This is the archive of a few articles and press releases available for publication and some of my past newsletters.You may use these in part or in whole as long as you notify me, cite your source, and send me a copy of the publication. Choose the subject you want to read and it will jump directly to the story. (Read what others have written about Gardening by the Moon)
For immediate release:
The Moon Planting Matrix is a new lunar gardening software program that calculates the best days for planting by the moon, specifically for your climate. It generates planting lists for each sign of the moon that show the plants that prefer that phase and sign. The lists are customized to your exact frost dates, time zone and the vegetables and fruits that you want to grow. A thirty day free trial is available for download at http://www.gardeningbythemoon.com/moonmatrix.com
The guiding mission of Divine Inspiration Publications has always been to provide lunar planting information in an easy to use format, specific to your frost dates. For ten years our planting guide, available for a long, medium or short growing season, has offered more gardening information than any other almanac or lunar calendar. It is also available by the month as a PDF download, with options of two different time zones (Pacific or Eastern).
Now, with the newly released Moon Planting Matrix software, you can customize even more precisely, compiling the best phase and sign of the moon with the correct seasonal times, and generate planting and activity lists that are specific to your garden and climate. It helps you plan succession plantings, fall plantings, project harvest dates, and keep records of results. Gardeners in frost free climates or the Southern Hemisphere can use this software by adjusting the “frost dates” to their usual planting season. The Moon Planting Matrix is available for $49.99, for both Mac and PC platforms.
The interface is attractive and easy to use, and the set up is quick. A Help window pops up on first opening that will clearly guide the user through set up and the features of each screen. Enter the frost dates, and time zone, and a few other preferences, then select the plants that you grow in your garden, and eliminate tasks that don’t apply from the activity list. The Plant Database has cultivation information about preferred lunar signs, soil and air temperature, planting depth, spacing, and days to maturity for over 50 annual vegetables and flowers. You can add, delete, copy or deactivate plants temporarily and print the planting and activity lists to take into the garden. A monthly calendar shows the moon phase each day, the best activities for each moon sign, and allows for notes.
Visit www.gardeningbythemoon.com to download your free trial of the Moon Planting Matrix, or for more information about lunar planting. This technique for working with the forces of nature has been used since ancient times, and is grounded in science. The gravitational pull from the moon, which changes with the phases, affects the amount of moisture in the soil and germination of seeds. Some moon signs are fertile and are preferred for planting. Divine Inspiration Publications pulls all these elements together to make it easy to know the best times to plant. The results are healthier crops, and bigger harvests.
Ancient people used the natural signs that they could observe to mark the passage of time: the sun, the moon and the seasons. The changing shape of the moon was easiest for them to observe, and served as a convenient interval for marking time. The very first calendars, dating back to 25,000 BC, were notched sticks, reindeer bones, or tusks of mammoths, which counted the days between phases of the moon. It was also important to track the seasons so they would know when the weather would change for planting or harvesting, or when to expect migrating herds.
In the prehistoric caves of Lascaux, France there is a lunar calendar that shows patterns of dots, representing a way of counting the days. According to Dr. Rappenglueck of the University of Munich, there is "one dot for each day the moon is in the sky. At the new moon, when it vanishes from the sky we see an empty square, perhaps symbolically representing the absent moon. It was a rhythm of nature that was important to these people. Their survival depended on them, they were part of them."
Calendars seemed to have three main purposes: to mark civil or government holidays, religious holidays, and agricultural and planting dates. There is, however, inherent incompatibility of the solar and lunar cycles. If not adjusted to each other, then midsummer festivals would eventually happen in winter, and harvest festivals would be in the spring. This has created some unique, and random, ways of reconciling the two.
The survival of the Egyptians depended upon knowing when the Nile would flood, which provided irrigation for their crops. They noticed that the Dog Star, Sirius, would arise each year a few days before the floods began, and thus created a solar calendar around 4236 BC. As Egyptians observed the movement of Sirius, they realized that the year was 5 days longer than the 360-day year that had been used for hundreds of years. Ultimately the Egyptians had three different calendars in use; a civil calendar derived from the lunar months and the annual seasons, used by the government, and a lunar calendar for festivals, religious affairs and everyday life.
The original lunar calendar was retained primarily for agriculture because of its agreement with the seasons. Lunar calendars were used by Celts, Islamic and Jewish people, and in Germany, Babylonia, and China. The Aztec Priests had a 260-day lunar calendar that they used to determine the best days for sowing crops, building houses or going to war. The Mayans also used observations of the planet Venus to create their calendar. The Greeks calculated their months by observing the Pleiades, which coincided with the harvest time. The lunar year of twelve months was correlated with the solar year by adding an extra month every other year. The Romans borrowed from the Greek method, but came up with 10 months in a year of 304 days, ignoring the 61 days that fell in mid winter. Roman priests would observe the new crescent moon and announce a new month, and this is where we get the word calendar, from their word calare-to announce or call out.
Until the time of Julius Caesar the calendar was primarily lunar. Caesar decided to reform the Roman calendar with the help of Sosigenes, a Greek-Egyptian astronomer. He ordered the Romans to disregard the moon in calculating calendars. He decreed 12 months of 30 or 31 days, except for February, which had 29 days, except for every fourth year. Caesar ruled that the year of 46 BC would have 445 days, in order to realign with the seasons, which was known as the "year of confusion".
Native Americans kept track of days by counting from a bundle of sticks. Observation of the Moon was used for longer intervals, usually beginning with the New Moon. Most tribes counted 12 moons a year, some thirteen, with names like "Grass Moon", "Corn Moon" or "Harvest Moon". Years were divided into four seasons, but not by a fixed number of days.
We know that calendars were important to agricultural people, allowing them to predict when to plant and harvest crops, or to breed their livestock. One could not depend solely on observations, as an unseasonable warm spell might prompt planting too soon, and killing frost could harm tender seedlings.
Although now our survival is not so dependant upon knowing when the seasons will change, many backyard gardeners want to have bragging rights about having the first fresh peas or vine ripened tomatoes. A calendar that addresses the needs of more modern farmers is the Gardening by the Moon Calendar, which shows you when to plant by the phase and sign of the moon.
Planting by the moon has been practiced for thousands of years, but it is also based on the scientific fact of the gravitational pull of the moon, which draws the moisture in the earth to the surface, aiding in germination of seeds. This calendar also takes into consideration the cycle of seasons. Each month has specific plant lists that tell you when to start your seeds based on your frost-free dates (for a long, medium or short growing season). You can find out more about how lunar planting works by visiting the web site www.gardeningbythemoon.com . This calendar, available for $12.95, is a valuable reference tool which has planting information and monthly garden activities to help you get a jump on the season.
For immediate release:
What to get the gardener that already has every tool in the shed? How about help in managing the many chores, and advice to improve their technique and maximize production? The Gardening by the Moon Calendar will show you the best days each month for lunar planting and many other garden activities.
Based on old folk wisdom, but also on the scientific fact of gravitational pull, this technique works with the forces of nature to give plants a natural advantage. Some days are best for planting, and some days are good for weeding or pruning. The calendar guides you to doing activities at the most favorable time. It also has a monthly list that will remind you about seasonal chores. Keeping up on the pruning and pinching will increase production of flowers and fruits.
The calendar also tells when it is time to start seeds under lights, so they will be ready to go in when the weather warms up. By getting a jump on the season, and using succession planting, you can maximize the harvest in your vegetable garden. Since this timing depends on how long your growing season is, the calendar is available in three different versions, for short, medium or long season.
Your gardening friends will find this a unique and useful gift, which will help them refine their gardening techniques. Visit www.gardeningbythemoon.com to order a calendar or find out more information.
Dear Garden writers,
Are you looking for a new hook to reel in your readers? We would like to suggest a topic and a great product that we know your audience will find interesting. Gardening by the moon is a technique for getting the most out of your garden by working with the forces of nature, and the Gardening by the Moon Calendar and planting guide makes it easy to know when the time is right.
What is newsworthy about it? This subject taps into the trend toward a more natural lifestyle. The lack of extensive controlled experiments makes some people doubt the validity of the theory, yet it has been practiced since the beginning of agriculture, and thousands of gardeners are seeing great results from following this practice.
What is the benefit? Following the natural rhythms that flow with the tides will take advantage of increased moisture in the soil making your plants more vigorous and thriving, giving you bigger harvests that don't go to seed as fast. The Gardening by the Moon Calendar shows you in an easy to read format when to plant and do other garden activities. It is packed with other information that will help gardeners improve their technique to get the most out of their garden.
What is the local angle? The calendar comes in three versions for different length growing seasons-long, medium or short-- so it's tailored to your climate. Especially relevant for long season gardeners, this calendar will remind you to plant for fall when the garden is producing bountifully.
Need a gift suggestion for the gardener who has everything? The Gardening by the Moon calendar is the perfect thing for the gardener that has every tool and plant they could want. Lunar planting is a great way to improve your yields and refine your technique, and this gift shows that you really understand a gardener's passion.
The New Year is the time for writing calendar reviews, and this one stands above the rest for its information resource and the fact that it is not just pretty pictures, it's a valuable tool. Unlike many other moon calendars, this one presents the planting information in an easy to read format, and has specific plant lists for three different growing seasons.
If you are writing about garden related websites, visitors are delighted to find us at www.gardeningbythemoon.com . Spring is when the gardener's juices really get going and our website experiences a great surge in visitors as they seek planting information. Your readers will find the website full of explanations about why lunar planting works and information such as a chart showing the preferred air and soil temperature for many vegetable plants. A PDF version of the calendar is available for immediate downloading, for those who want the moon information quickly. Need an article for your newsletter? There are press releases that you may use, including an article about the origin of calendars at www.gardeningbythemoon.com/archives/html .
Review copies available. If you would like to review Gardening by the Moon, please contact us with a mailing address, and let us know what your frost dates are so we can send the correct version. Discounts are available to garden clubs. We also offer a no-risk introductory offer for retail outlets.
Winter is a good time for assessing where you might need to add some art, because that is when the bare bones of the garden are more evident. Look for holes where you need something to draw the eye. Select something to be a focal point, whether it is a fountain, statue, or arbor. Place large pieces to the back, just as you would larger plants, and allow them to draw you down the path.
Make the path meandering with gentle turns, so you come upon other unexpected elements, on a more intimate scale. Provide seating so you can stay and contemplate the object within its environment. Enhance your experience by providing for the other senses as well, with the sound of moving water, scented plants, or wind activated elements, such as kites, flags, and mobiles.
You can use natural elements to make an accent as well, by winding white twinkle lights in a tree, or spotlighting from below so that the trees’ form is highlighted. A large scale rock can anchor a point; if you are bringing in a large rock, it is best to bury it by half to three quarters, so it looks naturally set into the ground.
Many found or cast off objects make unusual trellises or planters, and add an element of surprise and often humor. Mattress springs, with their spiral coils, might make an attractive trellis; an old claw foot bathtub can be a pond or planter; a crystal chandelier hanging in the tree will catch the light. Broken dishes and tiles can become a mosaic table top, or decorate a terra cotta pot.
We are spending more time in our outdoor rooms and it makes sense to carry art into the outdoors. Garden art is a personal statement that reflects who you are. It should fit the style of your garden, whether it is formal or funky. And as is true with all art, most of all, it should please you.
Here are some other links related to garden arthttp://www.the-artistic-garden.com/
Happy New Year to all my Gardening friends!
Was one of your New Years Resolutions to switch to an organic garden this year? That's GREAT, I can't encourage you enough! I think it is vitally important to our planet that we promote life on every scale possible, right down to the microorganisms in the soil!
But perhaps you have been chemically defendant for so long you are not sure how to start. I think it is a change that needs to be done in stages, because you have created a situation where the plants are artificially protected by those chemicals. They only get nutrients from what you feed it, and none from the natural breaking down of matter. If you take that away without compensating for it you could have problems. Too much nitrogen from chemical fertilizers can weaken plants. Even though they may look lush for a while, if they are putting too much energy into leaf growth, the resistance to disease suffers. The first step is to increase the health of the soil, so it becomes alive again. You need to add as much organic matter as you can. If you don't have snow on the ground it is not too late to do this. Pile on the shredded leaves, mulch, and manure and just let them break down over winter. Soon you will attract the worms, helpful fungi and other tiny creature that feed on the soil and break it down for you.
Healthy soil has trace minerals, which can be added through rock powders and gives a slow steady supply of nitrogen. When the soil is improved, then you can back off the chemicals. If the soil is not compacted, the worms will even do the work of turning it in for you. I encourage you to create permanent beds that are never walked on. This concentrates the good amendments in one area. Keeping it uncompacted will pay off in the ease of turning, and the health of the root systems of plants. You don't even need to have solid sides to the bed. Just mound the soil to a width that you can reach across, and treat it as sacred ground. You need to replenish the nutrients that the plants have used every season. At least an inch of compost a year is a good rule of thumb.
Have you started a compost pile yet? It is not difficult, especially if you are not in a hurry. The basic formula is to layer equal parts brown matter (straw, dried leaves) and green matter (grass clippings, plant matter, kitchen scraps, manure). Keep wet, but not too wet. The more you turn it, the faster it will work, but it will work eventually. Rot happens!
But what about the weeds and the bugs? Hand to hand combat, I say! You can get the upper hand on weeds by hoeing or pulling them young, and then adding mulch to smother them. For bugs, start early, before populations multiply, with the least invasive method first. Pick off and squish beetles, cabbage loopers; rinse off aphids with a strong blast of water. If you really need something for a situation that has gotten out of hand, try an insecticidal soap, or if you are desperate, Neem. Floating row covers are a great thing too. They are light weight blankets that create a protective barrier so the buggers can't get to your plants . Seal the edges well with dirt so they can't get in.
The next step would be to encourage beneficial insect populations. Yes Virginia, there are good bugs! Get to know them! Here is a good site that will ID them for you: http://vegipm.tamu.edu/imageindex.html . You can buy some of these good bug populations from organic nurseries. Look for lacewings, trichogramma wasps, beneficial nematodes, ladybugs and other biological controls. Encourage a diverse environment where they will live, reproduce and prosper to do the work of bug control for you. Think of your garden as a complete ecosystem that includes life and decay in the soil, the needs of the plants, and insect life cycle as well. Work in harmony with nature to duplicate and replenish the essential elements at the base of the food chain.
Gardening by the Moon is a perfect companion technique to an organic garden. It is more effective on organically treated soil. You will be improving your garden in many ways by working with the forces of nature. Perhaps your resolutions were less ambitious and you just want to have the earliest tomato on the block! The Gardening by the Moon calendar can help with that, by telling you when to start your seedlings inside under lights. Then they are ready to pop in as soon as the weather warms up.
As for our own goals for the next year, we are working to expand our business into more retail nurseries. We would greatly appreciate any leads in your area. Please e-mail us the name, address and phone of local nurseries, especially those with an organic focus. Natural food stores and metaphysical book stores have also had success selling our calendar. Thanks for your help!
Have a great garden this year!
Dear gardening friends,
First of all, I want to say thank you to all of you who signed up for my newsletter, and have waited so patiently. I'm sorry that it took me so long, but I have not exactly been feeling like the gardening expert lately, because my own garden is looking pretty scruffy right now. I can blame that partially on the fact that our well ran dry, but it also has to do with how little time I have to get out there. How ironic that the business of creating the Gardening by the Moon calendar has taken me away from the very activity that inspired it! The good news is that the 2003 calendar is ready to go!
When I look at my garden, I see a wild jumble of plants, partially by default, and partially by design. I often allow plants to go to seed, and then I pull the whole plant and walk around the garden shaking the seeds around. Sometimes the seeds lay dormant until the next season, and then I get vigorous volunteers, which often turn out better than the ones I plant. Working with heirloom or non-hybrid varieties will ensure that the same type of plant comes back next year. You may need to thin the plants to space them, or none will grow to their full potential. Herbs, lettuce, chard, and flowers like borage (which attract bees), sunflower, cosmos and marigold, all work well with this technique. Another benefit of this method is attracting birds for the seeds, and beneficial insects to come lay eggs and feed upon the bad bugs. The umbrella shaped seed heads (dill, parsley, carrots, and fennel) make a welcome food source for larval stages. If your friends question your gardening skill or sanity, tell them you are creating a wildlife habitat! It makes for a full and abundant garden, with mixed beds and diverse plants cohabitating joyfully.
Having my well run dry made me think a lot about the best way to deliver water. It is obvious to say water is important to the healthy growth of plants. Because of our busy lives, sometimes we rush through watering the garden . You splash the hose around until the soil looks dark, and move on. But have you ever gone back and dug down to see how far that water is really penetrating? You might be surprised to find it is less than half an inch. A great time and water saver is to install drip irrigation, which delivers a slow steady supply right to the plants roots, allowing it to penetrate deeper. An added bonus is that it doesn't waste water, or encourage weeds in the paths, and prevents fungus disease. A drip irrigation system can be put on a timer, and then you need to give it very little thought. Remember to check the system for leaks. The hoses or T-tape needs to be updated occasionally, because they will break down over time.
Which brings us to the last time-saving tip for a busy gardener. Forget tilling the soil!! What a concept! If you frequently add a 1/2" layer of mulch, compost or other organic matter, and let the worms turn it in, you will have created the next best thing to Mother Nature. Define your growing beds so you don't walk in them and compress the soil, and let nature take Her course. When you are ready to plant this fall, dig a hole just big enough for the root ball. If you have a bed that will be empty over winter, add a good layer of organic matter or shredded leaves now to let it break down. Then the soil is all ready to go in the spring.
My lack of time for gardening made me think of another good selling point for the calendar. If I am overwhelmed by how much there is to do, with so little time, I refer to the calendar and let the moon decide what I should focus on today!
I'd appreciate it if you would take a moment to fill out my survey at www.gardeningbythemoon.com/survey.html. This will help me get to know you better, and help me improve my product. As thanks, you will receive $1 off the 2003 calendar. In spite of our hectic lives, take the time to go into the garden and get your hands dirty and create beauty. It will revitalize you, and feed your body and soul. Happy gardening!
Dear Gardening by the Moon friends,
A hint of spring is in the air, at least here on the west coast, and coming soon to a daffodil near you! The best moon planting days coming up are March 12-13, 17-18, and the 22nd. By the way, I wanted to invite you all to come back and take another look at www.gardeningbythemoon.com. It has recently been expanded to include more facts about how lunar planting works, frequently asked questions, and gardening tips. I hope you enjoy the information!
Have you bought your seeds yet? One of the great advantages to starting from seed is the wide choice of varieties that you can find. You can also start them inside under lights so they will be ready to transplant when the weather warms up. The Gardening by the Moon Calendar will tell you when you can start your seeds inside. Make sure your pots are clean, or molds and little bugs come out and mow down your babies. Plant the seeds in good, fine soil--don't skimp here--and set the trays on the top of your refrigerator, gas stove, or on a dryer while it is running to help warm up the soil. A greenhouse cover on the trays helps create a great little microclimate, but take it off for circulation when they come up, or you could invite damping off disease. Although you can purchase elaborate lighting systems, a simple shop light with two florescent grow lights will do. Keep the light about two inches from the top of the plants. Move it up as they grow, keeping it close.
Thinning the seedlings is always hard to do, but is crucial to creating strong plants. Start as soon as the second leaves emerge. The first to go are the ones with malformed leaves, and the smaller, less vigorous ones. The hard choice is when two apparently strong seedlings are right next to each other. Then you just have to pick one or the other, or neither will reach full potential. You can spread this job out over several days, giving the plants time to declare their intentions and settle their roots. Remember if you are planting a mixed selection, such as "Bright Lights" chard, that they will start out looking different, and some variations will emerge later than others. Be careful not to thin out all the pale ones or you won't have any yellow or pink chard.
Keep your seedlings watered regularly, but don't let them sit in water. A good tool for this is a large water bottle with a sports top. You can squeeze the water out gently. Feed the seedlings with weak fish emulsion every two weeks. Starting seeds under lights is especially important if you have a short growing season. If you have a long growing season, you can plant cool season crops now, and have the summer crops waiting to go in as soon as the brassicas are finished, thereby doubling your harvest.
This is the first of a seasonal newsletter that I will be sending out. If you wish to be deleted from my list, please reply with "remove" in the subject line. Feedback on the web site and calendar are appreciated. I am always looking for ways to improve. I would also love to hear your experiences with gardening by the moon. And if you know of a friend that would be interested in the site, please pass the word along. Wishing you a beautiful spring and a bountiful harvest!