Planting by the moon (382 days to go)

by Max Akroyd

Yesterday afternoon I collected some grain for the animals from a local farmer. We exchanged the usual pleasantries and compared notes about the challenges of the local weather. His maize had been ‘burnt’ by the frost. Agreeing that the soil was unusually cold and dry for this time of year, I went on to point out that I’d been unable to effect my main carrot sowing.

I’m a fluent French speaker. Well, fluent as a two year old French child. So such conversations are a bit frustrating for both parties. On this occasion, though, I could make out a lot of his words and they seemed to be suggesting, seriously, that I should be sowing carrots in accordance with the lunar cycle. The international language of sceptical noises ensured that the farmer knew he was dealing with a non-believer lunacy-wise!

I was ushered indoors and, after a bit of searching for scissors, was handed the following extract from the local paper:



Sorry it’s a bit crumpled. From my conversation and the table above I deduce that Sunday is the best day for sowing carrots. Before 4:30 pm, no less.

From what I’ve read, it’s the gravitational influence of the moon which can be harnessed to the advantage of certain vegetables at certain times. This has a lot of currency in France, but I was still surprised that my friend the farmer, so unlike Mystic Meg in every other respect, was so certain that the theory was true.

Moreover, my further research (well, a few minutes on Google) suggests the astrological influence spreads to animal husbandry too. Apparently April 18-19 was the best time to castrate an animal, although I suspect there would never be a good time for the animal concerned. 

At the time, I tried to express concern that gravity was a pathetically weak force in the universe and the moon could no more influence a carrot than it could me. Although I think it’s a full moon at the moment and I do have a beard… Could there be truth in this loony theory?

The farmer and I decided to do a test. I agreed to sow a line of carrots today. And then another tomorrow, before 16:30 of course! We will then compare the two. At this point we both agreed that the effect of the local slug population might be far more influential upon the outcome.

But a deal is a deal and this morning, in addition to the hoeing and mowing, I sowed the first of my long lines of carrots…