Q: Where is the evidence that Moon Gardening works?
A: There have been various studies conducted to ascertain the benefits of Lunar Gardening – Most experiments show measurable improvements in ‘side-by-side’ trials. The most extensive work has been done by Maria Thun, a German researcher, who has published a number of comparative moon gardening trials using biodynamic moon gardening techniques.
Recently (2007) the BBC TV program, ‘A Year at Kew Gardens’ showed some successful moon gardening comparative trials conducted as part of a supervised project.
Q: Is the moon really the biggest influence on my gardening results?
A: No – One of the reasons that moon gardening faded from our horticultural traditions is that fertilisers have a much more immediate impact, however bad in the long term. Climate also plays a big part – You can’t expect moon gardening techniques to compensate for a bad summer, insufficient water or no compost!. But get these right and moon gardening will improve things further. Typical yield improvements using moon gardening techniques are around 10% to 15% as well as better taste, colour, and fragrance.
Q: Why does Moon Gardening work?
A: Nobody really knows – the evidence is really empirical (by observation) rather than scientific (by testing a theory). Nobody really knows why the menstrual cycle is linked to the lunar cycle either! One theory is that the differing amounts of reflected light from the moon, the gravitational pull of the moon on plant fluids, the tidal effect on the water table, and the distortions in the Earths magnetic field all have a role to play. Try moon gardening and see what you think !
Q: What is the difference between Organic and Biodynamic?
A: Organics embraces all activities associated with ‘natural growth’. Biodynamics is a specific approach to organic farming (developed by Rudolf Steiner, an early 20th century philosopher). Biodynamics treats the farm, garden or allotment as a balanced ecosystem, in harmony with the Earth. To assist in maintaining this harmony, biodynamic practitioners use the following tools:
1) A Biodynamic calendar, that used Lunar cycles to recommend best times for various growing activities
2) Soil and spray preparations made from plant and animal material, and used in very low concentrations to assist growth – a kind of ‘Homeopathy for Gardens’
Q: Why is this calendar different from some other Moon Gardening calendars?
A: Moon Gardening has evolved over thousands of years in different cultures, countries and climates: – In some cultures, the emphasis is on the moon phase only – in others it is on the astrological division of the constellations in the heavens. We use the Biodynamic version of Moon Gardening, because it works for us, and because it is the most extensively researched.
The Moon Gardening techniques that evolved in the Mediterranean region do not exploit the Ascending/Descending moon, whereas in Northern climates such as the UK, this has a much more pronounced effect on Moon Gardening techniques.
Q: Why are the dates you show for the moon in the constellations different from other moon gardening calendars?
A: When humankind first began to study the constellations, they divided the sky into 12 sections of equal size (each being 30 degrees) and named each sector after the main star constellation in the sector, so the moon was considered to spend an equal amount of time in each constellation during each lunar cycle. This is the basis on which AstroLogical predictions such as horroscopes are made, and was the basis for eary moon gardening calendars.
As the study of astronomy has progressed, the boundary of each constellation has been defined more accurately and the transition of the moon from one constellation to the next can be accurately measured. The 12 sectors are NOT of equal size, so the moon spends longer in some constellations than others. The boundaries are scientifically defined, and are known as the AstroNomical predictions. These definitions are the ones used in the Biodynamic method of Lunar Gardening, and for all the experiments performed by Maria Thun.
Q: Why did you develop your own Moon Gardening calendar?
A: We found the other Moon Gardening calendars were all in ‘book’ format, and somewhat over-complex. Others ignored the concept of the Ascending Moon and Descending Moon, which is important in Biodynamic farming. We wanted a simple Biodynamic wall-chart that allows the moon gardener to plan ahead for the weekends and available gardening time.
Q: What about other astronomical influences such as eclipses, conjunctions, and oppositions?
A: Some Moon Gardening calendars refer to these (including the Biodynamic Planting and Sowing calendar), but the evidence on their effect on gardening is not conclusive. Most Moon Gardening traditions recommend that on Lunar eclipses it’s best to do nothing in your garden or allotment. We have omitted the geometric relationships (conjunctions, oppositions, and trines) to keep the Organic Gardening Calendar easier to read and understand.
Q: Where do you get your Moon Gardening data from?
A: The Moon Gardening calendar is developed from computer-generated Astronomical data provided by various sources. We use the actual positions of the moon in relation to the Earth and heavens (not the Astrological version used in fortune telling and horoscopes)
Q: Is the Moon Gardening calendar valid anywhere in the world?
A: Yes – The Moons’ phases and position in the constellations are the same, BUT the moon is descending in the southern hemisphere when it is ascending in the northern hemisphere (and Vice-Versa). This means that the ‘planting time’ in each lunar cycle is the opposite in the southern hemisphere to that shown on the Moon Gardening calendar. Remember that published times are GMT/UT so you need to correct for your time zone when using the Moon Gardening Calendar.
Q: Who are Lunar Organics?
A: We are a small family business; Erika has worked for many years on Organic and Biodynamic farms in Germany, where the Lunar Gardening traditions are very strong. She is an enthusiastic gardener and is chairperson of the local Allotment Association. Ian does most of the boring stuff like admin, computing, and accounting!
More about Moon Gardening principles
More about our Lunar Gardening calendar