Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the January 3, 2016 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO

A visitor passing through gave me some Cosmos seeds, which I planted, and now the seedlings are doing nicely. My friend says she'll deal with hers during the next full Moon.

It's an old question as to whether gardening by the Moon's phases makes any sense.

On the Internet any number of websites assure us that it does, and precise instructions are given on what to do, and when. Some studies indicate that there might be Moon-phase/garden connections, but those studies have been too small and uncontrolled to be embraced by the scientific community. In general it can be said that there's no convincing scientific proof that gardening according to the Moon's phases is more productive than not. The situation is summed up nicely at the Gardeningknowhow.com Website.

It's easy to see why belief in the power of the Moon's phases to influence gardens persists, even without proof that it does. For one thing, some of the most spectacular gardens are produced by gardeners who believe in it. But, anyone involved enough in his or her garden to plant according to the Moon's phases probably also will tend to water and weed the plants regularly, watch for bug outbreaks, keep the soil in shape, etc.

Also, it's just fun to believe in such things as that the Moon's phases exercise mysterious powers in some aspect of our lives. I've written about the influence of the Moon on me, and a Papaya tree, at http://www.backyardnature.net/n/p/081124.htm.

Still, my own gardening experience suggests that if Moon phases affect gardens at all, the effects are negligible compared to the influences of regular watering, weeding, watching for bugs and diseases, and assuring that the soil is rich and in good condition.

Moreover, with regard to those Cosmos seedlings my friend gave me, the thing that strikes me is that the seedlings came up so quickly, and are growing so robustly, whatever the Moon said. It's as if they really want to grow -- can hardly endure being small and sterile. I visit them several times each day, somehow participating in their joy of self-actualization.

For, I think that even plants, fungi, bacteria and every living thing, and maybe even things like storms, crystals, institutions and ideas have from their inceptions a certain self-contained spirit, and a need to grow, and to influence the world around them. Even the whole Universe seems to be growing with unimaginable vigor, and evolving with a kind of single-mindedness toward sentient beings who think and feel, even reflect on the Creative Impulse behind it all, behind US all.

Moreover, not only does it seem to me that there's majestic vigor and intention in this Creative Urge, but also what's created is created more beautiful than it needs to be, if its only goal is to be adapted to its environment. Who can look at a Flamingo or a snowflake without wondering what's really going on with such aesthetic perfection?

Anyway, with such thoughts rattling through my mind these days, the question of whether the Moon's phases might affect my plantings just doesn't come up. I have seeds, the weather is good, there's moist, crumbly soil provided by a pocket gopher who leaves it in hills next to the hut each morning, and I know that those seeds WANT to be planted, to grow and produce more seeds... and the sooner the better, no matter what the Moon says.