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23 Dec 2009

Prune by the Moon:a lunatic’s take on it!

Posted by Lisette Stevens

Prune by the Moon: A Lunatic’s Take on it

We all know what it’s like when someone unexpected comes to your patch, be it town or country, day or night, Monday or Sunday – you pacify the dogs, hug your visitor(s) or, give them your condolences, if they are tax inspectors and suchlike, then sit them down. One’s version of a welcome varies of course from folk to folk- so after offering whatever lubrication he or she drowns in, they do a 360 degree sweep of the property and proceed to tell you what needs doing…..grrrrrrr – Still with me?

So it happened recently when a good friend – or so – proffered, amongst other things, that one of our avocado (pear) trees needed a good seeing to; as in pruning. I must admit the tree in question was a little rag-tag & bobtail but this was the seventh time this year she’d nit-picked on the verdant forest view at our rustic hideaway and the time for action was looming.

I contacted a knowledgeable man of the Dominican hinterland, still enjoying his 75th year on the planet that let me know this in no uncertain terms: ‘Laurie, November 25th is looming and according to the Moon’s dictation – plus being 30 days from Christmas – this is the ideal time for you to replant or prune.’

I was always aware that all aspects of farming were affected by the gravitational forces between the Sun, the Moon and Earth, but honestly I had put zilch effort into finding out more.

My regular help was called up:

‘Samson! Me an’ you are goin’ to climb the front pear tree and trim de branches a lickle, stop the tree collapsing with the weight of fruit, make it healthy and you have a job for life’ He say ‘Mr Laurie, I no like heights and it be slippy’

I said ‘Samson, you told me, did you not that in your previous life you thought you were a parrot! Right? How can a born again Sisserou or Jaco suffer from no grip and vertigo?’ … (Gulp!)…No matter……..

Down the road an engaging chap from the Carib territory gave us all a lesson in how the haircut should be accomplished. He scaled the withered branches like a gymnast and talked me through methodically what he was going to do with his trusty machete and a carpenter’s saw.

On completion of an excellent job, I pondered a while then decided to probe a little further into the Moon’s extraordinary manipulation of perennials & kindred crops on Earth.

There are reams of information out there, so in the interest of brevity I’ll cut to the chase:

The Moon basically passes through four phases – New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon and Last Quarter. The number of days between each change of phase can vary between 6.75 and 8. The twelve hours before and after the exact change of each phase is not a good time for sowing, planting or pruning. During the New Moon and First Quarter the Moon is waxing or accumulating light. Sap flow increases – good for sowing and transplanting. Through the phases of Full Moon and Last Quarter – aka the Waning Moon – the sap flow gradually decreases and is considered the best time for sowing and planting – I’m still a little muddled, but you can check out numerous web sites and get muddled, worser or worserer.

After all this I still had avocados on my mind, or rather the lack of them next year due to the pruning. Ambling in thought towards the public market in Roseau I saw three smartly dressed ladies in a Bank uniform coming towards me, probably enjoying their lunch break – one was carrying this huge avocado. Wow! I said ‘What a lovely pear you have.’ Her friends looked at each other, then looked at me and burst into laughter; in a second the girls scooted onward. I shouted after them ‘What’s funny? What did I do?’

Wax lyrically I say and wane not!

Prune moon2

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One Response to “Prune by the Moon:a lunatic’s take on it!”

  1. Lisette,
    Many long years ago,I think 1970,I was doing some machinery construction on the beach at Dominica Mining near Roseau.Having just loaded 6 boxes of fruits & vegetables on board the tugboat towing a barge load of sand to St.Croix,I got a phone call saying–send barge to St.Tomas.-Unloaded the fruits & vegetables.Well the fruits and most of the vegies could wait until the next trip,2 weeks later-but not the larger than soft ball sized AVOCADO Pears! Took them home-cutem in half and stuffed them with–Lobster salad,Chicken salad or Shrimp salad.Now thats good eating. Regards, Eddie Teach

     

    eddie teach

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