Summary of the 7 year research by Hartmut Spiess at Dottenfelderhof in Germany
Hartmut Spiess has been working on plant rhythms (chronobiology) for many years and has many publications, most of which are in German. His major work, which developed out of his attempt to verify Maria Thun's results, is entitled: "Chronobiologische Untersuchungen mit besonderer Beruecksichtigung lunare Rhythmen im biologisch-dynamischen Pflanzenbau" and consists of two volumes, 258 and 319 pages respectively (volumes 3 & 4 in the series published by the Institut fuer Biologisch-Dynamische Forschung). You can get these by writing directly to the Institute (Brandscheise 5, 64295 Darmstadt Germany).
In multi annual sowing time experiments the influence of cosmic/terrestrial effects, especially of lunar rhythms on growth of cultivated plants under long term biodynamic management was examined.
Rye, radish, carrots, potatoes, beans and mustard were examined. Field, garden and pot experiments were conducted.
Examinations and analyses comprised time-related data of weather, soil, plant development and formation of yields and qualities. Detailed data on weather and soil and the individual results of the trials are published as an annex in a separate volume (same series, volume 4).
In all the sowing time experiments an annual trend was observed for yield- and quality-formation. This was related to primary growth factors such as temperature, moisture, light, day length and growth period. The trend is expressed by means of a polynome regression. To facilitate a comparison between years, results were corrected for trends.
The following lunar effects on crops were observed:
1. Rye showed most pronounced lunar rhythms for germination in the field. In two variants in the trial the standard cultivation was clearly related to the synodic moon rhythm (i.e. the phases full and new moon) and when seeds from sowings at certain constellations were regrown for 5 generations, to the anomalistic moon rhythm (i.e. perigee and apogee).
Yields were related to synodic and anomalistic rhythms in the 5-year average, although only partly significant.
Seed vitality was best when the mother plants were sown around full moon and lowest around new moon.
2. Radish yields in the 3-year-experiments depended on the tropic moon rhythm (i.e. ascending and descending moon) and on the anomalistic moon positions apogee and perigee.
Shelf life and seed vitality correlated with the syzygic-lunar rhythm of full and new moon.
3. Carrots always showed higher yields when sown in the synodic-sideric moon-zodiac-constellation of Virgo prior to full moon. Shelf life of grated carrots in a moulding test then was improved.
Valuable ingredients were not related to lunar rhythms, but to the date of sowing.
4. Potatoes showed marked differences related to lunar rhythms, but when corrected for year, they were not statistically significant.
Planting before full moon resulted in suppressed yields, highest yields were achieved when planted close to moon's perigee.
5. Beans showed significant differences for both pod yields at first harvest and leaves. The number of pods at first harvest ranged synodic rhythm > tropic rhythm > anomalistic rhythm. This holds also true for the highest positive deviation in pod yields for sowing time at moon's perigee.
Leaf yields were significantly reduced in relation to the tropic moon rhythm with sowing time and low moon in the zodiac of Sagittarius and increased yields at high moon in the zodiac of Gemini.
The main lunar rhythms resulted in the following effects:
a) An influence of the anomalistic rhythm (perigee, apogee) existed for all cultivated crops. Plants sown at moon's perigee all showed positive reactions.
b) An influence of the synodic rhythm (moon phases) existed for all cultivated crops, with marked differences between the moon's increasing and decreasing phases. An example for this are the experiments with carrots and potatoes. Carrot yields were highest when sown before full moon, whereas potato yields were lowest at this constellation.
c) The tropic moon rhythm (ascending and descending moon) showed effects with only some crops. Beans reacted most pronounced; they were followed by radish and carrots.
d) There were evident differences for yields and qualities of all crops in relation to the sideric rhythm (i.e. the 12 moon positions in the zodiac). These could however be explained with the other moon rhythms mentioned above.
The influence of sideric trigon positions on plant growth often mentioned in biodynamic literature was not evident.
e) Some observations imply an impact of draconic moon rhythm (moon nodes, eclipse of the moon and the sun).
f) When looking at experimental results of individual moon rhythms, the interference of the various rhythms must be taken into consideration.
g) The hypothesis is stated that after further increase in knowledge it will be possible to characterise plants according to their lunar reaction type.
h) A theoretical discussion of how lunar rhythms are effective in plants is given.