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Friday, 22 February 2013

By The Light Of The Silvery Moon

The 2013 growing season at Plot 66 has officially begun.

I spent the first 'real' day of the year at the allotment today. By 'real' I mean actually doing some work, rather than just looking at the unsightly, waterlogged mess and deciding to leave things until another day.

Oh, and at home I've also sown the first seeds.

At the plot, I replaced one of the uprights on the hop frame. One had warped badly and it needed dealing with. I also tidied up around the hops and gave them a feed with some fish blood and bone. It's recommended to feed hops before the plant begins its growing year.

I then set to turning over a couple of beds. Although the soil was heavy, it was worth doing to open it up to the elements. My heavy clay has a habit of compacting (after all the rain and snowfall) during the winter, so come spring it can be akin to a solid bed of concrete.

That done it was time to come home and get on with seed sowing. And, as I hinted at in my last post, I'm trying something different this year. Planting by the moon.

I shan't go into it in any great depth, but moon planting is as old as the hills and you'll find plenty about it if you search the internet. Basically, it's alleged that some produce is better planted during certain moon phases and while it has it's roots in folklore and superstition, there are scientific ideas to give it some substance.

Just as the moon pulls the tides, it also causes moisture to rise in the earth, which encourages growth. As the moon's light gets greater (from half to full) it's pull encourages seeds to grow upwards. As the moonlight wanes, the energy is drawn down, which is a better time to plant root crops.

It could, of course, just be a load of all nonsense. But, I have a rough timetable for this year's seeds and as the time draws close to sow, I will check the moon phase. If I can sow on a day when the moon phase is favourable, I'll do just that. Due to pressure of work I think it's unlikely I'll be able to do everything at the right time, but after a lousy year in 2012, I'm willing to try anything that might help.

The moon is currently increasing (second quarter) which is reportedly the best time to plant annuals which have above-ground yields, with seeds inside their fruit. On the back of this, I've sown Chillis and Tomatoes today.

An exciting shot of a seed tray, compost and label
Tomato (Tumbling Tiger)

The wife thinks I'm mad, but unlike her, I'm willing to cast aside any preconceptions and will try anything once.

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