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Gardening book - Ken Thompson

I'm three quarters of the way through a book titled 'An Ear to the Ground' by botanist Ken Thompson. In addition to having an excellent knowledge of plants he writes with enthusiasm and a good deal of humour. This book was the first I'd heard of him, he takes a common sense approach to gardening while poking fun at botanists. I'll certainly keep a look out for any other publications of his  :)


  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190
    There used to be a very old gardener who was head of one of the stately homes in Cornwall, he would only plant by the moon, saying that the moon would draw the moisture up and he never needed to water the plants in.  Seemed to work for him but this chap says it’s rubbish.  
    Ive got the garden Myths book, that’s good, I’ve saved a lot of time by following some of things he says. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Fishy65Fishy65 Posts: 2,275
    Oh yes Lyn he does pour cold water on the gardening by the moon theory which might upset some  :o
  • Fishy65 said:
    Oh yes Lyn he does pour cold water on the gardening by the moon theory which might upset some  :o
    It amazes me what nonsense people believe...if it sounds silly, it usually is silly 😂
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,414
    we have lost most of our instincts and understanding of the natural world. The effects of  cycles of moon and seasons don't sound like nonsense to me

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Fishy65Fishy65 Posts: 2,275
    That's a fair point Nut, after all the moon's gravitational pull does influence what happens here on earth. Our tides?
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190
    That’s what that old gardener used to say, he grew all the veg and fruit for the big house all by the moon. As you say, the moon draws the water up. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • The moon does not draw the water up in the soil. Try putting some water in a jar and see how the water level varies with the tides! You will not see any rise in water level at all. Water levels in the oceans vary because currents bring water from elsewhere, but there are no currents in the soil.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,004
    Tides and sea levels along coastlines do rise and fall with the full moon and new moon.  Just try being on the wrong end of a flood tide on a full moon.   It affects fish too.   Many fishermen think high tide on a full moon is the best for fishing as that's when most returning salmon tackle their journey up their natal stream.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Fishy65Fishy65 Posts: 2,275
    This is interesting, an extract from 'The Weather Detective' by Peter Wohlleben.

    Phases of the moon.

    'There are over a hundred different books on the subject of the Moon and gardening, so I will go into a few other aspects. It's indisputable that the Moon influences life on Earth. The evidence most commonly cited is the tides. The Moon and the Earth both orbit around a common centre of gravity. The Moon exerts a pulling force on the sea, creating a small bulge, or wave peak, of about 30 centimetres. On the side of the Earth facing away from the Moon, a second wave peak is formed, but here it is created by centrifugal forces - the outward pull felt by a spinning object like a carousel. As the Earth spins throughout the course of the day, the wave bulge moves across the surface of the Earth, always on the side facing the Moon, and so does the corresponding bulge on the opposite side of the planet.' 

    'And so the water washes up higher on the beach or pulls away from the shore as this bulge passes by. The rise of the seabed towards the coast means that a minuscule wave bulge might be exacerbated by several metres, depending on the terrain, so that when the tide is in, for example the North Sea coast, a stretch of beach several kilometres deep can disappear beneath the salt water.'
    'Now, you might not think that your garden is affected by tides. Well, in fact, the Moon's gravitational pull tugs at not only the sea water but also the Earth's crust. Over the course of the day, your garden can bob anywhere between 60-80cm up and down without you noticing it. These movements are on such a huge scale and so consistent that they can only be discerned with complicated measuring devices.' To here.

    So maybe there is something to gardening by the Moon after all?  :)

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