The Book of the Moon
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Gardening and the Weather

This chapter deals with the scientific basis of gardening according to phases of the moon and will outline some of the thinking and beliefs behind it.

Farming and gardening by the phases of the Moon is a very old idea:
'That tiny creature the ant at the Moon's conjunction keeps quiet,
but at the full Moon works busily into the night.'

'Geld hogs, steers, rams and kids when the Moon is waning.'

History of Nature - Pliny, AD 23 - 79
It would be wrong to dismiss lunar gardening as superstition or mumbo jumbo.

In 1956 Maria Thur in Germany carried out a controlled experiment with potato planting which indicated that maximum cropping occurred with that part of the crop which had been planted on "Root Days" (with the Moon in the optimum position for root crops).

Frau Thur is not alone. Ulf Abel at Geissen University carried out planting experiments in which some crops (barley and oats) performed up to 20% better when planted on their appropriate Moon sowing days.

At the University of Paris a biochemical study into the affect of Lunar Pulse on the DNA of plants detected that DNA whose function is related to the storage of carbohydrates was stronger at the New Moon while DNA related to flowering was more developed at Full Moon.

Professor Frank Brown stored potatoes in the dark under controlled conditions of humidity, temperature and prressure. He found that the metabolic rate of the potatoes rose and fell with the waxing and waning of the Moon. Professor Brown put in over a million potato hours to reach his findings.

The chapter is also be a practical handbook to the basics of Moon gardening. The principles of Moon gardening are easy; like human beings, plants are categorised according to sign:
(Root plants)
(Leaf plants)
Air (Flowering plants) Fire (Fruit seed plants)
Asparagus Basil Artichoke Apple
Beetroot Bay Leaf Borage Apricot
Carrot Brussels Sprout Broccoli Aubergine
Garlic Cabbage Caulifower Blackberry
The rules for sowing and reaping are straightforward:

SOWING: rapidly growing plants and trailing plants should be sown with the Waxing Moon in an air sign. For tender leaves and mellow fruit with the Waxing Moon in water signs.

GERMINATION: Germination enabled when The Moon waxes (when the sun and the moon are moving apart) will promote foliage, fruit or seed and most above ground development. Germination when The Moon wanes (when the sun and Moon are moving closer together) will promote root development. Periods from 2 days before the start to 3 days before the end of waxing or waning moons are ideal, giving a flying start to germination in either period.

HARVESTING: Juicy vegetables or fruit harvest immediately after a Full Moon. Cereals during a waxing moon in Aries Leo or Aquarius. Hot flavoured crops (mustard horseradish etc) harvest with Moon in a fire sign.

COMPOSTING AND MANURING: only with the moon in Scorpio between Last Quarter and New Moon. Chop fire wood and cut your hair during a Waning Moon, a drier time.

SPRAYING: Moon in Virgo or Scorpio.

Putting all this into practice can be more complicated. This chapter will help confused gardeners everywhere harness the full power of the moon.

The Weather

The chapter also explains how the moon affects the weather. The argument that the moon must affect the weather is a familiar one. It says that since the moon's gravitational force creates tides in the sea, it must also generate similar tides in the atmosphere.
Meteorology by John Emslie
'Meteorology' by John Emslie, 1846
For two thousand years, before meteorological instruments, weather forecasting was a matter of experience, guess work, superstition and myth, and the moon played its usual large part. The chapter ends with a charming anthology of weather lore:

In England: Sow peas and beans in the wane of the moon, who soweth them sooner soweth too soon.

In Essex: When the moon is at the full, mushrooms you may freely pull.

In Scotland: If the moon shows like a silver shield, you need not be afraid to reap your field. But if she rises haloed around/ soon we'll tread in deluged ground.
Book Contents
1. Astronauts, cosmonauts and lunar exploration

2. Astronomers and mapping

3. Facts and figures

4. Gardening and the weather

5. Gods and myths

6. Magic, the occult, astrology, alchemy, prophecy, fortune telling, spells and superstition

7. Medicine, madness, werewolves and science

8. Miscellany. Fascinating facts about the moon in our life and culture
Click below to order your copy of The Book of the Moon. The book was released on the 7th of May 2009 in the UK and on the 23rd of June in the US:
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