Moon plant­ing

Plant­ing with the moon needn’t be a space odyssey. A lit­tle know-how goes a long way

The Simple Things - - NEST | GROWING -

Biodynamic gar­den­ing is sim­i­lar to or­ganic gar­den­ing in that they both work in har­mony with na­ture, but biodynamic grow­ing goes one step fur­ther. In a nut­shell, soil fertility is en­hanced with spe­cific herb, flower and min­eral prepa­ra­tions, and fruit and veg are grown ac­cord­ing to the rhythms of the plan­ets and moon. Crop ro­ta­tion, rich com­post and com­pan­ion plant­ing are also used to pro­duce food that is stronger, tastier and has a higher yield. The ba­sic premise is that you put more into the gar­den than you take out. We love gar­den­ing this way and have seen some great re­sults, but it’s not meant to be a dogma and we don’t get bogged down by it. For us, the al­lot­ment will al­ways be about the sim­ple plea­sure of get­ting our hands dirty and the joy of eat­ing our own veg.

THE ‘PREPS’: biodynamic prepa­ra­tions are spe­cially for­mu­lated nat­u­ral reme­dies that have var­i­ous jobs to do around the gar­den. Yar­row, chamomile, net­tle, oak bark, dan­de­lion, va­le­rian, eq­ui­se­tum, horn ma­nure and horn sil­ica prepa­ra­tions help to en­liven the soil and in­crease the vi­tal­ity of your crops. Make them your­self or buy ready­made from the Biodynamic As­so­ci­a­tion UK.

MOON GAR­DEN­ING: you don’t need to be an as­tronomer to gar­den by the moon – biodynamic gar­den­ing cal­en­dars are avail­able to guide you. They sug­gest the best times to do al­lot­ment jobs, such as plant­ing and prun­ing when the moon is de­scend­ing, or har­vest­ing when the moon is as­cend­ing. Sow­ing seeds just be­fore the full moon is al­ways a win­ner on our al­lot­ment.

CROP RO­TA­TION: we ro­tate on a four-yearly cy­cle based on group­ings of leaf, root, fruit and flower, each rep­re­sent­ing the part of the plant that we want to en­hance and eat.

COM­POST: an amaz­ing way to en­rich your soil, lit­er­ally putting back what you’ve taken out. Adding biodynamic prepa­ra­tions to your com­post heap is also the most ef­fec­tive way of get­ting their ben­e­fits into your gar­den and onto your plate.

CPP: short for ‘cow­pat pit’ and a bril­liant nat­u­ral fer­tiliser. We have a sunken half-bar­rel in the cor­ner of our al­lot­ment that we fill with cow­pats from a lo­cal farm. Add the prepa­ra­tions and cover; let it qui­etly rot down be­fore us­ing any­where and ev­ery­where on the al­lot­ment.

COM­PAN­ION PLANT­ING: widely used in both or­ganic and biodynamic gar­den­ing to dis­cour­age pests and dis­ease (see The

Sim­ple Things Is­sue 59). Try plant­ing nas­tur­tiums with broad beans to lure black­fly away from the crop, or chives with car­rots to dis­cour­age car­rot fly.

LIQ­UID TEAS AND NAT­U­RAL FER­TILIS­ERS:

Sim­ple plant-based sprays to boost the health of your crops and stim­u­late growth. Sub­merge a sack of com­frey and net­tle leaves in a wa­ter butt to cre­ate a po­tent (and very smelly) liq­uid fer­tiliser.

DYNAMISING LIQ­UIDS: vig­or­ously stir­ring liq­uid ma­nures and plant ‘teas’ into a vor­tex be­fore use is thought to en­hance the vi­tal­ity of the liq­uid and strengthen the ben­e­fits for your plants. Our chil­dren love to see who can cre­ate the big­gest whirlpool in the bucket!

Com­post and nat­u­ral liq­uid fer­tilis­ers are vi­tal to the health and abun­dance of the plot

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