A planting experiment for 2021
Previous experiments: - old style - 2014 / 2013
The implicit assertion of a planting calendar is that it makes a difference where the Moon and Sun and planets are when we sow our seeds and plant our seedlings: 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.
To check this out dates have been selected which promise a contrast to the crops planted on nearby days. Keeping it simple for 2021 we're going back to a (single) solar eclipse.
The hope is that readers (plus their friends and even their sceptical associates) will be inspired to plant before, on and after these dates and take note of the harvest.
** https://savvytime.com/converter/ to adjust this to your local time. To be really 'on it' you may need to make slight adjustments for your exact location.
For example, one might sow/plant each day for 7 days with the middle day being the 10th. One might sow at or about 11:52 am on the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th (Eclipse), and 11th, 12th and 13th of June 2021. Each day, at the same time of day, one would sow at least 10 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.
Some central aspects of the experimentation:
- Seed from the same source and, preferably, packet must be used in each planting
- Hybrid seeds should not be used
- The same fertility regime must be used across the trial plot
- The soil on the experimental plot must be as uniform as is feasible
- The time of each planting should be recorded as soon as possible after planting - don't guess a month later!
- Any irrigation, if it has to be used, must be applied as equally as possible between planting areas
- Plots should have as equal as possible access to shade and light
- Harvest must compare like with like as far as is possible
- With subjective results such as taste, results must be described not just expressed.
In addition there are several things that are desirable;
- Organic fertility should be the source of nutrients for the soil.
- Manure and compost should be mature.
We would like the following bits of information about the experiment;
- The nearest place or latitude and longitude
- Indications about of the soil - eg loam over clay etc
- How the soil is managed - eg organically, chemically, biodynamically and any additions used
- Details of the plant - type, variety, number planted in each planting
For each planting we would like the following information;
- Time and date of sowing
- Timezone - eg was daylight saving in force
- 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;
- Disease resistance
- Germination rate
- Storage quality
Ideally one would use root, leaf, flower and seed crops (eg radish, lettuce, marigold and pea for instance) on each day. However, this starts becoming a serious undertaking so please don't do it if it would be a burden.
Clearly, even doing a single crop, 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 in and give it your best shot.
Results can be submitted by using the spreadsheet and emailing it to email@example.com. You can also write down your results on paper and contact us for the postal address.