Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford
Biodynamics is based on the idea that certain garden tasks should be completed as the moon waxes and wanes. It is said that, to promote growth, planting and harvesting should be done according to a lunar calendar that is split into days for leaf, root, flower and fruits. Read on to find out how to garden with the moon.
- Lunar calendar
- Fruit days
- Flower days
- Root days
- Leaf days
A brief history of biodynamics
Biodynamics is an esoteric movement that dates back to 1924. It was developed by Rudolf Steiner, the celebrated Austrian philosopher and pedagogue, and founding father of anthroposophy. Steiner first popularised the concept of biodynamic agriculture through a series of lectures given to a group of farmers in the German village of Koberwitz (now Kobierzyce in Poland).
He demonstrated the possibility of using the influences of the cosmos in agriculture to improve crops in terms of both quality and yield. Almost a century later, his methods are still in practice and still producing surprising results.
The basis of biodynamic growing
The celestial bodies surrounding Earth are known to influence our planet. This can be observed every day with the changing of the tides. The moon, Earth's sole natural satellite, generates a gravitational pull so strong that it is able to alter our sea levels.
With this in mind, it is easy to imagine how this pull could also have an influence on other elements on Earth, including human beings or indeed any other water-based life form. This idea constitutes the basis of biodynamic agriculture.
Gardening with the lunar calendar
Biodynamics suggests that the different phases of the moon can affect plant growth and that this can have both positive and negative results.
On the basis of this observation, ties have been drawn between various gardening tasks and lunar phases.
These recommendations have been set out in a biodynamic or lunar calendar.
The lunar calendar: the key to biodynamics
The lunar calendar is a useful tool designed to make gardening easier. It takes the form of a calendar which sets out the type of work to be carried out depending on the position of the moon in its cycle. The calendar also details the position of the moon in relation to certain constellations as these are also said to have an influence on plant growth. The calendar divides the year up into four categories, each of which corresponds to a set gardening tasks involving a different type of plant.
These days land as the moon crosses the constellations of Sagittarius, Leo and Aries. This is the ideal time to work on flowering plants (tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, etc.). Fruit produced by this method is said to be better quality and longer lasting. Some jobs to complete on fruit days include:
- taking 'scion' wood from a tree;
- transplanting, and so on.
These days occur as the moon meets the constellations of Taurus, Capricorn and Virgo. This is the ideal time to work with root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.
Vegetables produced by this method are said to be tastier and more nutritious. Tasks you can complete during this time include:
- harvesting, and so on.
Flower days arrive as the moon passes the constellations of Libra, Aquarius and Gemini. This is a good time to tend to plants that are grown for their flowers, including certain shrubs and trees, and perennials and annuals like cauliflowers and artichokes. On flower days you can do tasks like:
- re-potting, and so on.
Leaf days occur when the waning moon comes into contact with Scorpio, Cancer and Pisces. This is the ideal time to concentrate on plants grown for their green vegetation or foliage, such as lawns, vegetables with edible leaves such as celery and leeks, and other green plants. Recommended activities during this time include:
- preparing the soil for planting;
- pruning, and so on.
Gardening the natural way
Protecting the environment means laying a solid foundations for future generations. We should all be sticking to eco-friendly habits in our day-to-day lives to help protect our resources and this also applies to gardening.
Getting stuck into permaculture, growing an organic garden or following the lunar calendar can work as complementary methods for a more sustainable way of living. In terms of finances, permaculture and biodynamic gardening won't cost you anything beyond a little reflection.
Natural pest control, recycling and biodynamics are three cornerstones of a new era of responsible agriculture, so let's make the most of these concepts!
Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford, 33 guides
From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specializing in organic market gardening. A graduate of a professional baccalaureate in Agronomy and Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxford. After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life. From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.