Before I dove into lunar planting back in 2014 I first wanted to see whether there are any proper scientific studies done on lunar gardening that indicates whether it has a beneficial effect or not. I searched all the dungeons of the internet and didn’t have much success. Most of the scientific papers either investigated the lunar cycles influencing the hatching or emergence in some insect species or the effects on animals. If they investigated direct lunar influence in plant growth, the study was usually poorly designed and that you cannot accurately interpret the results as they were not measuring just the influence of the moon cycles (too many other factors influenced the experiment as well).
Reading about lunar gardening around the internet it seems that many do not believe in it, whereas others claim that the moon has some mystical effect on plants when you garden by the moon… I am going to give my opinion on the matter and all the stuff that I have been able to find regarding lunar gardening:
I do not necessarily believe in the hocus-pocus of the lunar gardening and those who claim that the moon simply cannot have an effect on plant growth should provide me with evidence of such a claim (I read one comment stating that physics simply doesn’t allow for it, but no such equation or proof was later provided so that I can make up my own mind and I also haven’t seen any physicists trying to de-bunk it so far…). Also some horticulturalists state that the health and yield of vegetables do improve with lunar gardening, but not because of any moon-effects, merely because of the fact that a more regular garden management schedule as imposed by the lunar gardening calendar, which allows you to better plan and take care of your garden. This may be true and if so – why do people then have an issue with it? If it does no harm, why are people that implement lunar gardening seen as raging lunatics who likely dance naked by the moon as well (all puns intended )?
So that is basically my two cents on the matter – I like the idea of lunar gardening because it makes me feel that I am working with nature and not against it. The same applies for my views on conservation agriculture: natural or near-natural systems [AKA organic] work better and if the plants bode well by such a system regardless of the reason – why shoot it down? My question would be rather: Why not? You aren’t harming anything or anyone by incorporating it into your gardening schedule and I am also not going to judge those who do feel a certain ‘magic’ from doing it.
Yet, I still have some issues with the structure of it all, the planting of certain crops for only one week per month isn’t practical; surely there must be more refined systems than the simple lunar cycle. After some more surfing I saw that lunar gardening forms a large part of biodynamics; another method of sustainable organic farming, on which you can read more here: The Moon Gardener. In this book they also introduce you to Maria Thun.
Maria Thun devoted her life to studying the effects of moon gardening, and its associated zodiac, on the growth and yield of crops. She developed her own biodynamic calendar based on her observations and the sidereal lunar cycle. For more information on her methods and her biography, please see the following two sites: Maria Thun, Biodynamics Association and Maria Thun Biography. She published a biodynamics calendar each year and has made it available world-wide. I had a look-see of the principles and organisation of the calendar, the 2013 Calendar (The “See Inside” Option on the right!). The booklet explains clearly the methods and application of her calendar and I really like the fact that you can plant multiple types of crops each week (of course depending on the moon and constellations at the moment ) as well as the overall user-friendliness of the calendar.
The Maria Thun Biodynamic Calendar 2018:
I have ordered mine every year since 2014 and I am thoroughly impressed with the quality of the booklet each time! They also discuss some burning issues that their readers enquired about, artwork, a few interesting articles about old school or nature-based agriculture and they include a handy poster of the calendar (good to stick up onto the fridge for sure!). I am quite convinced that seeds germinate quicker and transplanted plants take better when done by the moon. However, due to our worst drought years since 2014, some of the lunar gardening effects may have been over-ruled by the lack of rain and scorching temperatures! But I am not likely to stop planting by the moon .
If you are interested in Biodynamic farming, The Moon Gardener book I mentioned previously covers that topic very well, but I will likely not be able to implement it in my own garden since Cattle (and all their associated products and waste LOL!) are central to biodynamics.
Please let me know as to your views on Lunar Gardening (or similar system) and if you have implemented it in your garden please share your experiences!
I have been made aware of a South African based Moon Calendar by no less than the author herself, Ilona Thorndike. You can find her Moonlight calendar to order on her website: Moon Time. It includes the cycles of the moon and the associated zodiac constellations specific to Southern Africa.All pictures (except Demeter) are screen-grabs from The Maria Thun Biodynamic Calendar 2013, “See Inside” Option and are copyright by Floris Books, Edinburgh. Reference website: Floris Books.