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Getting a little behind...

Posted by bi11me 5b (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 28, 12 at 20:35

in my reading. Received the 8th edition of Jeavons' How to Grow More Vegetables �2012 from nephew today - the stack on the bedside table is growing. I used to be able to get through 2 books a week no problem, now I wake up at three in the morning with a book on my face and the light still on. And too much time on-line during meals that too often extends beyond the nightcap.

I haven't looked at my old copy very recently, it will be interesting to sit them down side by side and compare. I see that the index has Moon Planting but not Mycorrhizae.


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RE: Getting a little behind...

  • Posted by feijoas Temperate New Zealan (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 28, 12 at 21:38

I like *most* of Jeavons stuff, especially his focus on growing your own fertlity (favas. Yay!) and using space efficiently.
But there's no way I'd ever sucession-plant as retentively as he suggests!
And I just ignore any exhortations, anywhere to double-dig.
No mycorrhizae? Odd. I assume he discusses the roles of fungi generally?
I always mean to sow with the moon, but I always forget and just have to get the things in! I know people who have done experiments and apparently things germinate heaps, heaps faster if sown at the 'right' time.


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My seedlings germinate heap fast already without much moon signing.


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We have some differences, you and I. I have been double digging my beds for the initial preparation for over 20 years - on his recommendation. I have easily removed 2 tons of rocks from my 5 acres, and I generally have a new crop in the ground within 5 days of harvesting - but I am trying to maximize the yield from a short growing season. I don't know if 180 consecutive frost-free days here would inspire panic or a parade. And though I do know people who plant by the lunar calender, it just doesn't fit in to the rotation/succession criteria I spend so many hour working out in December and January. I'm sure often it corresponds with the appropriate waxing phase - I pretty much plant something every day - I haven't noticed any significant disadvantage I can clearly blame on the waning. His extensive charts and data are, in a word, jaw-dropping.


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RE: Getting a little behind...

  • Posted by feijoas Temperate New Zealan (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 29, 12 at 5:15

If I needed to make a living from growing, I might have very different attitudes about double-digging!
I know it really gets fertility/production going and old no-dig people are now double-digging.
Whatever its efficacy, I'm basically waaaay too lazy. Couching it as something look more like a proactive, informed choice than . Me. Lazy"


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My infantile sense of humour misinterpreted the heading. Would diet and exercise do it? Maybe lots of vegetables and double digging? Sorry .....


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flora - With our lack of snow this year,I think I've gone through a longer period of not digging than any in the past 40 years. Usually in the winter I put on about 10 pounds, and lose it again by June. I can still fit in the suit I got married in 28 years ago. Double digging is not just about the soil.

If I hold my garden fork a foot over my lawn and drop it, the points might penetrate an inch or less, but it will probably stay upright. In my beds, it sinks in 5 or 6 inches just of its' own weight. Harvesting carrots is one of the favorite activities here, we just loosen the bed with a broad fork and pull them up. I don't regret the digging, but I would do it differently if I were starting over, with a year of sheet composting and potatoes first.


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You should get audio books. That way you can listen to the books while planting or weeding or something.


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  • Posted by t-bird Chicago 5/6 (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 29, 12 at 14:09

What is the causative mechanism of moon planting benefits? If it's the reflective light vs darkness, there are street lights on all night in the city - both front and alley, so seems that it wouldn't make a difference in highly urban areas.


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RE: Getting a little behind...

  • Posted by feijoas Temperate New Zealan (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 29, 12 at 16:12

As far as I know, moon planting's about the effect of gravity/water on plants, rather than light.
Makes sense to me: if the moon can move an ocean around, it probably has an affect on a radish!


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Apparently it is all about the planting time. If it is supposed to promote germination, why do mine come up so well anyway?

If it is to promote growth and productivity, how would it do that.

Usually it seems that younger people have the recollection that grandpa planted by the signs and had a wonderful garden. Well, what about me? I have had a lot of wonderful crops for decades without much attention to signs.

One person told me that they wouldn't either dehorn or castrate [I don.t remember which] except by the signs.

There could be something or other out there, but I am left fairly unconvinced.


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Flora- LOL! That's what I thought too...isn't that one of the main reasons we grow and eat vegetables, in the first place :)


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I think a lot of it is just confirmation bias with a bit of superstition tossed in. If you do some odd sounding thing and you get good results, our brains like to find patterns in things, so it connects what we did to the results we got, even if they were totally independent of each other (like wearing a lucky jersey to a football game). If it doesn't work, you assume that you did it wrong, or that conditions were so bad even your good luck charm wasn't enough to cope with it.

There was a study a while back involving Stradivarius violins (which have the reputation of being the best ever made) and modern violins. People that played the Strat and got good results attributed it to the violin. When they played a Strat and got bad results, they attributed it to them doing something wrong, since the violin is obviously the best ever. Exact opposite held true for the modern pieces. If they got good results, they attributed their skill, while bad results got blamed on the instrument.

When they were blindfolded (and given other sensory blocking paraphernalia, like heavy scents so they couldn't smell the old wood), virtually everyone picked the modern violin as being the superior instrument.

People are just very weird animals, we get silly notions in our heads that we never get out again. =)


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Planting based on lunar phases is predicated on the gravitational effects of the moon on terrestrial water. During waxing phases, the gravitational effects of the moon and sun are working together, resulting in higher forces, in waning phases, the sun and moon have decreasing or contradictory effects. There are studies that purport to show better growth and germination due to gravitational and reflectance qualities of the moon, and given the effect of the moon on tides, it would be hard to refute these claims categorically. Astrological claims are more tenuous, based on a non-scientific, though perhaps observational, rationale. I'll leave that to others to expound on.


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billme, Are not the lunar phases predicated on that moment or that day or two that the seed is sown, the plant transplanted, or the post installed in the ground? Does this event come with a lifetime guarantee of better performance?

No, you have not pushed the faith in lunar phases, but I see mostly a kicking the can down the road. Perhaps the polite thing for me to do is just leave these things alone?



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Wayne - I am indeed kicking the can a bit. My schedule doesn't coincide with the moons' except purely by chance. Sometimes when it's particularly bright and I'm running behind, you'll find me planting by the moon, but the only gravity involved depends on how far behind I am, and I'm just taking advantage of the ambient light.

I often spend full-moon winter nights on cross-country skis, it is a favorite past-time with many of my friends. There is a trail that passes down the middle of the peninsula that offers a 17 mile loop, crossing one road twice, where you can monitor the activity of the local wildlife by the tracks that follow or cross it.


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That sounds like real moon planting!

There are deer around here. I saw 5 over at the corner of the woods...after the cat growled looking out the window. They have never bothered the gardens, but I wonder if those guys with a bucket might have put up a salt/mineral lick.


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Your gardens are unfenced, you see deer, and yet they don't eat? Wish we had polite deer like that around here.


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I started my first garden 30 years ago with Jeavons' book in hand. I moved a few times, encountered different growing situations, had kids, yada yada yada. I slipped away from doing things that way. Looking for inspiration maybe 10 years ago I came across Eliot Coleman's books. I reformed the beds to 30" so I could use his spacing recommendations (I'm lazy)! I got to thinking that double digging was "unnatural", that I should stop digging altogether, and let the soil layers form. (I'll tell you one thing, NOT digging didn't work at all for me!) But I've been curious about intensive gardening methods again and am going to find Jeavons' book and take another look. I'm curious to compare his methods with Coleman's.


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