Lunar Effects on the Garden
The Moon has a gravitational effect on the Earth. Steiner proposed that this affects plant growth.
The Moon has a roughly elliptical orbit so the gravitational pull varies throughout its 28 day cycle.
Root growth is improved when the Moon moves further away causing a decreased pull on the Earth and vice versa - this force also causes the ocean tides.
- Planting of flower, fruit and vegetable seeds is best done 2 days before a new Moon because light and gravitational forces are more favourable in the seven days that follow.
-Following this, the increased light stimulates foliage growth, but the gravitational pull increases so root growth is less favoured - young shoots thrive and the roots rest.
- For the seven days following the full Moon the light decreases slowing foliage growth, but so does the gravitational pull and the roots can develop. This is a good time to transplant seedlings as it gives the roots better conditions to flourish.
- In the last seven days of the lunar cycle the light continues to decrease, but the gravitational pull increases so both foliage and roots rest in the run up to the new Moon of the next lunar cycle.
New Moon Waxing Moon Full Moon Waning Moon
Roots and Shoots enhanced Roots rest, Foliage grows Roots develop, Foliage slows Roots and Foliage rest
To plant a root crop such as potatoes the best results are obtainted if they are planted and harvested on a Root day.
If they were planted on a Leaf day there would be plenty of top growth and a reduced crop.
Similarly for a leaf crop such as cabbage sowing or planting and harvesting should be done on a leaf day. For best flowers work on a Flower day and for a good fruit harvest, work on a Fruit day.
There are Breathing Cycles to consider. The Earth 'breaths in', ie. draws in energy, from mid-day to midnight and 'breaths out' from midnight to mid-day. This energy nourishes the soil and the roots as it is drawn in and the leaves and flowers as it eminates upwards.
So sowing and planting are best done in the afternoon as it involves the soil, while work with leaves, flowers and fruits is best in the morning when the energy is being released.
Followers of the Biodynamic method call it "a science of life-forces", but believers in "intelligent design" say that it has scientific merit!
The principles have some validity with scientific scrutiny. Light is essential for life and following the sun is understandable, but whether light from the moon, planets and stars has an effect is less believable. Certainly their orbits are predictable and regular so using their motion to determine the time of planting and harvesting was valid, but with our changing climate many of the indicators are no longer synchronous.
Using biodynamic techniques may well improve crops, but this could be due to better husbandry. It prodives a discipline of cultivation through soil improvement with lots of organic matter and more care when planting. It is often said that growing potatoes is a great way to improve a garden, this is due to the extra digging and organic matter used when cultivating the soil and not the potatoes themselves. There is no doubt that growing organicly with natural manures, composts, and without chemical fertilizers, produces crops which mature slightly slower but taste better.