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Planting by moon calendars, Nick Kollestrom || Lunar seed germination studies, E. Zurcher

Three items relating to lunar gardening and biodynamic research:

1. Nick Kollestrom calendars and noteworthy online chapter providing
   background explanations and studies

2. E. Zurcher studies of lunar effects on tree seed germination; Kolisko;
   observation-based emperical knowledge; phenology; bio-electric
   potential; documentation.


Planting by the Moon 2000, A Gardeners' Calendar
By Nick Kollerstrom

Book for sale through Prospect Books

Sample Chapter::

Chapter 4

Chapter 4


Gardening and Planting By The Moon (2004)
Nick Kollerstrom

Ordering the Book

The book 'Gardening & Gardening and Planting By The Moon' published
by Foulsham, UK is available from all good bookshops, or order from from

How Bio-Dynamic Calendars Developed: the Chronology



Chronobiology Of Trees: Synthesis Of Traditional Phytopractices
And Scientific Research, As A Tool Of Future Forestry
By E. Zürcher

Ernst Zürcher, Chair of Wood Sciences, Department of Forest and Wood Sciences,
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, ETH Zentrum, HG F 21, CH-8092
Zürich, Switzerland.

Presented at Third IUFRO Extension Working Party Symposium, "Extension
Forestry: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Application," July 19-24,
1998, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

International Union of Forestry Research Organizations


The subject presented here is linked to the fact that most organic processes and the structures which result from them have a rhythmic character. In the plant world in temperate latitudes, it is immediately obvious that the germination, growth, maturation and perennial structure formation in trees are marked by an alternation between active and resting phases. This alternation is materialized in the morphology of the shoot or in the architecture of the tree, and on an anatomical level, in the
succession and the internal structure of the growth rings.


This rhythmical characteristic of plants has always had to be taken into
account by man, a heterotrophic being, for his subsistence.

On reading works which deal with popular sayings or quote classical authors
concerning agricultural practice, or simply talking to gardeners, farmers or foresters with an empirical experience based on tradition, one is struck by two things.

Firstly, in addition to the rhythm of the seasons, lunar rhythms are systematically mentioned as having an influence on the growth, structures, characteristics or
properties of plants.

Secondly, one is struck by certain common factors, despite the geographical distance of the sources; these similarities in the rules formulated would seem to suggest the existence of possibly objective phenomena. For example, the general rules governing the felling of trees are in accordance right across the continents; whether in the alpine arc (Hauser 1973), in the Near East (Aichinger 1936), in India, Ceylon and Brazil (Forstmann 1936; Kolisko and Kolisko 1953; Schrödter 1981), or in Guyana, all these traditions seem to be based on matching observations. It should be noted that in the past, people had more time and more peace and quiet to observe: it must even have
been of vital importance to them.


Comments on:

synodic lunar rhythm
tropical rhythm
sidereal rhythm

The Research

Various studies in animal biology and on annual plants seem nevertheless to confirm some of the empirical rules and practises linked to lunar rhythms (Endres and Schad 1997). In trees, Burr (1945, 1947) had indeed observed a rhythm of about 27 days in the "bio-electric potential" measurable along the stem, a rhythm in between the annual and the daily fluctuations, and not directly explicable by the current site
or climatic factors. The author suggested at the time a connection with the
lunar cycles.


Materials and Methods

At first, we wanted to concentrate on the first of the 3 cycles mentioned: on the synodic lunar rhythm, oscillating between the New Moon (NM) and the Full Moon (FM). The aim was to study the effect of this rhythm on the germination and the
initial growth during 4 to 6 months.

For the precise moment of sowing (after a brief soaking of the seeds), we based our experiment on the work of Kolisko (1927, 1929, 1934, 1935), according to which the maximal effect precedes the phase in question by two days. At the time, this work marked the beginning of the bio-dynamic method of agriculture, founded by Steiner
in 1924.

The trials took place in the Forestry Department of the Institut des Sciences
Agronomiques du Rwanda (aided by the Coopération Suisse - Intercoopération,
Berne), in 1990 and 1991 (with a brief preliminary trial in 1989).

Each sowing consisted of four replications of 50 seeds from the same batch.
Each replication was placed randomly in a compartment (20 cm x 20 cm) of a
wooden crate with 12 compartments kept in diffuse light by means of shade screens. The seeds, already slightly buried, were thus preserved from a possible direct effect of the moonlight, extremely weak compared to sunlight, which is known not to penetrate further than 5 to 10 mm in the soil, with the red part of the spectrum
(authors cited in Egley 1995).

A series consists of 12 successive sowings, 2 days before the full moon (FM) or, 14-15 days later, 2 days before the new moon (NM), and lasts generally 5.5 months.


Results and Discussion

The speed of germination or beginning of emergence already shows a significant difference between the FM and NM sowings for all the sowings (A) and especially for those corresponding to the dry season which took place in the middle of the
trial (B) (Figure 1).

Recent experiments on the radish by Fritz in 1994 show the same tendency:
faster germination at FM (Figure 2).


Conclusion and Outlook

These trials make clear, for the first time in trees or shrubs, the existence of a real phenomenon, often mentioned in traditions or issuing from empirical experience, consisting of a link between the lunar phases (synodic rhythm) and the behaviour
at germination and during initial growth.



The author wishes to thank his Rwandan colleagues and associates for
their support etc.....

Finally, he wishes to dedicate this work to the Indian Culture of America,
which lived in harmony with the natural lunar rhythm. For the Oglalla, July
was for example the Moon of the Black Cherries.


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