Dark Moon

What’s up this week:

  • I’ll be at the Hospital rd Oasis tomorrow Tuesday 9-11am, and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 4-6pm
  • The second Volunteer Introduction is Wednesday 5.30pm for those who didn’t brave the southerly gales and icy rain last Wednesday
  • Next workshop is Thursday 12th, Sow Seeds, 6.30pm at my place.
  • Next week, I’ll be at the Hospital rd Oasis same hours, and the workshop on Thursday 19th will be Perfect Compost 6.30pm at my place.

On Thursday, the Moon will be new again. But what does the different phases actually mean? There are three different movements: the waxing and waning, how high it is in the sky, and how close it is to Earth. Bio-intensive systems are most preoccupied with the waxing and waning, but as I grow tuned to these phases I realise there’s much more to the Moon’s influence on all living things.

Being alive on Earth means to contain water. And this water is easily influenced by the Moon’s gravity, with an easier upwards movement when the moon is closer to the Earth. The most obvious sign of this is of course the tides in the oceans, but there are actually tides in the fertile humus layer of the continents as well.

For plants, the photosynthesis seem to be quite influenced by the Moon’s luminosity (waxing and waning), and of course where it is in the sky. Some nights it doesn’t rise at all, and thus have little influence. Somenights, when the Moon is full and up from dusk to dawn, I find it really hard to sleep as it is so light. I think such nights are made for parties 🙂 !

Up until now, I’ve basically been repeating what different gardening books and publications say, combined with my own best knowledge and judgement. A short while ago, I started to be really attentive to when the Moon actually rises and sets, how high it is, what phase it is in and the sensations I have personnally and what I perceive in the garden. To help myself (and you, hopefully) with this, I use a moon calendar which shows just these three patterns. It doesn’t tell which constellation the Moon is in, as for biodynamics, but it helps me connect with the patterns that i actually do see and connect with.

So, this week:

  • Today, Monday 9th, the Moon is as its farthest from Earth (for this cycle). It will be less and less illuminated for the next three days, and is already at a scant 7.2%. It rose at 4.44am this morning, and will set at 5.39pm in the west, so it won’t put any light in our gardens at night.
  • Tomorrow, Tuesday 10th, it is a little bit closer (thus bigger, from our point of view), and less illuminated. It will rise again 5.13am in the east, set 6.35pm in the west.
  • Wednesday 11th, it’s rising 5.45am and setting 7.33pm, and it’s showing as a thin, thin sliver, just before darkening completely.
  • Thursday morning at 6.47am (just after it rises at 6.19am) it turns around and starts brightening up again. It’s already much closer to us as well, compared to Monday. If it’s clear, it will show on the west-soutwest horizon when it sets at 8.30pm (or earlier, depending on how high or low you are in relation to the horizon).
  • Friday, it rises after the sun in the morning and sets 9.26pm, so you have another chance at greeting it 🙂 .
  • Saturday, it sets even later (10.21pm), and is back at almost the same luminosity as today.
  • Sunday 15th, the Moon is well into its light (11.3%) and will be easy to spot in the evening as it sets in the west-southwest at 11.13pm.

What does this mean in terms of gardening? Maybe nothing, maybe something ; in any case it has been a way for gardeners through the ages to calculate when to sow, transplant and look out for diseases. Common gardener knowledge is that fungal disease strike hardest when the Moon is full and the sap is high, which for me sounds like the closest point between Moon and Earth (making higher tides). To prepare for this event, which would be the days between 21-27th, we should start feeding the plants with micronutrients now and avoid heavy nitrogen food the week before. So out with the seaweed and comfrey brews now for weekly sprays!

Support your plants through this week of weak lunar influence. They might not look like they’re growing so much, observe… Sow seeds of zuccini, beans, carrot, beetroot, spring onions and leafy greens on Tuesday so they absorb water and are ready to germinate when the Moon starts to move closer again, pulling stronger on the growth and the tides. Hopefully they’ll poke through on the weekend and benefit from the increased light as the Moon is up more and more at night.

Of course, these are just my experimentations with a life more in tune with these harmonies. If it speaks to you, feel free to use the tools and if you already have some experience in this I’d love to have your feedback below!

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