Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford
Biodynamics is an esoteric movement developed in 1924 by Austrian philosopher and pedagogue Rudolf Steiner. Also the founding father of anthroposophy, Steiner first introduced the concept of biodynamic agriculture through a series of lectures given to farmers in the German village of Koberwitz (now Kobierzyce in Poland).
These lectures demonstrated the possibility of using the influences of the cosmos in agriculture to improve the quality and yield of crops. Almost a century later, his methods are still in practice around the world – and still producing interesting results!
It is a known fact that the celestial bodies surrounding Earth are able to influence our planet. This phenomenon that can be observed every day with the changing of the tides – the moon, Earth's sole natural satellite, generates a gravitational pull so strong that it is able to alter our sea levels.
With this in mind, it's easy to imagine how this pull could also have an influence on other elements on Earth, including human beings and any other water-based life form! This is the theory that makes up the basis of biodynamic agriculture.
Biodynamics suggests that the different phases of the moon affect plant growth in both positive and negative ways. These observations have been used to draw up links between various gardening tasks and lunar phases; the resulting connections have been set out in a biodynamic or lunar calendar.
The biodynamic, or lunar, calendar is a handy tool designed to make gardening easier. It sets out the type of work to be carried out depending on the position of the moon in its cycle. The calendar also details the position of the moon in relation to certain constellations as these are also said to have an influence on plant growth. The calendar divides the year up into four categories, each of which corresponds to a different type of plant.
These days land as the moon crosses the constellations of Sagittarius, Leo and Aries. This is the ideal time to work on flowering plants such as tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, and so on. Fruit produced by this method is said to be of higher quality and to last longer. Some jobs to complete on fruit days include:
These days occur as the moon meets the constellations of Taurus, Capricorn and Virgo. This is the ideal time to work with root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. Vegetables produced by this method are said to be tastier and more nutritious. Tasks you can complete during this time include:
Flower days arrive as the moon passes the constellations of Libra, Aquarius and Gemini. This is a good time to tend to plants that are grown for their flowers, including certain shrubs and trees. It's also the best time to tackle various perennial and annual crops such as cauliflowers and artichokes. On flower days you can do tasks like:
Leaf days occur when the waning moon comes into contact with Scorpio, Cancer and Pisces. This is the ideal time to concentrate on plants grown for their foliage including lawns, vegetables with edible leaves such as celery and leeks, and other green plants. Recommended activities during this time include:
Protecting the environment means laying a solid foundation for future generations. We should all be sticking to eco-friendly habits in our day-to-day lives to help protect our resources – and this also extends to what we do in the garden. Getting stuck into permaculture, growing an organic garden or following the lunar calendar can all contribute to a more sustainable way of living. And in terms of financing, permaculture and biodynamic gardening won't cost you a thing beyond a little reflection!
Natural pest control, recycling and biodynamics can all be used to form the gateway to a new era of sustainable agriculture.
Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford, 56 guides
From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specialising in organic gardening. A graduate of Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxfordshire. After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life. From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.