In my last article, I looked at how planting and harvest according to the phases of the moon can affect plant growth and the quality and quantity of our plant harvests. In part 2 I am going to delve deeper into the world of astrology and agriculture by considering the effect the constellations can have on our crops as the moon passes through each sign.
The idea of planting according to the moon and zodiac is an ancient tradition dating back thousands of years, and was probably one of the earliest farming methods. As agriculture developed in the twentieth century the practice dwindled until Philosopher Rudolf Steiner took the concept further by creating a method of agriculture that’s purpose was to improve the health of soil, plants and animals while working organically with the natural rhythms of the earth and cosmos. Biodynamic farming methods began and was quickly adopted by a group of farmers in Europe in the 1930’s. Biodynamic farming is a holistic system of farming that not only considers earth and astrological influences but also crop diversification and rotation, creating habitats for beneficial insects, composting and mulching. The notion is similar to the Japanese ‘Nature Farming’ method and the Permaculture approach whereby the farm itself is considered an organism and working in harmony with natural forces rather than against them is key.
How it works…
The concept of working with astrological agriculture goes like this; each zodiac sign is ruled by one of the four elements – earth, air, fire, and water. In general terms, the water and earth signs are considered optimal for planting whereas the fire and air signs are classified as barren and are considered most favorable for weeding. However, these same four elements also rule one of the four essential plant parts; leaves are ruled by water, roots by earth, flowers by air and fruit/seed by fire. So, if I were to plant some Comfrey I would look for a ‘water’ day, either Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces. Just as we need rest to grow and flourish, gardening by this method also allows for rest time for our garden, where planting and harvesting should not be done. This allows for greater balance within our garden and within ourselves. See the cheat sheet below for the fundamental do’s and don’ts for each sign.
So how can we easily incorporate the moons phases and the astrological signs with our gardening plans? The Farmer’s Almanac has an excellent calendar which includes not only favorable planting dates but also the best days to breed animals, start and end projects and go camping! Of course, in this modern world there are also many apps that assist you in creating a planting and harvesting schedule for your garden including ‘Moon and Garden’ and ‘Garden Augur’ (Note, I have not tried these apps so I cannot comment on their capability.)
While planting, and harvesting by the moon and zodiac can allow us to get the most out of our garden we must also look at the bigger picture of these methods. When we work with nature, we must immerse ourselves in the natural rhythms of the Earth and the Universe. We must look at not only what we can gain from the land but how we can give back to the earth, the soil, the plants, the insects, and animals around us. By working in balance and harmony with the living world we work with the land instead of from the land and from that we stand to gain a lot more than just improving the quality and quantity on our harvests.