One of the most important parts of biodynamic gardening is using a planting calendar that is in conjunction with an astrological chart and the phases of the moon. This “technology” is as old as the sun, the moon and the stars.
Back in ancient times – before farmers had watches or smart phones to tell them what time it was – they used the cycles of the moon and the stars to guide them in planting and harvesting. Farmers and gardeners alike found that certain plants did better when planted during a specific phase of the moon. Also, the harvest went more smoothly when done with an eye toward the stars.
Biodynamic gardening renews these age-old practices and puts them into use again. Does this mean that you’ll be out in your jammies planting your garden? No, probably not. But it does mean that you’ll want to be more aware of the different cycles of the moon and when plants need to go into the ground.
Just as humans and animals are affected by lunar cycles – how many times have you heard nurses and doctors working in hospitals comment on how the behavior of people changes during moon phase calendar? – plants and soil are also affected by lunar cycles.
There are three phases of the moon: fertile, semi-fertile, or barren. Naturally, these phases will be more important to you as a gardener when the weather is right for planting. Here are a couple of general rules you can follow in your garden:
• Flowering annuals (this includes annual vegetables as well) – Plant these just after the new moon when the light is increasing. These little seedlings will grow faster because of their shallow roots.
• Biennials, perennials and bulbs – These do best when planted when the light is decreasing because they don’t rely on wide root systems and a slower, waning moon gives them more stability.
A way to refine your planting techniques is to combine the moon phase with the moon’s current astrological sign. For instance, if you plant annual flowers or vegetables under a waxing Scorpio moon, the growth cycle will get an extra boost. If you need to pull some weeds out of your garden, wait for the last quarter moon under a barren sign like Aries.