasons - because there was no time or packet instructions, theories or research. It was more of an intuitive way to grow. Since my spiritual practice has grown over recent years, I felt this next step taking it into the garden was very natural for me.
What is biodynamic gardening?
The main element of biodynamic gardening is about how the cosmos benefits plants and effects their growth, it’s very much working with nature in collaboration to get the best from your plants. Also at the core is about giving love to the plants and ensuring they are cared for properly.
The philosopher Rudolph Steiner spoke to farmers back in the 19th century about how farming organic and taking biodynamics into account would transform their crops. Of course they thought it madness, implemented it anyway and the crops improved!
By understanding the moon and using it as a guide, many biodynamic gardeners and researchers (such as Maria and Matthias Thun, Jane Scotter and Harry Astley, Claire Hattersley and John Harris) have noticed the closer we work with the rhythms of nature and the cosmos overall, the better the results.
There is much more to biodynamics including making mineral preparations for the ground but my practice is purely via the lunar cycles alone.
So how does it work?
Everything is connected, we are reliant on the sun and the moon for the gravitational pull and for all life on earth. Modern life has moved us away from the natural intuitive way of growing but getting back to that really could revolutionise growing, people and the planet.
Throughout the year, the moon moves through the 12 constellations of the zodiac which are each associated with the 4 elements: earth, water, air and light.
Each of the 4 elements are related to parts of a plant: earth = root, water = leaf, air = flower, fire = fruit.
So you sow and harvest root vegetables on an earth/root day, greens such as lettuce and spinach on leaf/water days, raspberries and apples on a fire/fruit day and cut flowers on air/flower days.
Planting annuals, fruit and vegetables that crop above the ground should be done during the waxing of the moon (from the new moon to the full moon) because as the moon light increases each night towards the full moon, plants are encouraged to grow leaves and stems.
Plant flowering bulbs, biennials and perennials that crop below the ground during the waning of the moon - from the day after the full moon to the day before the new moon. Moonlight decreases which encourages root growth.
There are times for planting, pruning and other garden activities which can be found on biodynamic calendars.
I garden veganic and non dig, which is organic but also without the use of animal products and I naturally let nature take its course on my allotment. This has created a lovely biodiverse space and far less stress for me! So now I am also moving forward with considering the much bigger picture including the alignment of planets, the rotation of the sun, moon and earth and doing jobs in the garden that align to each lunar cycle. This is my first year gardening by the moon, so I am definitely no expert and have therefore included some links below for further reading and on Sunday 2nd July you can download the new episode of The Plant Based Podcast and hear me chatting with Jane Scotter, owner of Fern Verrow the biodynamic farm.
Watch this space for updates!