If you’re new to gardening, or just don’t know where to start when you step out into the garden, here’s a useful resource: it’s a free guide on the website of the Biodynamic Agricultural Movement of France called “a faire au jardin”, or “to do in the garden”. It’s in French, but there’s always Google translate for those getting to grips with a new language. Directed at gardeners in France, it provides suggestions on what to do in the garden every day of the year.
I still have lots to learn about what biodynamic agriculture is – you can read up on it on the British Biodynamic Association website – but what stands out for me is the fact that it takes into account the waxing and waning of the moon to determine when to work with different plants and carry out different tasks in the garden. There are days that are considered more beneficial for working with and/or harvesting plants where the root is important (i.e. carrots, potatoes, turnips, etc.), days that are more beneficial for working with fruit-bearing plants, days for plants where the leaves are important (lettuce, spinach, etc), and days for plants where the flower is important (brocolli, roses, etc.). There are also days when it isn’t recommended to do any gardening at all (time to nap!). I reckon if the moon can move tidal waters, it stands to reason it would have an impact on water in plants. There’s a lot more to biodynamic agriculture than that – essentially it’s about gardening in harmony with nature and includes an organic approach – but the moon aspect I like, because it helps give me a focus on any given day in the garden.
On a warm un-winter-like day last weekend, I followed the guide and scraped the lichen off my apple, cherry, plum and pear trees, and pruned their branches. It was fantastic to be in the garden, and to know that with the new year, the days are getting longer and we are heading ever so gently towards spring.