Sunday, March 23, 2014

Planting by the Moon and Fruit Tree Pruning

Planting by the moon & fruit tree pruning was the topic of this weeks Neighborhood Dirt class.  Erica Jensen presented us with some wonderful information on the in's and out's of planting by the phases of the moon.  Little did I know that not only the moon affected plant growth, but where the moon was in relationship of the zodiac also made a great difference in the success of that which was planted.  We should really get familiar with this topic so our understandings of how our forefathers planted may be second nature to us, after all they did it to survive! 
Max Hale gave us a great visual example of what he had learned from a pruning class he attended a few weeks ago as he brought tree branches in and showed us where and how to cut for the best production of fruit.  He will continue this demonstration on some of Robert Wards fruit trees next class, weather permitting.


Phil-osophy:  God place man in a garden to learn first hand how to provide for himself.  He has been relatively successful until our time.  During the twentieth and twentieth-first century this important task of suppling the bread of life to mankind has been left to a small group of big business farmers, unfortunately they were duped by the commercial fertilizer companies of the 1940's into believing that what was being produced was safe for the ground and the consumer.  Now they find it almost impossible to change to the slower gear of natural fertilizers and green manure crops as our great-grandfathers once did.  It's all about money today.  If we do not learn for ourselves and pass the information along to our children they will be doomed, having no possible way of surviving without a state sponsored GMO food crop of the real near future.  Let's begin moving towards the garden God has wanted us to live in from the very beginning, and what the one-thousand year reign called the millennium is all about (at least somewhat about), lets build our own gardens up in these mountains of beautiful Idaho to no longer be robbed of our health and well-being, not to mention the cost of food that takes hard earned money from our pockets.  Lets build gardens that can withstand the economic blows that we know are coming, lets encourage everyone we come in contact with to do the same.  If successful, our families, our neighborhoods, and our community can thrive or at least survive when all hell breaks loose!  Food storage alone will not keep us safe, we must learn how to produce food for storage as well.  Those that rely on storage alone will die when it runs out, only the ability to build soil, save seed, plant, harvest and store as our forefathers did will save the day and us with it.   


I copied and pasted the material that Erica presented in class so that you would not have to go to the site where she retrieved the data, unfortunately some of the pictures were blurry on the original site but I tried to get it to a size that was at least somewhat legible. sorry!

I had can only give the site for the information taught by Max because it was in a different format than what I could copy besides being too much data.    so here it is.......


Planting by the moon. 


The age-old practice of performing farm chores by the Moon stems from the simple belief that the Moon governs moisture.  

Pliny the Elder, the first-century Roman naturalist, stated in his Natural History that the Moon "replenishes the earth; when she approaches it, she fills all bodies, while, when she recedes, she empties them." 

Moon Folklore 
Folklore is rich among farmers, given their close ties to Earth and her natural rhythms. 

Rail fences cut during the dry, waning Moon will stay straighter. 
Wooden shingles and shakes will lie flatter if cut during the dark of the Moon. 
Fence posts should be set in the dark of the Moon to resist rotting. Ozark lore says that fence posts 
should always be set as the tree grew. To set the root end upward makes a short-lived fence. 
Don't begin weaning when the Moon is waning. 
Castrate and dehorn animals when the Moon is waning for less bleeding. 
Slaughter when the Moon is waxing for juicier meat. 
Crabbing, shrimping, and clamming are best when the Moon is full. 
Best days for fishing are between the new and full Moon. See our best fishing dates for the year. 
Dig your horseradish in the full Moon for the best flavor. 
Set eggs to hatch on the Moon's increase, but not if a south wind blows. 

The Moon's Phases 
The Moon's phases guided many a farmer and gardener in the past, and still do today: 

Moonrise occurring in the evening brings fair weather, says one proverb, harking back to the belief that 
the waning Moon (full and last quarter, which rise in the evening) is dry. 
The New Moon and first quarter, or waxing phases, are considered fertile and wet. 
The new and first-quarter phases, known as the light of the Moon, are considered good for planting 
above-ground crops, putting down sod, grafting trees, and transplanting. 
From full Moon through the last quarter, or the dark of the Moon, is the best time for killing weeds, 
thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops. 
The time just before the full Moon is considered particularly wet, and is best for planting during drought 

Planting by the Moon 
Above-ground crops are planted during the light of the Moon (new to full); below-ground crops are planted during the dark of the Moon (from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again). Planting is done in the daytime; planting at night is optional!

The Full Worm Moon: March's Moon Guide 

Full Moon Names 
March is the month of the Full Worm Moon. 
The Full Worm Moon was given its name by the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior.  At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. In some regions, this is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins. 

Moon Phase Dates 2014 

All dates and times are ET. See the Moon Phase Calendar for your city/state. 

Best Days in March 2014 
Below are the best days for activities, based on the Moon's sign and phase in March. 
For Planting: Above-ground crops:1,10,11   Below-ground crops:19,20,28,29 
For Setting Eggs: 16, 17, 25 
For Fishing: 1–16, 30, 31
Full moon on the 16th of march. 

MARCH 2014 
12th-16th A most barren period, best for doing chores around the farm. 
17th-18th Favorable days for planting root crops, fine for sowing hay, fodder crops, and grains. Plant flowers now. 
19th-21st Excellent time for planting root crops that can be planted now and for starting seedbeds. Good days for transplanting. 
22nd-23rd These are poor planting days. 
24th-25th Any root crops that can be planted will do well. 
26th-27th A barren period, best suited for killing pests. Do plowing and cultivating. 
28th-29th Favorable days for planting beets, carrots, radishes, salsify, turnips, peanuts, and other root crops. Also good for planting cucumbers, melons, 
pumpkins, and other vine crops. Set strawberry plants. Good days for transplanting. 
30th-31st Cultivate and spray, do general farm work, but no planting. 

         Pink Moon: April Full Moon Phases 
Full Moon Names 
April's Full Moon, Full Pink Moon, heralds the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox—one of the 
first spring flowers. It is also known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon. 
A full Moon in April brings frost. If the full Moon rises pale, expect rain. 

Moon Phase Dates 2014 
All dates and times are ET. See our Moon Phase Calender for your city/state. 

 Best Days in April 2014
Below are the Best Days for activities, based on the Moon's sign and phase in April. 

For Planting: Above ground crops: 6-7 Below ground crops: 16, 17, 24, 25 
For Setting Eggs: 12, 13, 22, 23 
For Fishing: 1–15, 29, 30 

The period from the full Moon through the last quarter of the Moon is the best time for killing weeds, thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops. 
The Moon is not going to be pink. April's full Moon is called the Pink Moon as it references the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox, one of the first spring flowers. 

APRIL 2014 
1st-2nd Favorable days for planting beans, corn, cotton, tomatoes, peppers, and other aboveground crops. 
3rd-5th Poor days for planting, seeds tend to rot in the ground. 
6th-7th Plant tomatoes, beans, peppers, corn, cotton, and other aboveground crops on these two most fruitful days. Plant seedbeds. Start flower 
8th-12th Poor planting days. 
13th-15th Favorable planting days: First two days are good for planting corn, melons, squash, tomatoes, and other aboveground crops. Last day good 
for planting root crops. All days good for sowing grains, hay, and fodder crops. Plant flowers. 
16th-17th Good days for planting beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, peanuts, and other root crops. Also good for cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, kale, 
celery, and other leafy vegetables. Start seedbeds. Good days for transplanting. 
18th-19th Barren days. Do no planting. 
20th-21st Favorable days for planting beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, onions, and other root crops. 
22nd-23rd Excellent time to kill weeds, briars, poison ivy, and other plant pests. 
24th-25th Good days for planting root crops, extra good for vine crops. Set strawberry plants. Good for transplanting. 
26th-28th These are poor planting days. Break ground or cultivate. Best for killing plant pests and weeds. 
29th-30th Favorable for planting beans, corn, cotton, tomatoes, peppers, and other aboveground crops. 
                               The Full Flower Moon: May's Moon Guide 

Full Moon Names 
The full Moon in May is called the Full Flower Moon. 
May's Full Flower Moon, also called Mother's Moon, Milk Moon, and Corn Planting Moon, marks a time of increasing fertility with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near end to late frosts, and plants in bloom. 

Moon Phase Dates 2014 

Best Days in May 2014 
For Planting: Aboveground crops: 3, 4, 13   Belowground crops: 21, 22 
For Setting Eggs: 9–11, 19, 20 
For Fishing: 1–14, 28–31 

Full Moon Facts & Folklore 
Clothes washed for the first time in the full Moon will not last long 
The full Moon is an ideal time to accept a proposal of marriage. 

MAY 2014 
1st-2nd Any seed planted now will tend to rot. 
3rd-5th These are most favorable days for planting corn, cotton, okra, beans, peppers, eggplant, and other aboveground crops. Plant seedbeds and flower gardens. 
6th-10th A barren period. 

A few simple rules to consider:  When the moon is waxing;  going from new to full, plant for growth above the ground.  Next, the waning cycle, from full to new is used to plant for anything that grows beneath the ground, such as your root crops. 

New moon waxing;  At the new moon, the lunar gravity pulls water up, and causes the seeds to swell and burst. This is the best time for planting above ground annual crops that produce their seeds outside the fruit, such as lettuce, spinach, celery, and broccoli. 

Second quarter;  The gravitational pull is less, but the moonlight is stronger, creating strong 
leaf growth. It is generally a good time for planting, especially two days before the full moon. 
Crops that prefer the second quarter are annuals that produce above ground, but their seeds 
form inside the fruit, such as beans, melons, and peas. 

Full moon waning;  After the full moon, as the moon wanes, the energy is drawing down. 
The gravitation pull is high, creating more moisture in the soil, but the moonlight is 
decreasing, putting energy into the roots. This is a favorable time for planting root crops like 
beets, carrots, onions, and potatoes. It is also good for perennials, biennials, bulbs and 
transplanting because of the active root growth. Pruning is best done in the third quarter, in 
the sign of Scorpio. 

Fourth quarter;  here is decreased gravitational pull and moonlight, and it is considered 
a resting period. This is also the best time to cultivate, harvest, transplant and prune. 

There are six rhythms that are a guide to us. 
These are rhythms that sustain all life on Earth. Biodynamic farmers strive to bring life 
back into the soil, so that the food produced from this living soil has increased life 
force/vitality/nutrition, enhancing the quality of human life. 
This can be accomplished when the rhythms of our farming activities are aligned with 
the natural Cosmic and Earth rhythms. 
Human life, as well as animal and plant life, is strongly dependent on the rhythms of the 
Earth. As the Earth turns on its axis in the course of 24 hours, we have day and then 

The 6 Moon Rhythms are: 
Full-New Moon                       29.5 days 
Moon opposite Saturn              27.3 days 
Ascending-Descending Moon   27.3 days 
Moon Nodes                            27.2 days 
Perigee-Apogee                        27.5 days 
Moon in Zodiac Constellations  27.3 days 


This rhythm is easy to see. It begins at new moon, when the moon is close to the sun and almost invisible. 
As the moon moves away from the sun we see it more clearly, first as a slender very beautiful crescent in the sky - the new moon. Just over 7 days later it reaches first quarter, when the moon's disk is half bright, 
half dark. First quarter is followed by full moon which is about 12 times as bright as first quarter, then comes last quarter, when the other half is illuminated. After approx. 29.5 days the rhythm begins again. 

Farmer observations and scientific experiments over many centuries have identified noticable effects of the Full Moon on plant growth. Based on the Agriculture Lectures of Rudolf Steiner and subsequent scientific research, biodynamic agriculture recognizes the following 
New Moon and Full Moon influences: 

  *The element most affected by the moon energies is water (for example, the    sap in plants). 
  *In the 48 hours leading up to Full Moon there appears a distinct increase in    the moisture content of the earth. The growth forces of plants seem to be    enhanced. 
  *During the Full Moon period there is quick gemination of seeds, fast plant    growth, and  a  rapid  re-growth  of  any  cut,  mown  or  pruned  vegetation. 
  *There appears to be a quicker cell division and a tendency to elongation of growth. 
  *Seed germination is fast but may be soft and prone to fungus attack, particularly in warm  conditions  and  high  humidity. 
  *The influence of the Full Moon appears to provide favourable conditions for the growth of fungus on all plants. This is related to the increase of moisture and humidity. 
  *There is an increase in insect activity. Particularly slugs and snails, and internal worm parasites in  humans  and  animals. 
  *The Full  Moon influence allows good absorption of  liquid manures. 
  *Often  there  is  a  tendency  for  rain  at  Full  Moon. 
  *Towards New Moon there is more activity underground in the soil and the flow of sap in plants is less strong. Therefore, a good time for turning under green manure and cutting hay. 

The second cycle I thought would be prudent is the Moon in Zodiac Constellations 27.3 days rhythm

The Zodiac is a belt of fixed stars which are in groupings we call constellations. This belt of stars lies behind the ecliptic path of the Sun. All the planets, and the Moon, move in front of the zodiac constellations. 

 Here we are concerned with the Moon, which passes quickly in front of all 12 zodiac constellations in 
just 27.3 days. Because the zodiac constellations are of different sizes, the Moon stands in front of each 
for a shorter or longer time, approx. between 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 days. Rudolf Steiner taught that every 
zodiac constellation radiates certain favourable conditions to the plants, which the Moon will focus as it 
passes in front of each constellation. The influences of the constellations are passed on, reflected by the 
Moon, through the 4 classical elements of nature - warmth/fire, light/air, water and earth in the 
following groupings. 

*The Elements 
*The Elementsments of nature - warmth/fire, light/air, water and earth in the following groupings. 

The influences of the particular constellation are brought into the soil through cultivation of the soil at the appropriate time The germinating seed also receives these influences, so if it is desired to promote a certain influence, such as more leaves in a cabbage head or more kernels on a corn cob, then the biodynamic farmer cultivates and sows the seed during the favorable constellation period. Astronomy scientists can calculate the exact time the Moon passes through each constellation. These times are given in the Planting Calendar. 

In between signs the Moon is void of course, which is a good time to take a break and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labors! 
According to the we are in the sign of scorpio to day. 

Understanding Transits of the Moon 
The Moon enters (ingresses) into the next zodiac sign approximately every two to three days. It is not uncommon for the Moon to ingress all twelve signs within the month. Some months the moon will ingress as much as fourteen times, however, the norm is thirteen ingresses per month. 

Isaac Newton established the laws of gravity, which proves the tides are affected by the gravitational pull of the moon. The pull of the moon is stronger than the sun because, even though the sun is larger, the moon is closer to the earth. The strongest effect is felt when the moon and sun pull from the opposite sides of the earth, at the full moon phase, although it also creates high tides when they are on the same side (at the new moon) as well. 

The gravitation of the passing moon pulls the nearest body of water a little away from the solid mass of earth beneath it, and at the same time pulls the earth a little away from the water on the farthest side. In this manner the moon sets up two tidal bulges on opposite sides of the earth.” (Louise Riotte, 1) 

These same forces affect the water content of the soil, creating more moisture in the soil at the time of the new and full moon. This increased moisture encourages the seeds to sprout and grow. 

Dr. Frank Brown of Northwestern University performed research over a ten-year period of time, keeping meticulous records of his results. He found that plants absorbed more water at the time of the full moon. He conducted his experiments in a laboratory without direct contact from the moon, yet he found that they were still influenced by it. (2) 

Rudolf Steiner was the founder of the anthroposophical movement, which sees a correlation between science, nature, universal laws and spiritual concerns. Out of this movement the Biodynamic methods of planting were developed. He established a relationship between the elements of earth, air, fire, or water that corresponded to specific parts of the plants. Earth corresponds to root, water to leaf growth, fire to seed production, and air corresponds to flowers. Hence, when planting crops for their fleshy roots, you would plant them in an earth sign, and so forth. 

Biodynamic methods are based on the heliocentric, or astronomical, position of the moon. This system is more complicated and also takes into consideration eclipses, trine, apogee and perigee as well as descending and ascending moons. (The Gardening by the Moon Calendar is based on the geocentric and astrological calculations.) 

John Jeavons, author of "How to grow more vegetables…" adds the influence of the increasing or decreasing moonlight on the growth of plants. When the moon is in it's waxing phases the " increasing amount of moonlight stimulates leaf growth", and " as the moonlight decreases the above ground leaf growth slows down. The root is stimulated again."(3) 

Further tests have been conducted, most notably by Frau Dr. Kolisko in Germany in 1939, and by Maria Thun in 1956. They primarily experimented with root crops, showing the effect of lunar phases on seed germination. They found maximum germination on the days before the Full moon. Crop yields were reported by weight. 

Thun was surprised to discover that the signs of the zodiac played its' part as well. Thun experimented with a variety of crops: carrots and parsnips represented root crops; lettuce, spinach and corn salad as leaf types; beans, peas, cucumbers and tomatoes as fruit seed types; zinnias, snapdragons and asters were air crops. Crops responded well when planted in the appropriate sign for their type of plant. There were some exceptions, however. Some plants seemed to favor signs other than what would appear to be logical; for instance the brassica family, (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) which one might consider flowering types, seemed to favor water signs. Cucumbers sown on leaf days had strong leafy growth, but did not produce many flowers. Their tests also seemed to indicate that responses to lunar planting were heightened when planted in organic soil that had not been treated with chemical fertilizer or pesticides. (4)

The old-time gardeners say, "With the waxing of the moon, the earth inhales. " When the sap in the plants rise, the force first goes into the growth above ground. Thus, you should do all activities with plants that bear fruit above ground during a waxing moon. With the waning of the moon, the earth exhales. Then, the sap primarily goes down toward the roots. Thus, the waning moon is a good time for pruning, multiplying, fertilizing, watering, harvesting, and controlling parasites and weeds” (5) 

Plants sown in the correct combination of the best lunar phase and sign show increased vigor, due to having all the best influences. They are growing at an optimum rate and are not as prone to setbacks that would affect less healthy plants. Harvests are often quicker, larger and crops don't go to seed as fast. 

Here is how to calculate, when to plant your seeds by the moon. 

First, find the best moon phase for your crops. If they are annual plants that produce above ground you will want to plant in the first or second quarter, preferably close to the time of the new or full moon. Root crops are best planted just after the full moon. Secondly, find the astrological sign of the zodiac that best represents your crop. 

Roots are favored by earth signs of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn; leafy crops are best planted in Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces; flowers are best in Libra, but also Gemini or Aquarius; and seed crops such as fruits and nuts may be planted in Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius. Some consider the fire signs to be barren and dry, and not the best for planting, so you can experiment and see what works for you. 
Of course, you must be in the right season to get good results. Each type of seed has preferences of air and soil temperature for planting, which overrides the benefit of lunar cycles. 

Starting seeds in flats 
If you want to get the most out of your season, especially if it is a short one, you will want to start seeds in flats in a controlled environment, and have them ready to go in the ground when the weather warms up. To calculate when to start seeds you need to know when your average last frost dates are. Once you know your frost date, you will want to know how many weeks it takes to grow to transplant size. Starting at your last frost date, count backwards the number of weeks you need. Next, look for the nearest favorable moon phase, and then to the perfect moon sign. Some adjustment may be necessary, pushing that date up or back to accommodate a particularly frost sensitive plant, or a warmer year than normal. A plant can always be potted up and held until the outdoor temperature is right. To calculate when to start a fall garden, work from the first expected frost date, counting back the number of weeks needed to reach harvest. In mild winter areas, hardy crops can be planted a month or two later. They need to get some good growth before the cold weather sets in, then they will reward you with an late fall or early spring harvest.