It was my neighbour Remy who first bought to my attention the unusual pursuit of planting by the moon. I wasn’t sure whether to take him seriously or not as he also gardens to some extent by the saints days. However, he assures me that lunar gardening is taken extremely seriously by himself and many other gardeners where we live and indeed the whole of France including many farmers.
Remy tends to become very enthusiastic about things the more he talks about them and I’m never quite sure if he’s pulling my leg. He once told me that the French for horse in my region is “bidet” and kept encouraging me to ask for a ride on another neighbour’s bidet and of course I didn’t believe that at all. However it turns out that he was in fact not trying to fool me – where I live many older people speak a sort of patois called Ch’ti (see our Ch’ti vocabulary) and bidet is the word for horse! So, on the basis that Remy did not hoodwink me on the bidet issue I assume he may not be fabricating about planting by the moon, so I thought I’d look into it. Assuming that I understand the requirements, I am going to try it out next year and let you know how I get on.
What I’ve discovered so far is that those who study the theory of lunar gardening start with the premise that the orbit of the moon affects sea tides on earth as we all know and taking it one step further the pull of the moon also affects the water table – the level of water beneath the soil in which we garden.
In a nutshell, lunar gardeners say that moisture in the soil is at its peak when the moon is waxing, and it diminishes with a waning moon. In this case they say, planting will be more successful during the first quarter when the moon is waxing, or shifting towards a full moon. The waning moon is when the moisture content is at its lowest and as this means that there’s less sap rising in trees and shrubs – and that is the time for pruning and not planting.
Remy also says that the gravitational pull of the moon affects the water content of living things – plants, animals and people – I can’t say I’ve noticed it in myself although I think I’m generally more upbeat around the peak of a full moon so maybe there is something to it!
Well I just don’t know, but Remy has told me to get down to the book shop and buy the lunar calendar for the region which is due out now.
I shall be back with more when the moon is waxing… or waning …