Need a last-minute gift for the gardener or sportsman on your shopping list? The 2012 “Gardening with the Moon” calendar by Venman’s Plant Service is available just in time for Christmas. Working in sync with phases of the moon, the 2012 calendar lists the best days for myriad tasks, including weeding, planting, pruning and harvesting. It even lists best days for hunting and fishing, entertaining and changing habits, like smoking cessation. “The ancient tradition of planting and harvesting by phases of the moon is not a forgotten art—just one that needs to be refined for practical use in today’s automated society,” said John Venman, who has been offering the calendar since 2008. “Previous generations calculated the moon’s effect on all aspects of gardening—soil preparation, weeding, planting, fertilizing transplanting, pruning and harvesting. It is still relevant today.” Venman’s Landscape Service and Soil-Alive Fertilizers, started in 1951, offers a full line of earth-friendly, organic products for gardeners. The moon calendar is an extension of what Venman says is practical, time-honored strategies for a healthy landscape. Daily recommendations allow users to work in harmony with the moon when it is waxing, full, waning and new. The 2012 calendar includes beautiful photos of Michigan’s scenery. Each calendar costs $15, which includes shipping. Send checks to Venman’s Plant Service, 510 Wolverine St. NE, Rockford, MI 49341. Calendars can also be purchased at the store. For information, call (616) 866-0323.
Venman’s Soil Alive
by BETH ALTENA Gardeners looking for ways to grow better vegetables and flowers with less work can turn to the night skies for help—or a locally produced publication. On the Internet, there are 11 million, 800 thousand references to gardening with the moon, and local landscape expert John Venman of Venman’s Landscape and Soil Alive, 510 Wolverine (in Rockford’s industrial area) has produced a calendar to guide the common gardener through the process. Venman said he has long been a believer in natural gardening and landscaping solutions rather than chemical ones and gradually became more interested in references to gardening by the moon. He had a customer who was puzzled by a phenomenon he noted. He had rototilled his garden and gone on vacation for 10 days. Upon return, the weeds were everywhere. When he rototilled again and left for a similar amount of time, he noted the weeds were significantly less. Venman said he asked the guy about when the two occasions had happened and looked up the phases of the moon for those times. Sure enough, in the first case the man had done the work in a phase of the moon unfavorable to killing weeds and the second time he’d done it in a favorable phase. Venman began paying attention and found more examples of moon phases affecting growth cycles. Venman has a traditional background in landscape education with a bachelor’s degree in landscape design from Michigan State University. He said he developed an interest in non-chemical alternatives to landscaping when he began to suspect that chemicals are in some ways having an adverse affect on the planet and the people and animals living here. He enjoys the part of his business that helps people improve their own gardening skills, and believes the current trend toward home or locally grown food—notice the popularity of farm markets—may prove his green practices are part of a philosophy which is again waxing. Venman said a moon growing more full (waxing) is a time when energy is getting stronger. It is a time of growth, a time to plant, fertilize and cultivate soil. You can see a moon is waxing by remembering it will be “black on left and light on right.” A waning moon is […]