Why is the Moon so important?

If the earth had no moon, life would have evolved very differently. In fact, really complex life may not have developed at all.
See: IF WE HAD NO MOON and HOW THE EARTH & MOON INTERACT.
These pages explain things far better than I can.

Does planting by the moon ‘work’?

Planting Guide

Because I am an agnostic astrologer, and a keen naked eye astronomer, as well as a permaculturalist, people often ask me if moon planting ‘works’. There is no simple answer to this. The best I can offer is a brief summary of the facts and relevant ongoing research upon which I continue to speculate, and upon which I have based a personal decision to include some lunar data in planning my own garden activities. If you are deeply interested in the subject, you could use the references at the end of this article as a starting point for further study.

Moon planting guides combine information about the moon’s phases with the times and dates she enters astrological signs
Most guides use the Tropical Zodiac, but those produced by the Biodynamic movement use the International Astronomical Union Zodiac and incorporate information about other lunar rhythms well known to science, but usually ignored by astrologers.

The phase, or synodic lunar cycle is said to favour above-ground processes while the moon is waxing and light increases, and below-ground processes as the moon is waning.

Light is essential for photo-synthesis, the process by which plants manufacture food.
Moonlight substantially increases the hours of available light for three weeks out of four, and in higher latitudes is an important light source during the winter months. But moonlight is different in quality from sunlight, being polarised by the moon’s reflective surface. I have not yet located reliable evidence of the moon’s ability to stimulate photo-synthesis beyond the hours of daylight.
(Since writing this article for Earth Wise Women I found a reference in Robert Carl Jansky's 'Interpreting the eclipses' to a work titled 'the Moon and Growth of Plants, by Kolisko, and the following:
'A curious fact about the Moon is that, despite its low reflectance, from its sunlit side it reflects infra-red light that is several times more intense than the rays it reflects in the visible light range')

The synodic cycle also controls tidal effects, which are well documented. These involve not just large bodies of water, but also the surface tension of liquids.
At full and new moons, land mass can rise as much as 30cm and tides can be detected in the earth’s atmosphere. So it seems reasonable to suppose that plants, rooted in the earth, pumping water from the soil into the air, and consisting largely of fluid, are affected by these tides.

However, while the light and tidal cycles are the same length, the tidal cycle has two peaks, the light cycle only one.


The synodic lunar cycle, showing tidal peaks & phase cycle

Planting according to the astrological sign the moon occupies is based on the belief that the metaphysical elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, are able to influence plants.
When the moon is in an Earth sign, root growth is said to be stimulated; foliage in Water signs; flowers in Air signs; and fruit and seeds in Fire signs.
Earth and Water signs are ‘fertile’, and Fire and Air signs ‘barren’.
But the Tropical Zodiac used in popular astrology does not correspond with the constellations of the same name, which don’t define neat 30 degree segments of a circle, but sections of an ellipse varying from 18 to 46 degrees of arc.


A comparison of the Tropical & IAU zodiacs in the mid-1990's

The Tropical Zodiac is defined by the Equinoctes and Solstices, which are a geo/solar phenomenon.

However, research carried out by the Biodynamic movement demonstrates a correspondence between the moon’s position in the real, or International Astronomical Union Zodiac, and plant growth.

Do I recommend moon planting?
There is a strong possibility that the phases of the moon affect plant growth.
Planting by astrological signs is highly speculative but Biodynamic research indicates that subtler forces than gravity are at work.
Using the moon to plan your gardening may increase your awareness of natural rhythms, and keep you motivated and well organised...

Moon planting does little harm and can do a great deal of good for a variety of reasons - not all connected with the moon! So - go for it!

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References:

The Moon - Our Neighbouring World - Otto Binder. Golden Press NY

ANTIPODEAN ASTROCALENDAR - compiled and published by Brian Keats
Available by post, online, or through Anthroposophical Society bookshops.

Introduction to Lunar Rhythms & Plant Growth - Brian Keats, 'Organic Growing' - Summer 1987 issue.

The Light Book - Jane Wegscheider Hyman. Jeremy P. Tarcher Inc. LA

Planting By The Moon - Hindmarsh City Farm Calendar 1988

ABC Science Show - 15th June 1996


Note:In researching & answering questions about earthwise living, Margaret offers information, opinion, & personal experience, but no quick fixes! Readers should evaluate these offerings in the context of their own situations; they are suggestions, *not* recommendations. Any responsibility for their implementation rests *solely* with the reader.

You Can Save the Earth!.......Return to Radical Recycling.......Return to Planting by the Moon
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Those interested in information about a possible scientific basis for astrology may like to study the interview given by Dr.PERCY SEYMOUR to Bronwyn Elko, of the Millenium Group, last year.
You may also be interested in his book
THE SCIENTIFIC BASIS OF ASTROLOGY

Australia - This is an Australian website - Contact Margaret RainbowWeb

URL - http://www.users.on.net./~arachne/moon.html