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Prince Charles /Biodynamics

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  • Jan
    Sunday Times July 31, 2005 Charles farms by moon science Jonathan Leake, Environment Editor THE Prince of Wales¹s interest in organic gardening has turned an
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2005
      Sunday Times
      July 31, 2005

      Charles farms by moon science

      Jonathan Leake, Environment Editor
      THE Prince of Wales¹s interest in organic gardening has turned an even
      deeper shade of green with his decision to experiment with planting crops
      according to the phases of the moon.

      He has adopted some of the principles of biodynamics, a form of farming in
      which livestock are treated with homeopathic remedies rather than
      antibiotics, and astronomical calendars and signs of the zodiac play a role
      in determining when to sow and harvest crops.

      It is often derided by conventional farmers for being unscientific,
      producing low yields and being based on superstition. However, in recent
      years it has attracted keen interest because biodynamic produce also wins
      many prizes for quality.

      ³Biodynamics has a lot going for it,² said David Wilson, who manages the
      prince¹s Duchy Home Farm, which lies close to his Highgrove estate in
      Gloucestershire. ³We are beginning to use some of the principles to decide
      when we plant some vegetables. If the moon is waxing we plant some seed
      species and if the moon is waning, others.

      ³There is no doubt that if we plant certain seeds at the right phase of the
      moon they grow quicker and produce more vigorous plants.²

      For some the prince¹s latest move might evoke his revelation that he thought
      talking to plants helped them grow better.

      There could, however, be a more practical interest at work because the
      growing reputation of biodynamic produce means it can attract premium

      Duchy Originals, the company set up by Charles to supply and market organic
      produce, already generates profits of more than £1m a year for his
      charities. A biodynamic line could boost profits further.

      Biodynamic farming was founded early last century by Rudolf Steiner, an
      Austrian philosopher, scientist and social reformer. Steiner is best known
      for his schools, founded on the philosophy that the ³whole child² should be

      His approach to farming was similar, and he taught that the sowing of crops
      should be timed to fit in with the cycles of the moon, planets and signs of
      the zodiac. Steiner¹s Biodynamic Agricultural Association draws up a
      day-by-day timetable for planting. This is sent out annually to the 140
      biodynamic farmers registered in Britain.

      Under the Steiner system each crop type is linked to one of the four
      traditional elements: earth, water, wind and fire. Root crops such as
      carrots are seen as earth plants while fruits such as apples are linked with
      fire. Leaf crops, including lettuce, are associated with water.

      Each crop type must then be planted on a day when the moon is in a sign of
      the zodiac associated with that element. Fruit, for example, might be
      planted when the moon is associated with Leo, a fire sign.

      A spokesman for the prince said: ³Some of the principles of biodynamics are
      being used at Duchy Home Farm, especially in growing vegetables. It is
      already an organic farm.

      ³The prince is committed to a virtuous circle of providing natural
      high-quality organic and pure products which help to protect and sustain the
      countryside and wildlife.²

      Charles¹s farm managers have been in regular contact with biodynamic
      practitioners including Denise and Ian Bell, who farm in Dorset. Denise said
      she was delighted at the move, adding: ³We have been pushing for this for
      two years.²
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