Dear Readers,

I’ve talked a little about gardening by the moon and I wanted to detail what I will be doing in my half of the garden.

Using the lunar cycles to sow seeds and harvest by isn’t New Age growing methods thought up by hippies.  Farmers in Europe have been using lunar cycles in the yearly farmers’ almanac for years.  Typically, there are  three methods for planting by the moon; the sidereal method, synodic also known as waxing and waning cycle and the biodynamic cycle.

Gardening by the moon

Full moon over the Wasatch mountains

In a nutshell, biodynamic growing is a sustainable method of growing organically.  It uses manures and composts and does not use artificial chemicals for fertilization or pest control on soil or plants.  It is often seen as a local unified system from how the livestock on the land are fed, the crops cultivated and the soil health and fertility.  Local and heirloom varieties of plants are often grown in accordance to a mood calendar utilizing the zodiac.

Use of herbal and mineral sprays for soil and compost preparations are used to enhance soil fertility and maintain plant health.  Preparations are seen as forces in harmony with the cosmos not as mere substances to strew on the ground.  However, some of these preparations come with a somewhat controversial preparation method to harness cosmic forces to enhance growth, and are not to everybody’s cup of tea or ethos.  The system uses cow horn and quartz for example, which poses some ethical sourcing and extracting questions.

The original method was developed by Rudolph Steiner in 1924 and now farmers and gardeners from Germany to Australia, North America to India use these organic growing techniques.

For the purposes of my biodynamic garden experiment, I will only be using the planting timings (fruit, blossom, root or leaf day) indicated by the North American Biodynamic Calendar 2015 by Matthias Thun, the compost and soil preparations I purchased from the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics.

The ground I will be working on is a raised bed which will be constructed from redwood by the JimJim and placed on top of the lawn (much to his annoyance).  Using my usual technique of making raised beds I will be covering the grass with cardboard then with homemade compost and manure from a local horse which has been composting for 3 years (thanks to the American again for having buddies with a pony).  Half of this bed will be maintained biodynamically, the other half will be organic, no-dig.

I will be updating with step by step bed construction and step by step usage of the biodynamic preparations throughout the growing season as well as crop yield and form, and occurrence of pests versus the organic no-dig and conventional gardening performed by JimJim.