Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lunar Planting - Truth or Tosh?

As some of you may know, this year I've tried the 'planting by the moon' method for my veg garden. I've always been fascinated by the old folklores of gardening as I'm sure that our ancestors were much more in tune with the rhythms and logic of the natural world than we, in our digital modern age, are. I have to admit I've tried it once before, when I had my allotment, but the logistics of following it whilst trying to work and travel to the allotment were just too difficult.

First of all I bought myself this calendar that was recommended to me on twitter.  This was invaluable and was really easy to follow.  

I sowed all my veg seeds according to whether they were fruit, leaf, root or flowers on the appropriate days.  It was a bit phaffy at times as I couldn't just sow everything on a Sunday afternoon like I wanted to, so what I did was make a note on my phone reminder app when I could next sow things. 

I didn't go as far as digging and transplanting according to the moon calendar too although I did make sure I transplanted within the northern hemisphere weeks.

If you're still with me, and haven't decided that I've lost the plot, you'll be wanting to know if it worked.

Yes is the answer!  I have never had such healthy and productive plants.  The beans set better than they usually do, I started cropping them on 17th July and they are still going.  

Also there's no sign of disease on the leaves which I've had in previous years and I've been harvesting this amount of beans practically daily!

The courgettes, cucumbers and tomatoes have all cropped well and stayed very healthy too - this was today's haul.

Interestingly the two tomato plants given to me by a friend have cropped less heavily than the ones that I grew from seed by the lunar calendar, but of course this might be due to the different varieties rather than anything to do with the moon!

Although this isn’t a like for like comparison (as one was in open ground and one in a container), this is some salad that I sowed by mistake on the wrong moon calendar day 

and this was sown on the correct day but a week later. 

Both pictures were taken on the same day and you can see that the later one has not only caught up, it's over taken and remained healthy despite almost being drowned in the monsoons we had which meant it sat under an inch of water for a while!  

Do I understand how or why it works?  Basically it's to do with the water levels in the soil and the moon’s pull on the tides, but beyond that I don't really understand it. 

Interesting there was a discussion about it on Gardeners’ Question Time last week - (scroll to 14.08) and they seem to have had initial success with this method too, although the full results won’t be known for a few more weeks. 

Would I do it again?  Yes definitely. It is a bit restricting at times, but it made me more organised and was do-able because I was gardening at home and not on an allotment a few miles away.

Anyone like a borlotti bean - I have quite a few!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hydrangeas - a marmite plant?

Love them or hate them?  I never used to like them at all, they reminded me of municipal car-parks and my mother's never ending quest to make her pink ones turn blue, but a few years ago I discovered some that I do like, very much.

Hydrangea Paniculata Vanille Fraise opens a delicate creamy white

and gradually turns pink.

The flower heads have a lovely openness and a 'conical' shape.

My other favourite is Hydrangea Annabelle.

She opens white too but gradually turns a lime green. 

Her flower heads are enormous ball shapes!

I wonder if you love them or hate them? Or maybe, like me now, you love some but not others.