While reading up on permaculture principles, I discovered the idea of gardening by the phases of the moon (one of a number of practices included in the practice of biodynamic farming). While these ideas may sound a little flaky, there are a number of reputable gardeners who swear by it. Guides to the phases of the moon can be found on the Old Farmer’s Almanac, as well as here, and a more in-depth calendar can be found here. In contrast, many have attacked biodynamic farming as a non-scientific hoax.
According to tradition, the differences in the gravitational pull of the moon during the different phases of the moon can make conditions more favorable for different types of plants. Seeding during the new moon is thought to be best for leafy annuals, while the first quarter phase is best for fruiting annuals and the full moon phase is best for root crops. The last quarter phase is a rest period, best used for non-planting tasks such as weeding or other upkeep.
Biodynamic agriculture is a spiritual practice, valuing farming methods that promote spiritual harmony with the earth. These methods are based on traditional practices, many of which have been practiced for generations. Being trained in science I can’t help but think that it’s likely that a number of environmental conditions vary in conjunction with the phases of the moon (many of which we don’t fully understand). I also know that many traditional practices have been shown to be based on scientific principles. It’s easy to dismiss ideas with religious connotations, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work.
I’m not going to draw any conclusions without more information, but I’m curious – do any of you know anything about this movement? Have any of you tried planting by the phases of the moon?