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I’m going to be gardening by the moon this year. I have my trusty handbook by my side – ‘Mieux Jardiner avec la Lune’ – and I’m ready to get started. But will it really make any difference?

Gardening by the phases of the moon stretches back thousands of years. Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) wrote about it. Benjamin Franklin did it. Now it’s my turn to do both. The idea behind it is that when the moon is waxing, the water table rises so plants absorb nutrients more quickly. This is especially helpful to young plants. As the moon wanes, the water table drops so this is a better time for weeding and harvesting. You should prune then too as the cut shoots lose less moisture.

There’s a bit more to it than that – a few complications like the apogee (when the moon is its furthest away from earth), the perigee (when it’s at its closest) and the lunar nodes. These I’m still slightly confused by, but I believe they’re when the moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic i.e. the sun’s orbit. There are two each month, and they usually mean you can take some time off gardening. That’s the great thing about the lunar gardening system – there are certain times when it would be a complete waste of effort to do any gardening, so you put your feet up guilt-free.

It will be interesting to see if we get better harvests this year. Pumpkins, potatoes and courgettes are the only veg that really seem to thrive in our garden, but mainly because we surrounded them with plenty of llama manure. The soil is surprisingly poor, but only we think because of being over-farmed by our predecessor. We’ll give it plenty of TLC this year – i.e. Tons of Llama C**p – which should it do it no end of good.

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And a date for your diaries while on the theme of gardening. This year Naked Gardening Day is on Saturday 8th May. I’m very tempted but there will be both teenage children and gite clients around on that day so it might cause too much shock, upset and/or hilarity. Shame!