Monday, April 2, 2012

"Moonstruck" Penstemons and Herbs - Gardening by the moon
An English garden in France,

A small, family run nursery, that specialise in growing Penstemons and herbs. Trading direct from their nursery, and also online for either pick up or delivery. Situated in Central France, near the border of Creuse and Indre. Jayne is very interested in Lunar planting and she has popped in today to tell us a little more about it. I personally have never tried this method but most of my French neighbors follow moon planting and would do it no other way, me I have a lot to learn. Thanks so much Jayne.
I often have people asking what “gardening by the moon” actually means and does it work or is it just hocus pocus? For us it works and compliments our organic approach to gardening and it helps to keep us organised and give structure to our planning. On first impressions it can seem quite complicated and confusing so I’ll try and outline the principles in a simple way as I understand them.

Mankind has believed in and used these principles for thousands of years; they are not new-fangled ideas. For me they are real and have far more authenticity than many scientific facts or statements that then are later proven to be false.

Lunar gardening follows the path of the moon throughout each month and year and accordingly the phase of the moon dictates which tasks would be done most successfully. Plants are influenced by the moon in the same ways as tides have the gravitational pull, affecting the world’s oceans and seas. Plants benefit from these natural changes of environment, for example, seeds germinate more quickly, leaf and root growth are stimulated, harvests bear a greater yield and even the dreaded weed can be slowed down!

Most people are familiar with the terms Full Moon and New Moon and the lunar month is divided into quarters. These quarters are then separated into waxing and waning periods, also known as the phase of the moon.

1st quarter – New Moon – waxing – during this period it is favourable for balanced leaf and root growth. Moisture is pulled up from the earth in the waxing phase.

2nd quarter – waxing – strong leaf growth. A good time for planting.

3rd quarter – Full Moon – waning – planting root crops, perennials and biennials, bulbs and transplanting, because of active root growth. Moisture is pulled down to the earth in the waning phase.

4th quarter – waning – resting period so good for cultivating, weeding, mowing the grass to retard growth, harvesting and pruning.

How to tell what phase the moon is in:
The diagram below shows the 4 quarters and as you look at the moon in each phase where the curve is prominent tells us which phase the moon is in. After a new moon when the light is increasing the curve of the moon is on the left hand side and can be symbolised as the letter C. After the full moon the light is decreasing and the right hand side is the part we see. This, too, can be symbolised as the letter D.
Moisture is highest in the soil when there is a new or full moon and so this period of the lunar cycle aids germination, helping the seed sprout and develop more quickly.

We try to follow the lunar cycle in our regular routines and it keeps us on track with our planning. We have found it to be successful, especially with sowing seeds and when we take cuttings. The type of plants and vegetables that you plant all have their time in the lunar calendar for best results and the French in our area are quite strict in their approach – we have learnt a lot here and continue to enjoy and learn.

Want to see more:.....Jayne on facebook

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