In the green realm, there are no ticking clocks. There are no calendars scribbled through with appointments. In the green realm, the sun and the moon and the stars keep the beat. Natural time.
The stars reveal the cadence of the seasons in a bass line more complex even than that thrummed by Phil Lesh. Over this, the moon chugs along, our rhythm guitar, keeping the groove rolling. The sun soars through, fiery lead licking up and down its daily scales. In the absence of man-made time, the Universe delivers a symphonic flow. Make no mistake that what we’re doing in the garden is dancing.
There can be great complexity to farming by the heavenly bodies. Juxtaposition of sun sign on moon phases nets the optimal timing for each garden task from planting to harvest. The same principles can be applied to optimizing efforts from hatching eggs to sinking fence posts to slaughtering livestock. I remember trying to follow The Old Farmer’s Almanac when I first began growing food. It felt like it was written in a foreign language.
Over the years I have found that all that is required is that my work in the garden vibrate in conscious alignment with the moon’s rhythmic pulse. It is an ancient dance, a measured opening and closing, an earth breathing. In and out, waxing and waning, filling and emptying.
At the new moon, I sense the spark of initiatory action. Each new moon for me marks the start of a period of active work engaging the energies of growth and fulfillment of potential. This is the breathing in part. While the moon waxes fuller and fuller I begin projects, I break ground, I sow seeds. As I work I sense the coming of the full moon like a quickening, it spurs me along, hastening me to bring endeavors to completion.
When the moon topples over into waning, I begin my slow breath out. I pause from the frenetic energies of the filling moon and relax into the gentle release of what is no longer necessary. When the moon is waning, I get rid of things. It is a time to do the weeding, to turn a stubble-field. It is also the time to harvest most crops (though I tend to let my plants conclude their melodies in their own sweet time and tell me when they are ripe). Finally, as the moon narrows to a sliver and disappears, I too absent myself and rest.
There is a lot of great information out there on the many levels of nuance to farming by the moon and the sun and the stars (1). To start, however, I simply recommend that you orient yourself to the moon’s phases – which can be found here or on most printed calendars – and then begin to notice how your energy feels as the moon rolls through its changes. Working with this natural flow of effort and rest, of sowing and harvesting, of growth and decay, will make you and your garden happy. I promise. Moon dancing feels mighty good.
© Jennifer S. and harvestliberty.net, 2012.
(1) For more detailed information on farming by natural time check these out: