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Latest posts by biofreak

Horse manure

Posted: 16/02/2015 at 15:30

When we had a Livery Yard in the Uk, I used to hold one muck heap back a year and grow potatoes in it, plus tomatoes and courgettes. The fresher heaps would be spread on the veg patch and flower borders in the Winter as a mulch. The old heap would be warm but not hot enough to burn the crops. Now no longer have horses, Friendly farmer gives me rotted cow dung and I have a big mound next to the compost heap and grow tomatoes in it. Brilliant.

Cucumber Frames

Posted: 16/02/2015 at 14:58

My cucumber frame seems to spend most of its time empty. How do other readers use theirs. Apart from hardening off seedlings and a little over wintering, I just don't seem to make the most of them. All suggestions welcome!

Biodynamic Gardening

Posted: 16/02/2015 at 14:56

Started the explanations of Biodynamics this morning on the Gardening by the Moon Thread for those interested in reading more and collating it with a Weekly Calender.

Gardening by the Moon

Posted: 16/02/2015 at 14:53

Part 2. Just in passing I did take the plunge and sow some Roma Tomatoes in the greenhouse yesterday as the guage registered 20c. They were the remains of a 37p packet I bought at a Car boot last year, so if they don't take I've lost nothing.

Anyway back to Biodynamics which really means organic gardening using the forces of nature. The constellations play a large part in the plan, and at this stage we must not get confused with astronomy or Brian Cox would have a fit! As the Moon passes from Sagittarius to Gemini, it passes in front of all 12 signs of the Zodiac. In doing so it strengthens the force of each, and this action has a direct effect on the Earth. Not only gardeners notice benefits but Beekeepers also follow the Calender, and there have been many interesting articles and books written on the subject since the 1920's.

Taurus/Virgo & Capricorn represent Earth and therefore Roots. When the Moon passes in front of these signs it is time to enrich & prepare soil. Make sowings, thin and plant out root crops.All vegetables at this time will be more resistant to parasites.

Cancer/Scorpio & Pisces represent Water and therefore Stems & Leaves. You can benefit from the Moon passing in front of these constellations to care for lettuce/spinach and asparagus, and if you harvest at this time these particular crops will be tastier.

Gemini/Libra & Aquarius represent Air and therefore flowers.The Moon passing in front of these constellations encourage perfume and brightness. Use the Moon passing these constellations to tend Flowers/Artichokes/Cauliflowers and Broccoli.

Aries/Leo & Sagittarius represent Fire giving heat necessary to ripen fruit and encourage seed formation. Tend your Fruit trees/Peas/Beans and Tomatoes when the Moon passes in front of these constellations.

Something to note is that some vegetables fall into 2 categories - For example Onions and Beetroot come under Root and Leaf, but the keeping quality is best when harvested on Root Days. Broccoli and Cauliflower which could be placed under Leaf are actually frimer and stronger when sown on Flower Days.

I will give you a vegetable and flower guide as the year progresses.

The last point to bear in mind is the subject of Conjunctions - This is when 2 or more planets stand behind one another in space. It is then only the planet closest to the Earth which has any influence on plant growth. If this influence is stronger than the Moon then it can have a detrimental effect on plant growth. Sowing at these times can harm a plan't regenerative power and the crop will be poor. Such Conjunctions will be mentioned in the year's Calender as I am incorporating the BioDynamic and Lunar together.

On the practical side, it is imperative with Biodynamic Gardening that no chemicals whatsoever are used. They form a barrier against the natural actions of the stellar and planetary forces. Alternative mixtures or Purins can be made using herbs to make brews (Like Nettle and Comfrey) to protect/feed our crops. Companion Planting forms a big part in Biodynamics. The Companion Planting Thread on the Forum is full of good tips, and I notice that Seed Brochures now recommend companions.

I think now is the time to pause. Part 3 will be the Calender together with Key Dates to watch out for this year, if nothing else out of curiosity.

All Queries welcome.













Gardening by the Moon

Posted: 16/02/2015 at 10:00

Thank you so much for your support, it actually gives me confidence to continue too. So glad to bounce ideas off other people on the Forum, especially when some methods do require second opinions. 2 heads are better than 1 and all that and a problem shared is a problem halved! Anyway before I start on this potted description of Biodynamics and lunar gardening, may I just answer one persistent question - The fact that I live in France and you are in UK does not change the Luner Calender as it is on Greenwich Meantime and Europe is in the Northern Hemisphere so it does apply to you as much as I. I have put the hours for gardening in UK time as you are an hour behind us, but that is for your convenience only. Just to recap of the Moon element of this thread:-

The lunar month is 27days 7hrs and 44secs and in the exact image of the sun it passes in front of the constellations of the Zodiac exercising a great influence on the Earth - This can be easily recognised by high tide (when the moon is at its highest point in the sky) and low tide when the moon is at the lowest point (either horizon east or west.) To decide if the moon is ascending or descending in the sky take a tree/building in your garden and look at the moon - 2 hours later look again, it will be higher or lower in the sky and this gives you the visual info backed up by the Calender. For 13and a Half days the moon is rising from the constellation of Sagittarius to Gemini, it follows this track from 21st dec-21st june, during this time sap rises and this is the time to sow/graft, harvest leaf vegetables, the best fruit and to cut flowers for bouquets.For 13 and a Half days the moon is descending from the constellation of Gemini to Sagittarius and following the route of the Sun between 21st June - 21st Dec the sap returns to roots and now is the time to transplant/thin seedlings, spread compost and prune. The ground absorbs nutrients well, and hedges and trees are able to recover readily from pruning. It is this movement of ascending and descending that is of most interest to us gardeners.

When the Moon is at its highest point in the sky it is at its weakest in relation to gardening, when it is at its lowest it is also weak, so of no value to the gardener, this is why the Calender says no gardening before or after certain hours. Sowings may be unsuccessful/transplanting may weaken plants (albeit temporarily) The idea is to sow and plant at the best times working in co-ordination and with the rythmn of the stars.

The other cycle of importance is the synodique cycle where the moon changes  from New Moon to Full Moon this takes 29days 12hrs 44mins & 2secs (In the 3rd century BC the Babylonians made this calculation and modern day scientists have found that they were only 0.000053secs out!) This is where we talk about the moon crossing (croissante) and it is at this time that the sun casts a shadow on the moon entirely and it appears to disappear from the sky (That's when on a clear night we say 'I can't see the moon') The Moon is Uncrossing (decroissante) from the Full Moon to the New Moon. At the Full Moon it is entirely lit up by the Sun and appears round.

If the New Moon is at  'noeud'  or at a 'node' this means there is a solar eclipse as the Moon is directly in front of the Sun and at a Full Moon it is a lunar eclipse where the Earth's shadow falls on the Moon. At these times gardening is not recommended according to the Calender for 5hrs before or after an eclipse. Plants do not take well during these periods, so leave them alone - weed or mend fences or tidy paths, clean tools etc. Catch up on those jobs.

Going to have a coffee! Will come back to this a bit later. - Any questions so far?


Cheaper alternative to raised bed

Posted: 16/02/2015 at 09:03

The Classic French Potager is in squares and raised only specifically for handicapped gardeners, otherwise following the bio methods organic compost etc is added at this time of year and topped up regularly to form a crumbly mound. Each square is surrounded by herbs and flowers that attract bugs/bees and caterpillars that either attract or deter attention from your crops. I plant nasturtiums to attract blackfly away from broad beans - works a treat. Marigolds are great for attracting slugs, whilst thyme deters slugs. All looks very pretty too. More and more people are recommending growing onions/garlic and roots on ridges. The root system of the flowers and herbs that surround the squares keep the raised soil in place. I run an 8 square system and grow courgettes and cucumbers in wooden boxes (The ones they collect apples in) Although I am going to try a climbing gold courgette from T & M this year for the first time.

To Early?

Posted: 13/02/2015 at 15:06

Yes cut them to the ground now but then cover them with the spent growth or straw, this acts as a thatchy mulch and allows the new growth to pop through in the Spring.

Biodynamic Gardening

Posted: 13/02/2015 at 14:59

Going to start adding Biodynamic gardening Calender methods to Gardening by the Moon thread as from Monday 16th, together with explanations as to why and how it works. Seems easier than running two threads.

Gardening by the Moon

Posted: 13/02/2015 at 14:56

Well it is getting milder - so I think I will try some tom seeds on Sunday too. Thought I would add fuller details about Lunar Gardening/Biodynamic Gardening as from Monday on this thread, and we could see if there are improvements on last year by taking the methods a step further by co-ordinating the phases of the moon with the other constellations which reinforce the effects on the growth stages of plants. Please let me know if you would like me to go ahead, and continue with the Calender.


Posted: 13/02/2015 at 14:41

Positive that it should be OK as long as not sitting in boggy spot. They seem to like really arid conditions. Growing out of the tarmac on old car park near us. Beautiful specimans.

Discussions started by biofreak


Earthing Up? 
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Last Post: 04/07/2015 at 07:08

More Peas?

Can I get another crop in? 
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New Potatoes

When to harvest 
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Tips Aubergines/peppers Chillies

First Time Grower 
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When are green gooseberries 'ready'? 
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How to Succeed 
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Last Post: 15/06/2015 at 11:52


Slug deterrant? 
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Last Post: 28/02/2015 at 18:13

Lost Seed Order!!

Has anyone else lost their's in transit? 
Replies: 5    Views: 397
Last Post: 25/02/2015 at 12:28

Cucumber Frames

How do I make maximum Use of one? 
Replies: 4    Views: 436
Last Post: 25/02/2015 at 10:21

How to get rid of Gorse

Roadside problem 
Replies: 3    Views: 361
Last Post: 10/02/2015 at 11:35

Are Gardening Magazines Overseas related to UK?

Carol Klein & Alan Titchmarsh in France 
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Last Post: 03/02/2015 at 14:50

Old Wive's Tales/Tips and Wrinkles

True or False? 
Replies: 35    Views: 1421
Last Post: 03/02/2015 at 14:29

Moving gooseberries

Will sawfly move too? 
Replies: 14    Views: 1339
Last Post: 19/01/2015 at 07:57

Swiss Chard

New veg to try? 
Replies: 20    Views: 875
Last Post: 18/01/2015 at 15:48

Biodynamic Gardening

Has anyone tried it? 
Replies: 21    Views: 863
Last Post: 24/02/2015 at 14:58
1 to 15 of 46 threads