August 2015

Here’s a basic explanation of why each month’s gardening notes outline the best dates to plant particular types of crops …

The belt of stars and constellations – the zodiac – is fixed in the cosmos. The planets and the moon move in front of the belt on their own eliptical orbit. So the moon passes in front of each constellation every 27.3 days. Because the constellations are different sizes, the time the moon spends in front of each one varies from a couple of days to four (as you can see by the dates below). The influence of each constellation is then brought to bear on the soil as you sow, or plant, cultivate, weed, or apply the BD preps.

We work with the constellations, as well as lunar ascending/descending periods, nodes, waxing and waning (read more here) – the moon rhythms – in the biodynamic garden.
Two women – Lili Lolisko and Maria Thun are responsible for much of this work, guided by Steiner’s initial teachings.
Maria Thun found commonalities in zodiacal constellations that were 60 degrees apart from each other, which she called trigons. She grouped the twelve signs of the zodiac into four trigons:
  • Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are associated with “air/light” and relate to “flower” crops
  • Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio are “water” and relate to “leaf” crops
  • Taurus, Capricorn and Virgo are “earth” elements and relate to “root” crops
  • Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are associated with “fire” and relate to “fruit/seed” crops (Leo is particularly linked with seed)

So when planting, think about what crop “type” you are growing – eg. cauliflower and broccoli are “flower” crops. “Leaf” crops include the obvious, but also cabbage, brussel sprouts, chives, herbs where you are harvesting leaf parts, etc.  etc. Try to weed and cultivate soil around plants at their corresponding trigon time (even if you may not get planting days spot on). Harvest in either flower or fruit sign for better storage qualities.

And remember that the broader lunar rhythm – ascending, descending, full moon, etc. will very often hold sway over the constellar influence. See this interesting bit of research from 2014 on lunar planting.

Another important consideration is your crop rotation; this relates to “families” of plants, not “elemental types”, and their planting sequence.The aim is to ensure crop plantings build soil and plant (and human) health, not compromise them. More on that another time.

Other jobs this month: feed fruit trees and perennials with compost ahead of spring growth spurts, protection against codling moth using cardboard collars and sticky glue (see earlier post), mulch garlic, ready beds for spring planting. Gear up for spring seed sowing and contemplate an early seed sowing session towards the end of August – see what to sow here (look at the crops, not the dates, and align the crops with august dates).

Last chance for a BD500 application before the winter ends – try early in the month if conditions are damp and overcast (see below for best dates). Ready the garden for spring – clean and service tools and mowers, etc. and any infrastructure (shade/net structures, extra compost bays for all that growth, etc ) that needs to go in before the soil dries and hardens and things get busy …

Enjoy the august garden.

Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:

Leaf Days: 3-6, 12-15, 22-25, 31:  bok choi, cabbage, kale, celery, coriander, endive, mibuna, mizuna, orach, rocket, tat soi, leek, lettuce, mustard, silverbeet, chard, spinach, chives, garlic chives, dill, parsley

Fruit Days: 6-8, 13-17, 25-27broad beans, mustard, peas,

Root Days: 1-2, 8-10, 17-20, 27-29: Beetroot, carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi, garlic, garlic chives, leek, bunching onion, onion, radish, daikon, swede, turnip,

Flower Days: 2-4, 10-12, 20-22, 29-31: broccoli, borage, cauliflower,

Moon Opposite Saturn (considered a good date for sowing seeds, applying preps and planting, or 48hrs either side): 2, 30

Node Days (avoid planting if you can): 4, 18, 31

Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence): 18

Perigee (moon clostest to eath; more lunar influence): 2, 31

New Moon/Full Moon: 15/30

Moon descending: 1-10, 25-31

Moon ascending: 10-25

Apply soil fertilisers, compost: 1-10, 31

Prune, apply tree paste, take cuttings, plant seedlings: 1-2, 8-10 best then 4-6, 31, 27-29

Apply foliar fertilisers: 15-25

Graft: 20-22

For more information on the astro planting dates (and where to get your own calendar) see the Gardening Notes page.

Dates are a guide for these particular crops. Timing will vary from region to region (particularly with climate change) and even within a garden’s own microclimates. Of course, rainfall, weather conditions and your own schedule will influence when you garden.

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