Biodynamic Gardening Notes 26 October - 1 November

The moon is ascending this week until Sunday 30 October - the earth breaths out. We see this as growth activity above the soil surface.  Growth forces and saps flow upwards more strongly and increase plant vitality.  Although germination takes place below the ground, it also takes part in this upward striving.  This is the time to sow seeds, spray horn silica preparation 501, cultivate at the appropriate constellation before sowing, harvest on an air constellation plants for medicinal purposes, flowers and plants for preparation making and field crops such as silage and hay (Biodynamic Resource Manual, 51-53). On Sunday the moon begins descending.  Activities that take advantage of the descending moon include making and spreading compost, transplanting seedlings and trees, taking and planting cuttings, cultivating soil and spraying horn manure preparation 500 with manure concentrate and horn clay. View our previous post for more information about preparation 500.

November may be the last opportunity this spring to apply Biodynamic preparation 500.  It is best applied late in the day when some moisture has returned to the air and soil.  Depending on the season, December evenings can begin to be too hot for these applications.  Plan for an application when the moon is in opposition to Saturn on 9 November or with the synthesis of lunar contractions: descending, waning moon in an earth sign on Sunday 13th.  On both of these days, you can follow the 500 with an early morning application of 501 to balance the soil and the atmosphere.

The moon continues waning until the new moon on Thursday 27th, which is also the Perigee of the moon (when the moon is closest to the earth).  Watch for increase moisture, start of mildews and fungal infestations.  This moon is another "Supermoon" with wild weather worldwide predicted (Keats, 26).  The man who coined the phrase "supermoon" has his own website discussing what it is and means.  Please visit Richard Nolle for more information.

A tea made with fresh Casuarina (She-Oak) needles is useful to tighten the fluids in the plant, balance the water in the plant and prevent fungal infestation such as mildews, rusts and moulds.  For small areas you use 500 g fresh Casuarina needles.  Place the needles into a stainless steel saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.  Use at a rate of 1 litre of tea to 40 litres water aiming at 1 litre of tea per hectare.

We also use a seaweed brew to help our plants reach optimum health which in itself can increase their resistance to pests and diseases.  Seaweed contains 14 Amino acids and over 60 trace elements and minerals.  You can make your own seaweed brew by taking bull kelp, chopping it up and half filling a 200 litre  food grade drum.  Fill with water.  You can also add Biodynamic compost preparations (available through Biodynamic Australia) or some of the micronutrient accumulating herbs to this brew (Search Companion Planting under Seasonal Notes).  Let it sit for at least a month, stirring occasionally.  When the brew stops bubbling, it is ready for use.  You can use bucketfuls of the tea to moist down the compost pile or use it diluted 1 :10 as a fortnightly plant tonic (like humans use vitamin and mineral supplements).  You can top up the water in the main brew and use it for 12 compost piles (Woodrow, 75).

Maria Thun offered that each activity we do for a plant such as seeding, transplanting and cultivating, when performed on the corresponding moon, further emphasize that quality in the plant.  For example, when we transplant cabbage seedlings during a descending moon in a leaf sign, we are taking advantage not only of the descending moon pulling the forces of that plant down and into the roots to minimize transplant shock, we are also emphasizing the leafy quality of the cabbage.  Sow seeds that produce above the ground during the waxing moon until the full moon on 11 November.  Sow seed that produce below the ground during the waning moon (time from full moon to new moon).

On Wednesday 26th until 17:08, the moon is in an earth sign.  Earth signs are favourable for root plants.  These included all plants whose roots we harvest: carrots, parsnips, radishes, beetroot, celeriac, swedes, potatoes, onions and garlic.  As the perigee is the following day, the chance for increased moisture is good for helping parsnip and carrot seeds to germinate.

The moon then moves into an air sign until Friday at 16:34. Air signs are favourable for flower plants.  These include all the plants, which are grown for their flowers, and where we want a long flowering time: garden flowers, medicinal and preparation flowers, bulbs and broccoli.

For the rest of Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 17:57, the moon is in a water sign. Water signs are favourable for leaf plants.  These include all the plants whose leaves we harvest: cabbages, cauliflower, parsley, coriander, lettuce, spinach, bok choy, silver beet, asparagus and fennel.

Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday, the moon is in a fire sign.  Warmth or fire signs are favourable for fruit plants.  These include all plants whose seed fruit we harvest: beans, peas, grains, cucumbers, squashes, lentils, corn, capsicums, rice, soya, tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries and fruit trees.

This is a wonderful time in the garden.   Planting now ensures a summer filled with beautiful, home grown produce.  Crops that can continue to be directly sown during this month are French beans, beetroot, carrots, coriander, corn, cucumbers, peas (if it stays cool), potatoes, radishes, rocket, spinach, spring onions, sweades, turnips, winter squashes and pumpkins. Crops that can be transplanted are asparagus, basil, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, cauliflower, celery, Chinese greens, eggplant,  flowers, leeks, lettuce and salad greens, parsley, silver beet, tomatoes and zucchini and summer squashes.

The white cabbage moths may again return this month.  If you see alot of the white "butterflies" flittering about in the garden during the day, watch your young brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) for signs of eggs and then the green larvae caterpillars. Manual removal works really well to protect young plants. Chickens will happily eat the caterpillars.  There is recipe for nettle brew which can help control caterpillars on our gardening notes post.  Peter Cundall offers another simple, safe and cheap method of control.

Spray the attacked plants with weak salty water.  It is easy to test whether the mix is strong enough because it can be tested on living caterpillars, starting with a dilution of two tablespoons of salt to a bucketful of water.  Spray directly on to the pests, and if the correct strength has been mixed, they will roll off and eventually die on the ground.  (The Practical Australian Gardener,64)

Germinating seeds and newly transplanted starts will need extra moisture to help their roots to establish.  Take advantage of earth and water days for irrigating.

For more information about our Biodynamic Gardening Notes, visit our previous post About our Biodynamic Notes.

-Gardening Notes are compiled using Brian Keats Antipodean Astro Calendar; Maria Thun's Gardening for Life; Biodynamic Agriculture Australia's Biodynamic Resource Manual; Peter Cundall's The Practical Australian Gardener; Louise Riotte's Astrological Gardening; and the experiences and farm practices on Transition Farm

For more information about the Antipodean Astro Calendar, Biodynamic Planting and research and more visit Brian Keats' website at

For more information about Biodynamics and to purchase biodynamic preparations visit Biodynamic Australia at