How does Gardening by the Moon actually work in practice?

As a biodynamic gardener, I’ve been buying moon calendars for a decade now. To start with, it was out of curiosity — the description of all the planetary movements was fascinating, and I wanted to align my planting with a larger ecosystem than what was immediately visible to me.

It’s a nice idea, but in real life I found it challenging. I would hold off on making compost or planting seeds, only to reach the ‘perfect’ time and find the weather suddenly turned bad: nobody wants to make compost in a thunderstorm, right?

I attended a gardening workshop where I met some professional market gardeners who dismissed the commercial viability of planting by the moon, saying their method of planting and harvesting like clockwork was effective, and that weather conditions are the only gauge worth watching. That seemed like a ticket to freedom, so I dropped the calendar watching for a couple of years — all except for the occasional biodynamic 500 stir, which is always planned for a descending moon phase.

What I’ve noticed over the last couple of years of planting seedings for my Blue Borage work is that there are batches that do significantly better, despite having the exact same treatment…. why is this? I started keeping records of all my seed sowing, marking whether it’s an ascending or descending moon, and what constellation the moon is in. I still plant according to the weather, but I now have trays that are ‘correct’ and trays that are ‘less than optimally timed’.

Each constellation of the zodiac sits in one of these four categories: air, water, fire or earth,

What I’m noticing is that the occasional tray that is incredible in terms of health and growth, with super strong seedlings is often a tray of leafy greens planted on a leaf day, or a tray of root crops planted on a root day. Likewise, there have been trays that have been somewhat disappointing, and when I look closely at the dates, they were not the best timed batch.

So it’s for this reason that I’m now consciously choosing to use the moon calendar more and more — not just with seed planting, but with other gardening tasks as well.

Would you like to give it a try?

Each week I send out an email called ‘Weekend Gardening by the Moon.’ You’re welcome to try this out and see if it helps you focus on a few manageable tasks each weekend, and start to pick your tasks in accordance with the biodynamic moon calendar. More information here.

Gardening by the moon each weekend

If you are a weekend gardener, you might find a good starting place with moon gardening is to look ahead each weekend and plan some tasks that align with the moon’s influence.

An example of the weekly indications of the moon’s influence on which plants to work with

This is something I’ve been doing for almost a year now, and has become a really good weekly planning session. I carve out time to study the moon calendar, look at all the stuff that has to be done soon in the garden, and then pick out just the tasks that (a) make sense (b) fit the weather forecast and © more or less align with the moon.

I package these up into a regular email to a small group on my database as a prompt to consider what might be the best jobs to tackle in your garden.

If you’d like to join this list, here’s a link. Your list each weekend will be specific to your garden, but it’s a handy reminder to look up at the moon, and consider what effect it might be having on the people around you: weekend email: gardening by the moon.

The waxing and waning cycle of the moon is different to the ascending and descending cycle, which makes gardening by the moon so very interesting — no two months are ever exactly the same.

A new offering: monthly summaries of the moon calendar for home gardening

How would you like to put aside some time each month to create your own gardening by the moon calendar? To compare the biodynamic moon calendar with the more mainstream approach to gardening by the moon, and then also consider the indications from the Maramataka?

Starting February 2021 I release a video each month summarising my approach to using the calendar. You can join by subscription here.

Whether you garden by the moon or not, it’s interesting to gaze up and feel the changing light, the way the moon rises and sets at different times each week, and to observe if there are effects on your sleep patterns. I’d love to hear what you discover!

~Katrina🌱

Ideas for innovative edible gardening solutions using biodynamic methods to make ‘soil with soul’ is what New Zealand needs right now. For tips, advice and online courses go to www.blueborage.co.nz or get in touch by email at katrina@blueborage.co.nz

Compost Coach based in Titirangi, West Auckland, New Zealand. Using biodynamics to help home gardeners make top quality soil. https://www.blueborage.co.nz/

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