Gardening with the Moon

“Planting by the Moon” is quite well known but, in biodynamics, we use more than the phases of the moon.

Biodynamics is using a set of eight preparations (the BD preps) made from vegetable/herbal, animal and mineral compounds to enhance the soil and the plants. It’s also about working in harmony with nature rather than trying to force nature to conform to some human idea. It’s about learning more of how she works – after all she’s been at it a lot longer than there’s been humans around. The Agricultural Revolution took place in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East about 10,000 years ago, spread outwards from there into Europe. Mid/South Americas dawn of agriculture probably about 5,000 years ago. China/Japan are thought to be the earliest known agriculturalists at 19,000 years ago (approx). This is a mere spit in the ocean to the length of time the Earth has existed.

Moon as Lens

In BD is that we see the moon as a lens, focusing the energies of each of the twelve constellations onto the Earth each month as she passes in front of them each month.

Using the moon as a lens this way, to focus the energy of each constellation she passes in front of during her 28 day period, is why we call it a “Star Calendar” … because it’s about focusing the energy of the stars.

Without the star calendar we wouldn’t know when to apply the preparations.

The star calendar can appear confusing at first. And some biodynamic practitioners can get so wordy about astrological thingamajigs that it can boil one’s brain. You really don’t need to boil your brain to do biodynamics, it isn’t that hard and Steiner certainly never intended it to be! However, there are a few things to get your head around first so we’ll try to go slowly through them and make things as obvious as possible. You probably have some idea already as we’ve been talking about parts of the plant and what you want to enhance.

You use the star calendar to help with …

  • applying the preparations
  • sowing – all seeds you start in pots, and/or soak in water as well as those you sow directly into the ground
  • planting – including planting out annual and herbaceous plants either bought in from garden centres or grown on by you from seed or plugs; planting shrubs and trees from a nursery or plant centre; and planting out your vegetables after germinating them in pots
  • cultivation – weeding, thinning, pruning, feeding, etc
  • harvest – cutting flowers, picking fruit and vegetables

As I said, the Biodynamic Star Calendar works with more than just the Moon but it is the Moon that focuses the energy. This is because she travels around the Earth once every 28-29 days and, in so doing, she passes in front of each of the constellations – see the diagram above.

As she passes in front of each constellation, the moon focuses the energy from the stars in that constellation onto the Earth. This gives the days when best to work with each part of the plant as each constellation carries the energy relevant to that part …

Root

Earth

Bull

Virgin

Goat

Leaf

Water

Fishes

Crab

Scorpion

Flower

Air

Waterman

Twins

Scales

Fruit

Fire

Ram

Lion

Archer

In the star calendar each day has the moon in front of one of these constellations and so is called a Root, Leaf, Flower or Fruit day.

There are several calendars people tend to use in the UK. My own preference is for Maria Thun’s as I find it the easiest to use, her approach is entirely practical and based on over fifty years of scientific observation.

Maria Thun is one of the people who does the astronomy for the Star Calendar. She began building the calendar in the 1950s by carrying out experiments to attempt to establish a connection between the growth of plants and the movements of the stars. Her first experiment was to sow a plot of radishes every day for an entire growing season and observe the performance of each sowing. She discovered four very noticeable differences in the plots. Some produced larger roots, others larger leaves, others again produced more flowers and the fourth group went more quickly to seed. This was the beginning of the Star Calendar. She has subsequently done, and continues to do, a massive amount of scientific research into biodynamic growing and updates the calendar each year with her latest findings.

The biodynamic associations in other countries all produce their own calendars which give the times as they are in those places. This makes them easier to use that translating GMT into your local time.

There are many moon rhythms, something like over a hundred, it’s a very complicated pattern that hasn’t been anything like fully explored as yet. There is so much we can find out over the coming years.

Elen Sentier
… behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …
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6 thoughts on “Gardening with the Moon”

  1. Hi Erin,
    yes it is fascinating and very well worked out – and it really works if you use the BD Preparations. Unfortuately the books get very techie and sometimes uncomfortably esoteric … which is what promted me to write my own, for ordinary gardeners. I intend to have it in the shops and at Amazon by Midsummer and, at the risk ofblowing my own trumpet *g*, it’s worth waiting for *big smile*.

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  2. Excellent, I look forward to it. I’ve wanted an organic garden for a very long time. I’m in Green Country OK now and can’t wait until I have my own land for my own fruits. I have a fantasy to have an orchard as well. I may have missed it, what’s the title of the book.

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  3. Quick question…if I’m understanding you correctly you state that every time the moon passes, it becomes a lens, as it were, enhancing the zodiac sign it passes, do the phases of the moon matter?

    Erin

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  4. No, you didn’t miss it :-), I got all shy! The book is called “The BD Book – Biodynamics for Gardeners”. There is aversion at Lulu now but it’s NOT the final version, DON’T get it, I’ve done much better now.

    Yes, the moon passes in front of each constellation, taking 2-3 days per constellations depending on its size, every month. While she is in front of that contellation she’s focusing its energy to Earth. It’s like a lens-cum-magnifier, she ups the power by her focusing.

    Moon phases are not improtant in this aspect of her work but they are in others.

    Darn it! I must go and make sure I say that right in the book now … thanks Erin *g*, I suspect I could get to version 9 million 3 hundred and 27 and 2/3 at this rate LOL.

    Go for your orchard as soon as yuo can. And you can have the chickens and sheep in there helping the trees along too :-).

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