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April 25, 2009


Kent Geek

I seriously hope this was a humor piece. "the moon controls the amount of moisture that is in the soil at various times throughout the month" - really? Basic curiosity about science (REAL science, not Steiner's wacky fairyland science) would be a good thing to for you to develop. A few seconds on wikipedia will educate you on a couple of points: first, the moons visible phase has no correlation to its distance from the earth, and by extension, no correlation to it's gravitational pull ON the earth. Second, soil and water is affected by gravity exactly the same. This article was really too dumb to be entertaining. BACK TO THE MUSIC!


What? No accompanying Roger Daltrey "title track" download?


Kent Geek - so you didn't like the article then? Is that what you're saying? I couldn't really tell - you were a little too subtle, and, you know, I didn't want to assume or anything.


Kevin - Nope, but I bet you can't get it out of your head now, can you? ;)


Kent Geek - That you even consider Wikipedia to be a reliable source of information is surely the most humorous part of this page. How about presenting your opinion in a less obnoxious way next time? People will be much more inclined to actually listen to the points you're trying to make.

GeorgyGirl - This was a really interesting read. I happened to find it very entertaining! Thank you. :)


This is the way I always plants my magic beans.


Can some one program an api that figures out all this crap for you?


krebstar - it *would* be useful. I have to admit that charts in any form leave me with a headache, and my article literally scratched the surface of a pretty complex and vast subject.

There are a number of books out there which claim to simplify the process somewhat - I have a couple on order from the library to see if I can get some more comprehensive information for my planting.


No matter how much modern agriculture has advanced, home gardening is still as much of an art as it is a science.

So if GeorgyGirl wants to do her gardening according to the phases of the moon, why the heck can't she? They are not your plants... Especially if it produces acceptable results...


Just found this if anyone's interested:


gardening? sloooowly I turned . . .


Don't know what it is about the ol looniemoonie, but it has occasionally sent me mental.

I loved the planting interviews in the old 1972 Foxfire series ( and as a matter of fact I was looking this subject up today and had the same thoughts as Kent (with much less soapbox-factor)- why should sunlight exposure on the Loon have anything to do with distance or strength?

While I'm tempted to go further and crush up quartz and stuff horns full of horseshit a la Steiner, I'm not going to crush up coral, "sniff" petrol or use morphine a la "Materia Medica". I guess it's how far you want to take it, but be sure that I'm streaming WFMU sonic-massages straight into my vegie patch for maximum flava.


Jrld - I agree with you about the more out there aspects of Steiner and his gang. In fact most of it's pretty out there for my taste. But, I'm still intrigued by this moon thing - I figure if it works, then why not keep trying it? And if it doesn't, no harm done really.

Also, I'm still a novice gardener, so for me *any* idea is a potentially good one. Let's face it, for the newbie grower a regular tome about planting sounds as weird and complicated as lunar planting does to a seasoned gardener. Pricking off, hardening out, mulching in, ericaceouamacallit.

Anything that says to me: "seed, dirt, water, this is a good day to do that" gets my green thumbs up any time.


Here you go Kevin:


It is very intriguing! The avant-gardener needs a roadmap sometimes. I once found an Encyclopedia of Compost, which was overwhelming!

Thankfully, lunar planting is more diverse and goes much further back than Steiner, not that he was like, evil, or nothn.


Lunar gardening is of totally unproven effectiveness. Proper tests done on controlled environments show no beneficial effects on crops plain and simple. All these years I've been sowing all kinds of fruit/vegetable/flowering plants I've never checked the moon phases, just made sure my pots were clean, soil mix was suitable according to each species, watering and aeration was just right to avoid fungal contamination and there you are. All the rest is pure mythology passed on from the older generations (same as those mixtures for treating pruning wounds). Organic farming practices have all the scientific support behind them (it's politics and economics that get in the way) while biodynamic agriculture is pure pseudoscience, move along, nothing to see here.

As far as the "what's the harm" part goes, by repeating those scientifically unsound methods (astrology for plants?) one throws all critical thinking out of the window and opens the door to any snake oil peddler. Have a look here:

And some more links on Steiner's wacky ideas and the supposed lunar effect:


Jrld - I like "avant-gardener". ;)


Elias - critical thinking is all well and good, but a sense of adventure can be cool too. I like to keep an open mind. And, as I said in the article, the plants I sowed according to the moon have done really well, those that were wrong time, wrong place never even got out of the starting gate. This has been a casual experiment certainly, but it had its rewards.

And when I said "no harm done", well, if you do somethinga nd it works that's good, if it doesn't then you try something else. No harm done.


Elias, what you say is sound.

I met a guy trying to make a "joe-cell" engine [], claiming it concerned orgone-energy and often wouldn't work if someone critical was present.

On the other hand, I'm guessing that GG is trying it out to use lunar planting as a calendar. It is really beneficial to synchronise or just become aware of natural cycles, however you do it, regardless of its "growth enhancement".

But, "whats the" is verging on crap- Critical, logical, empirical knowledge has brought us much harm and devestation. Look Oppenheimer’s work, and the strategic rationale behind it in the eye and tell me that it is still the soundest path forward. Even he tried apologetics for rationalism by quoting Indian Myth. Check out "The Trap" by Adam Curtis: "#uck you buddy" for a little more balance.

Myth can be used in rational ways, it’s just a tightrope walk sometimes.


As someone with a foot in both worlds, I can say that the myths and legends are the seeds of the science of the day. You don't eat your seeds, as you can't have the plant without them. Is there any question that in a few hundred years the science of today will seem just as quaint and off-base? Basic things like what gravity is and how life starts, are only now just being understood. I've seen these changes in my lifetime; scientific research I did in the 80's and early 90's for private industry that was considered "far out" and "crazy" is now becoming acceptable mainstream science. It's sad to me that the schools have so beaten this sense of wonder and possibility out of students. All it takes to regain that sense is to do physical experiments, just like what GG is doing. It's not hard to reach the frontier, but you have to start by accepting the fact that _there is a frontier at all_. My advice in this regard is to learn something of the scientific method ( Steiner was a big proponent of this ) and let not the naysayers nor the mythologizers influence your perceptions of the physical reality your experiments will reveal to you. When you cojoin the shamanic impulse with the rigors of the scientific method, great things become possible. ( see this link for a perfect little example of what I am talking about ).

As regards the immediate issue; I plant seeds based on the time it takes them to grow large enough to be transplanted outside when conditions are favorable. So this week I'll be starting a bunch of basil for direct transplant in mid june. It's rare that I get failure to germinate, yet there are certain times when seeds will grow much more easily than others. It remains to be seen what all the variables are that go into germination, because the process itself is rather poorly understood.

Funny thing is, since GG started posting on gardening, I've had that old reprobate Rudy Steiner on my mind. Mainly for this quote, from his most excellent book "Knowledge of the higher worlds and its attainment". You can view his experiment as a means to seperate seeds that are non-viable from ones that are, or in the mythopoetic sense of describing the relationship of myth to science I described above. But do try to hold both in the head at the same time. That's the critical thing.

Let the student place before himself the small seed of a plant, and while contemplating this insignificant object, form with intensity the right kind of thoughts, and through these thoughts develop certain feelings. In the first place let him clearly grasp what he really sees with his eyes. Let him describe to himself the shape, color and all other qualities of the seed. Then let his mind dwell upon the following train of thought: “Out of the seed, if planted in the soil, a plant of complex structure will grow.” Let him build up this plant in his imagination, and reflect as follows: “What I am now picturing to myself in my imagination will later on be enticed from the seed by the forces of earth and light. If I had before me an artificial object which imitated the seed to such a deceptive degree that my eyes could not distinguish it from a real seed, no forces of earth or light could avail to produce from it a plant.” If the student thoroughly grasps this thought so that it becomes an inward experience, he will also be able to form the following thought and couple it with the right feeling: “All that will ultimately grow out of the seed is now secretly enfolded within it as the force of the whole plant. In the artificial imitation of the seed there is no such force present. And yet both appear alike to my eyes. The real seed, therefore, contains something invisible which is not present in the imitation.” It is on this invisible something that thought and feeling are to be concentrated. (Anyone objecting that a microscopical examination would reveal the difference between the real seed and the imitation would only show that he had failed to grasp the point. The intention is not to investigate the physical nature of the object, but to use it for the development of psycho-spiritual forces.)
Let the student fully realize that this invisible something will transmute itself later on into a visible plant, which he will have before him in its shape and color. Let him ponder on the thought: “The invisible will become visible. If I could not think, then that which will only become visible later on could not already make its presence felt to me.” Particular stress must be laid on the following point: what the student thinks he must also feel with intensity. In inner tranquility, the thought mentioned above must become a conscious inner experience, to the exclusion of all other thoughts and disturbances. And sufficient time must be taken to allow the thought and the feeling which is coupled with it to bore themselves into the soul, as it were. If this be accomplished in the right way, then after a time — possibly not until after numerous attempts — an inner force will make itself felt. This force will create new powers of perception. The grain of seed will appear as if enveloped in a small luminous cloud. In a sensible-supersensible way, it will be felt as a kind of flame. The center of this flame evokes the same feeling that one has when under the impression of the color lilac, and the edges as when under the impression of a bluish tone. What was formerly invisible now becomes visible, for it is created by the power of the thoughts and feelings we have stirred to life within ourselves. The plant itself will not become visible until later, so that the physically invisible now reveals itself in a spiritually visible way.
As a further exercise to succeed the one just described, the following may be taken: Let the student place before him a plant which has attained the stage of full development. Now let him fill his mind with the thought that the time will come when this plant will wither and die. “Nothing will be left of what I now see before me. But this plant will have developed seeds which, in their turn, will develop to new plants. I again become aware that in what I see, something lies hidden which I cannot see. I fill my mind entirely with the thought: this plant with its form and colors, will in time be no more. But the reflection that it produces seeds teaches me that it will not disappear into nothing. I cannot at present see with my eyes that which guards it from disappearance, any more than I previously could discern the plant in the grain of seed. Thus there is something in the plant which my eyes cannot see. If I let this thought live within me, and if the corresponding feeling be coupled with it, then, in due time, there will again develop in my soul a force which will ripen into a new perception.” Out of the plant there again grows a kind of spiritual flame-form, which is, of course, correspondingly larger than the one previously described. The flame can be felt as being greenish-blue in the center, and yellowish-red at the outer edge.
An error fraught with serious consequences would ensue if it were assumed that the desired result could be reached more easily if the grain of seed or the plant mentioned above were merely imagined, were merely pictured in the imagination. This might lead to results, but not so surely as the method here. The vision thus attained would, in most cases, be a mere fragment of the imagination, the transformation of which into genuine spiritual vision would still remain to be accomplished. It is not intended arbitrarily to create visions, but to allow reality to create them within oneself. The truth must well up from the depths of our own soul; it must not be conjured forth by our ordinary ego, but by the beings themselves whose spiritual truth we are to contemplate.


Seed germination is so complex and affected by so many environmental parameters that there's always room for surprises and little miracles. One lucky (or unlucky) sowing of a few plants is not a sound basis to prove anything either way. Many interfering factors (sunlight, watering, soil quality etc) should be isolated and the whole process should be designed to be observed without allowing confirmation bias. If statistically significant positive results appear then a different party should be able to repeat the whole process and should arrive at more or less the same results. I've had so many friends waste their time, effort and money on quack methods and concoctions that (at best) do absolutely nothing. What's wrong here is that you make decisions based on bad data. Just because no person died in the process doesn't make them "adventurous" or "interesting". More about open minds here:

Extreme political rationalism has nothing to do with all that. What I'm saying is astrology for the plants does not work.


I just figured a site which puts a dollar sign in front of supposed damages done by quack methods is a polemic for the contrary. All I'm saying with the Curtis ref. is that the worship of empirical, statistical methodology brings forth as many monsters as lax science, quack proof or quasi-religious fundamentalism. And it's got a great soundtrack!

Anyway, I'm feeling kinda undergrad here. What a thread. GG, mabe we might have some WFMUcentric posts about music/sound/plant growth next?

What was that old quacky paperback? - "The Secret Life of Plants" Here we go....


I see what you mean -although I do believe that when someone worships uncritically those methods then they stop being science and become dogma.

Best introductory book on the subject (of plant propagation that is) I ever read is:

American Horticultural Society
Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques

Contains lots of info, great illustrations and details on propagation by seeds or cuttings.

Damn weather is still too cold for tropicals to germinate yet...


Elias - here's a direct quote from my article: "So now my curiosity has been well and truly piqued".

Not "this is a fact", not "I'm making a decision".

I did NOT say that this was the only way to garden. I also did NOT say that I was completely converted. I said that it was "interesting".

I'm not dancing naked in my garden, or worshipping Satan, or sacrificing hamsters to a snake god.

Please stop implying that based on ONE article where I basically said "hey, here's an interesting idea..." (Note that I said IDEA not FACT) that suddenly I'm some Moon God worshipping, batshit insane charlatan nut job.


The picture is from "The Mighty Boosh" - Brit comedy absurdum maximum. He [she], the moon appears frequently in different sequels of the movie with absurd lines...

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