Aug. 8, 2011When planting, go ahead and reach for the moon and stars
Yeah, it’s hot, and humid, and the garden may be weedy, but if you want to have fall and perhaps winter greens this year, it’s good to start planning and preparing.
A good time to start actually digging and planting will be Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 3.
Until then, you can start figuring what you want to grow, ordering seeds, starting them so they’ll be ready to plant, and perhaps laying out a map of what goes where.
Last year, for example, we planted: collards, red kale, mizuna, purple mizuna, spinach, rainbow beets, rainbow chard, orange chard, red mustard, red turnips, purple top turnips, golden turnips, white turnips, red lettuce, red romaine, bibb lettuce, iceberg lettuce, hong vit radish, french breakfast radish, red cabbage, purple carrots, orange carrots, radiccio, broccoli and arugula.
Most of the leafy items made it into December (with a little help from Agribon, or row covers meant to counter frost). We also had cold frames that we later planted with carrots, lettuce and chard. Cold frames, simply put, are glass enclosures that can be opened during the day and closed at night during cold weather.
Ours produced throughout the winter and into spring, until they bolted, or went to seed.
Expertise: For many folks, planning how to plant according to the moon and stars – like the old folks did – is a concern. But it’s not information that’s handy anymore.
A good guide is The North American Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar 2011 by Maria and Matthias Thun (Floris Books, $13.95).
While some folks might say they would never plant by “astrology,” it should be pointed out that the biodynamic guide is not based on the thousands-of-years-old constellations in the sky per se, but in their rising and setting, or sidereal astronomy. People who follow biodynamic farming, based on the early 1900s theosophical agricultural philosophy of Rudolph Steiner, swear by planting by
the moon and stars.
Maria Thun is an authority on biodynamics. Her annual sowing and planting calendar is published in 18 languages and is in its 49th year. It’s the “real deal” for a “farmer’s almanac,” based on knowledge like the old folks used, as opposed to the kitschy ersatz version sold in convenience stores.
According to the biodynamic calendar, Sept. 4-5 are good times to plant leafy vegetables.
The calendar is available from: SteinerBooks, Box 960, Herndon VA 20172-0960; phone (703) 661-1594.
Vendors, contact Lisa Kuiper firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.