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!


Mystic Quilter said...

Very interesting post Su - I should see if this book is available in New Zealand - I would be interesting in trying your methods!

Jo said...

I think lunar planting is really interesting and I'd love to give it a go, but think it would be too restricting. I may give it a go at some time in the future though.

Anna said...

A fascinating subject Su. A friend of my mums has sown by the moon for years and regularly produces some great crops. Not sure whether it would work for me as allotment is on doorstep but I do sow quite a lot of seeds at home so perhaps I could dip my toes in. Those borlotti beans make a great splash of colour.

Toffeeapple said...

I am so pleased that you did it and had remarkable results. Same again next year?

Plain Jane said...

Wow - I'm really impressed with those seeds catching up and then overtaking their partners. It's fascinating stuff. Well done x Jane

Gina said...

It sounds fascinating. I'm wondering if I could ever be so organised.

Celia Hart said...

You've convinced me! I'll have to get a calendar for next year xx

elaine said...

Fascinating stuff - it all sounds a bit complicated to me though but from your comparisons it obviously works - maybe there is something in it.

Miriam Weaver said...

It was well worth the effort as you had such good results!


I'm glad there is some kind of scientific explanation for this as I was getting more worried about you the longer I read on! That old moon is a funny thing though. xCathy

Sue Garrett said...

It would be interesting to know whether the results are replicated over different years as this year has been 'very different' to last.

rusty duck said...

Hi Su, I just found you from Jo.
I've read about lunar planting before but never known whether to believe it or not. It does seem to work for you, will be interested to see what happens next year!
Love your Hydrangea paniculata too.. I've just put it on my 'must have' list!

Fran Rushworth said...

It works for me too - I have broadly stuck to planting by the calendar for years now. I have often wondered about the mechanism. I also speculate that changes in the gravitational pull of the moon and sun in their shifting alignments with earth must affect rooting. It is clearly established that roots sense gravity and grow toward it, even in the dark. Not so convinced about the constellations causing root, flower and fruit days. Just decided it seems to work.

kate maryon said...

It's a principle that farmers have used forever.... I grew up following the farmers almanac neat to see your comparisons.

Roger Brook said...

Interesting post but I don't believe you can predict the right day to plant from moon dates on the calendar. What I have noticed over the years however is that there are times when your seeds do really well and a few days later when the same variety seeds don't don't. For instance my first sowing of french bean this year did really well, the second was rubbish and the third really good. I would argue that this variation is generally due to unpredictable factors.

Snowbird said...

How fascinating, I've heard of this and now to have it confirmed successful is fantastic. I must find out more!

A wonderful blog you have here....I'm over from Jo's where you're blog of the month.xxxx