Why it's high time you started gardening with the moon
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Why it's high time you started gardening with the moon

HOW do we calculate when Easter falls?

This most important religious festival can vary in date from early March to late April.

It is based, believe it or not, on the phases of the moon.

The first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal (spring) equinox determines the date of Easter.

It is strange to think that this most significant religious celebration is governed by the moon when we pay so little attention to it at other times in our lives. Or do we?

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Water also plays a major part. The theory is that the moon exerts a gravitational pull on the earth’s water table which is highest during a full moon.

Therefore, vegetables that mature below the ground - root crops such as potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and beetroot - are best planted around the time of the new moon, and those that crop above ground - cabbage, corn, rhubarb, tomatoes, and flowers - should be planted during the moon’s first quarter, when the water table is falling.

You may think this idea irrelevant nowadays, but each year a guide to auspicious planting days is published by the BBC’s lunar gardening correspondent.

But early or late, Easter (and many saint’s feast days) governs the work-rate and schedule for a considerable group of gardeners.

It governs everything they do, from soil preparation to seed sowing, planting to staking, and eventual harvesting.

I have never dabbled in such activity (apart from mixing concrete under moonlight and artificial light many years ago) but I am intrigued.

I do believe that gardeners before us noticed much more the natural world and took specific lunar dates and feast days a lot more seriously than today’s young growers.

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Were they more gullible and superstitious?

After all, the banshee and will-o-the-wisp disappeared when electricity arrived to light our darkest nights.

Still, there was wisdom in the way gardeners long ago cooperated with nature rather than its exploitation.

Sometimes I feel sorry for us gardeners and our modern colourless ways. You may therefore take instruction from this page or books and television, but in earlier times we would all have had far more interesting ways of fitting the task to the day.

It involved a close observation of the moon, nature, and a mind never far away from the great feasts of the Christian church.

This most important religious festival can vary in date from early March to late April.

It is based, believe it or not, on the phases of the moon.

Advertisement

The first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal (spring) equinox determines the date of Easter.

It is strange to think that this most significant religious celebration is governed by the moon when we pay so little attention to it at other times in our lives. Or do we?

Water also plays a major part. The theory is that the moon exerts a gravitational pull on the earth’s water table which is highest during a full moon.

Therefore, vegetables that mature below the ground - root crops such as potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and beetroot - are best planted around the time of the new moon, and those that crop above ground - cabbage, corn, rhubarb, tomatoes, and flowers - should be planted during the moon’s first quarter, when the water table is falling.

You may think this idea irrelevant nowadays, but each year a guide to auspicious planting days is published by the BBC’s lunar gardening correspondent.

But early or late, Easter (and many saint’s feast days) governs the work-rate and schedule for a considerable group of gardeners.

It governs everything they do, from soil preparation to seed sowing, planting to staking, and eventual harvesting.

Advertisement

I have never dabbled in such activity (apart from mixing concrete under moonlight and artificial light many years ago) but I am intrigued.

I do believe that gardeners before us noticed much more the natural world and took specific lunar dates and feast days a lot more seriously than today’s young growers.

Were they more gullible and superstitious?

After all, the banshee and will-o-the-wisp disappeared when electricity arrived to light our darkest nights.

Still, there was wisdom in the way gardeners long ago cooperated with nature rather than its exploitation.

Sometimes I feel sorry for us gardeners and our modern colourless ways. You may therefore take instruction from this page or books and television, but in earlier times we would all have had far more interesting ways of fitting the task to the day.

It involved a close observation of the moon, nature, and a mind never far away from the great feasts of the Christian church.

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