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A planting experiment for 2013

(2014 experiment)

Implicit in the creation of a planting calendar is the thesis that it makes a difference where the Moon and Sun and planets are when we sow our seeds: a greater yield, healthier plants or perhaps a better flavour in our crops. Some of these assertions come from old traditions whilst others come from more recent considerations, perhaps with a little support from experiments.
 
A few compilers of modern planting calendars have responded to a suggestion to focus on this thesis through experimentation, particularly as a way of honouring Maria Thun's extraordinary work. In their calendars for 2013 they have put in reminders of this collaborative 'democratic' research.

A few dates have been agreed to hold promise for a contrast in the crops planted over those days. These days have been chosen for the Northern hemisphere spring but are still viable for some of the Southern hemisphere planting season. Most importantly for our purposes, these days witness some fairly energetic heavenly arrangements (such as eclipses and nodal crossings) against all the elements of the background zodiac.

The hope is that readers (plus their friends and even their skeptical associates) will be inspired to plant before, on and after these dates.

If the effort and focus of being organised for this experiment can be sustained right through to evaluating the crops and sending the evaluation in for compilation and analysis, then perhaps there will be some noticeable patterns in the results from which we can begin to draw some tentative conclusions. If all goes well we could even attempt to test these conclusions in subsequent seasons and work towards open, experimentally-founded, benign and effective recommendations for growers. With that distant goal in mind the suggested dates and times for 2013 are:

 

  GMT (NB! GMT becomes BST on last Sunday in March. eg, April 25th at 20.57 BST for first example.)   Australian Eastern Standard Times
April 2013  
  Apr 25th 19:57 Full Moon flower   Apr 26th 5:57 Full Moon flower
  Apr 25th 21:09 Lunar eclipse flower Pg 28th   Apr 26th 7:09 Lunar eclipse flower Pg 28th
  Apr 26th 14:06 Moon node flower   Apr 27th 00:06 Moon node flower
May 2013    
  May 9th 19:12 Moon Node fruit day   May 10th 05:12 Moon Node fruit day
  May 10th 00:28 Solar eclipse fruit day   May 10th 10:28 Solar eclipse fruit day
  May 10th 13:21 Venus Node root day   May 10th 23:21 Venus Node root day
  May 11th 09:55 Mercury Node root day   May 11th 19:55 Mercury Node root day
Late May 2013    
  May 24th 00:39 Moon Node flower   May 24th 10:39 Moon Node flower
  May 25th 04:24 Full Moon leaf   May 25th 14:24 Full Moon leaf
  May 25th 05:11 Lunar eclipse leaf Pg 26th   May 25th 15:11 Lunar eclipse leaf Pg 26th
  May 25th 07:51 Mars Node leaf   May 25th 17:51 Mars Node leaf


For example, one might plant each day for 5 days with the middle day being the one mentioned in the table above. So, if using the 'Late May' planting one might sow at 10am on the 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th of May 2013. Each day, at the same time of day, one would sow 20 plants and clearly label them with the planting time. This would also be the best time to write down the weather and other pertinent details. This will be an invaluable record when one comes to the harvest. One could even put it all down in a spreadsheet.

Constellation

The planets gathering on May 10th, 2013

 

Some central aspects of the experimentation:

  1. Seed from the same source and, preferably, packet must be used in each planting
  2. Hybrid seeds should not be used
  3. The same fertility regime must be used across the trial plot  
  4. The soil on the experimental plot must be as uniform as is feasible
  5. The time of each planting should be recorded as soon as possible after planting  - don't guess a month later!
  6. Any irrigation, if it has to be used, must be applied as equally as possible between planting areas
  7. Plots should have as equal as possible access to shade and light
  8. Harvest must compare like with like as far as is possible
  9. With subjective results such as taste, results must be described not just expressed.

In addition there are several things that are desirable;

  1. Organic fertility should be the source of nutrients for the soil.
  2. Manure and compost should be mature.

We would like the following bits of information about the experiment;

  1. The nearest place or latitude and longitude
  2. Indications about of the soil - eg loam over clay etc
  3. How the soil is managed - eg organically, chemically, biodynamically and any additions used
  4. Details of the plant - type, variety, number planted in each planting

For each planting we would like the following information;

  1. Time and date of sowing
  2. Timezone - eg was daylight saving in force
  3. The (general) weather leading up to and at the time of sowing

For the outcome of each of these planting we would like, some if not all of the following information;

  1. Yield
  2. Taste
  3. Disease resistance
  4. Germination rate
  5. Storage quality

Notes

Ideally one would use root, leaf, flower and seed crops (eg radish, lettuce, marigold and pea for instance) on each day.

Clearly this is a reasonably demanding undertaking for non-professional researchers and we can not sugar the pill. It is arduous to do this well! However, this ‘democratic research’ holds the promise of forging really practical guidance for ourselves and our successors. Please do join us and do diligent work.

Results can be submitted directly into the web-based database here - submitting up to 5 plantings for each experiment at a time - or by using the spreadsheet and emailing it to 2013planting@considera.org. You can also write down your results: the postal address is 'Considera. Oaklands Park, Newnham, Gloucestershire, GL14 1EF, UK'.


 

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