|I love this photo, from Floris Books' tribute to Maria Thun|
My fruits, flowers, leaves and roots will miss Maria Thun, "The Grandmother of Biodynamics", and so will I. The legacy of this eminent researcher (and the impact of her work on me) is so great it's difficult to describe.
For many years I have dabbled in planting by the moon signs, sometimes with success, and sometimes not. Then I discovered Maria Thun, who died in February of this year, just 2 months shy of her 90th birthday. My sowing success has increased greatly since following her calendars, although I still have lots to learn. I will have to keep following her planting calendars "by the book" (unless I can learn enough to to see the different constellations and the moon's passage through them, which is unlikely). Fortunately, Maria's son Matthias and daughter Christina have been working with her for many years and will continue the calendars.
Maria was born on a farm in Germany, and noticed her father would observe the sky every morning and evening before determining when it was time to plant. After she married in the 1940's, she began following the Ruini calendar which referred to star constellations in a broad manner, hoping it would give her the ability her father had to judge the right time for sowing. She started by experimenting with radishes and discovered variations between crops sown on different days, in spite of the seeds and soil conditions being equal.
Maria's husband introduced her to some biodynamic farmers, and she began taking courses at the Institute for Biodynamic Research. The principles of biodynamic agriculture were first proposed by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1924. He spoke of life forces not detectable by our physical senses, yet linking together the universe and all living things. He believed that the energy of plants can be affected not only by human actions and the weather, but also by the energy of the moon, stars and planets. Decisions about when to sow and prune, he suggested, should be made according to patterns of lunar and cosmic rhythms.
The news of the results of her trials spread quickly through the biodynamic movement, and The Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar has been published annually for the last 50 years. As the extent of the trials expanded, so did the calendar and early on it was translated into French and Finnish, and today it is available in 27 languages.
The results of planting and harvesting different plants at particular times have been well-documented over the years. Biodynamic techniques in agriculture can have a significant effect on the quality of the crops and how well they last. Maria Thun's book, Results from the Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar, shows that if farmers and gardeners link their work into these cosmic rhythms, the quality of their produce is markedly increased, and is based on over 40 years of research.
The information on the background and research work of Maria Thun came from:Amazon Books
Maria Thun also wrote Gardening for Life and When Wine Tastes Best