“All things have their season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to reap”. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)
Just as any living thing, plants, animals, the soil, water, the air, all these are influenced by cosmic forces: the sun, the moon, the stars, and the planets. Our farm takes these subtle influences into great consideration. Aside from experience, conventional wisdom and science, we look to the heavens to determine the optimum days for sowing, pruning, transplanting and harvesting our vegetables. Ancient wisdom tells us that towards a full moon, when the moon is waxing, we sow our seeds. Before the New Moon, when the moon is waning, we do our transplanting of root crops. Why? During a full moon, and I am sure most of you know this already, there is a substantial increase in the water. We take advantage of this increase in water in the air, by sowing our seeds a few days before the new moon. In a new moon, the water movement is downwards, towards the earth. That is why we transplant, so our roots when transplanted, are able to hold on to the soil. There are other ancient practices that we follow such as avoiding fertilization when the moon crosses the sun’s path, or taking advantage of days when the moon is in certain places in the zodiac. Leaf growth is greater when the Moon is in the water signs (Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces.) Root growth is best in Earth signs and so it is best to sow when the Moon is among Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Firer signs promote the growth of fruits and seeds (Aries, Leo or Sagittarius.) It’s both very simple and complicated. It’s both scientific and spiritual. For example, when controlling pests, we also look to the moon. Fungus thrives when there is too much water or warmth in the air. These are the times when there is a full moon. And so, we prepare the soil, pull weeds, and fight pests during the new moon. Not all pests are harmful though and so we control which ones are left, as beneficial pests (but that’s another story.)
Farmers throughout history, from the ancients, to our Sagada farmers, to our regular farmers in our rural areas, practice their own methods, a substantial portion of this, folk and ancient wisdom. They dance and sing, offer to the Gods, listen to the winds, look up to the sky, and read the stars. Our soil is healthy living soil. Our vegetables carry with them subtle life forces. They look to the sun for food, to the water and soil for nourishment; they thrive because nature makes it so. What could be better then than working with the very cosmic forces that make them grow?