The sidereal cycle of the Moon

A 'sidereal' cycle of the Moon takes 27.3 days and is the time it takes for the same stars to be behind the Moon as seen from the Earth. This time is also the time the moon turns on its axis which is why we always see the man in the Moon's face (and not Lord Voldermort or whatever is on the 'back').

Maria Thun developed a method which had been researched within the Anthroposophical society (a society interested in Rudolf Steiner's research) since the 1930s. Thun picked out the element rhythm by sowing when the Moon was in the centre of the zodiac constellations.

Kollerstrom (Planting by the Moon; A Gardener's Calendar. Prospect Books 1999) is of the opinion that it is this cycle which corresponds to the final crop yield. 'Whereas the phase of synodic cycle is related to the general growth of a plant, it is the sidereal cycle that is mainly linked to the final crop yield. A sidereally-based rhythm applies to one instant in a plant's life, when the seed is sown on moist ground and growth begins. At this critical moment it is the Moon's position against the zodiac which influences the overall development - that is, how the seed's potential will come to fruition.'

Kollerstrom's web site ( says "This is, the pragmatic reader may object, more like some alchemical mandala than a scientific theory. It is indeed simple, but does it work? Is it really worthwhile - or indeed practical - for farmers to organise their work schedule around it? In 1975, together with a market gardener, I started to test the theory, by successive crop rows sown over a lunar month. Since then, British experiments on the topic have involved about five hundred rows sown of diverse vegetables. I have published many of these results, and have reviewed the researches of others. My view is that the theory stands up, and that Empedocles could not improve on it."

Kollerstrom reviewed Thun's early publications (Thun. M., & Heinze, H., Mondrhythmen im SiderishenUmlauf und   Pflanzenwachstrum, Darmstadt, 1979) covering 1965-68, giving a 30% yield increase for the three earth signs compared to the other three elements. Ulf Abele at Giessen University (Abele. U., 'Saatzeitversuche mit Radies'. Lebendige Erde 6 223-5. 1975) tested Barley oats carrots and radish between 1970 and 1974. His grains gained 7% compared to controls, and his roots averaged a 21% increase. Ursula Graf (Graf, U., PhD thesis. Zurich E.T.H.. 1977) concluded (like Thun) after three years of potato and radish crops, that: the soil seems to be a decisive factor in the occurence of the connections between Moon-zodiac constellations and crop yields. Kollerstrom and Reg Muntz (Kollerstrom. N., 'Zodiac Rhythms in Plant Growth - Potatoes'. Mercury Star Journal. Summer 1977) achieved a 25% increase in potato harvest over 2 sidereal months. Colin Bishop (Kollerstrom. N.,   'A Lunar Sidereal Rhythm in Crop Yield. Correlation. Jun 81, 1, 44-53) planted 36 lettuce rows over three months of 1976 giving nearly a 50% yield increase over the other element trigons. This was repeated in 1977, and he used radish sowings daily in 1978 gaining 45% increases. Kollerstrom bases his calendar on these results from 400 rows over 11 years between Muntz and Bishop.

In 1980 J Lücke at Giessen gained 'significant' gains over the water trigon element from 48 rows of potatos.  Dr Hartmut Spiess gained an 8% yield in three years of carrot harvests using root days

Alex Podolinski  in Australia (Podolinsky, A. Bio-Dynamic Agriculture lntroductory Lectures. Vol. I. Australia 1990) sowed pumpkins in Leo (warmth or fruit and seed day) and got roughly four times the number of pumpkins. However, there is little detail about what specific signs might do within their elemental triads. He also advocates sowing just as the Moon enters a partcular constellation to give the seed several days start. Others, particularly aware of the indistinct boundaries and possible 'turbulence' as the Moon changes is element, aim for dead centre.

Others have tried to prove and disprove this approach. A good summary of the reserach can be found on Brian Keats' web site ( I think it is a good idea to read there Malcolm Gardner's long email answer to Allan Balliet's question about Thun's work.

Jack Temple treated visitors from the Henry Doubleday Research Association to his trigon sown radishes, (Temple, J., 'Checking the value of planting by the zodiac'. Here's Health. November 1982. 144-5. ) getting juicy ones from his root sowings and cotton wool like ones from a leaf day.