Sun, moon, stars and seasons

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Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Alchemist75 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:10 am

It's mid autumn here in New Mexico and while our daytime temps are still reasonably warm the night time temps are starting to drop into the low 40's or upper 30's.
The thing I've noticed is that as outside temps start to drop my ferments get a bit slower even though inside the house our room temp is pretty stable, summer is about 75 degrees Fahrenheit and fall-winter gets closer to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Is that 2.5-3 degree difference enough to slow things visibly or is there something more going on? I've read half cocked articles that theorize about the affect of the lunar and solar phases on fermentation but there's of course no reliable science to support it. Even farmers almanac talks about the affect of celestial bodies on fermentation but god only knows.
Anyone have any ideas, experience or good answers? Is it simply that a couple degrees cooler than 75 is sufficient to slow things down or is it a more broad phenomena?
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby greggn » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:36 am

Where are your fermenters located ? If they're sitting on the floor, and especially if you have a tiled floor, you may measure a significant temperature gradient between the floor and a wall mounted thermostat.
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby seamusm53 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:37 am

Its the temps - but you are holding your tongue the right way when you pitch the yeast, right?
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Alchemist75 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:17 pm

Yep, turnin 3 times and spitting on a rock too :ebiggrin:
They're on the floor alright, carpeted floor. I wrap them in blankets but it only retains the heat for the first 24 hours or so. Guess I could warm em up with a heating blanket for 15 minutes a day though I'm fine with slow too, just as long as it doesn't go from 8 days to 2 weeks.....not that I've seen that with mine to date.
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Alchemist75 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:22 pm

Actually I just found a small space heater I can run on em a hour or so each day. I noticed after I turned it on that the airlocks started kicking a little harder. Hopefully this will do it.
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Single Malt Yinzer » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:53 pm

I've always found that the astrological sign of when the material (grain, sugar, potato) was planted affects the fermentation. Water signs are the best, earth signs are super slow.





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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Alchemist75 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:21 pm

Now, there is this whole thing about harvesting herbs according to lunar cycle that I actually have done in the past, roots by new moon and above ground parts by full moon. Not clear that I noticed any difference but something about it was at aesthetically satisfying in a subconscious heathen way. Obviously season does matter quite a bit when harvesting plants but casting an astrological chart for each plant seems rather over the top...to put it lightly.
I won't deny that about the time of the fall equinox something changes in me, it's not S.A.D. as the sunlight and temp in New Mexico is still strong this time of year but I feel, oh, closer to the earth. I guess that's the only way I can best phrase it shy of saying that in some past years I felt like I might sprout hair and fangs at any minute. Usually resolves within 2 weeks or so. Odd. It's usually right around this same time that my ferments start to change too. Something beyond a simple temp shift occurs but maybe it's just me. In any case, my fermenters respond to that space heater visibly and the cat snuggling up to them doesn't hurt either. He knows what's up and is trying to help :mrgreen:
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Kareltje » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:11 am

I do not know if you have it in the USoA, but here we have every year a sowing and planting calendar of Maria Thun. Based on anthroposophical principles. I do not know exactly how it works, but it divides the harvested parts in root, stem, leaf and flower. And it is best to work the plants in the right times.
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Alchemist75 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:03 pm

So I just took the temperature of one of my ferments, it's 11 days old and the reading was 27 Celsius or 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a pretty good temp for a ferment. Bear in mind that this is a ferment that goes to dryness in 8 days typically, before the fall equinox at any rate. Given that my ambient indoor temps are between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit year round I question the temperature idea a little. This is curious indeed. Again, the change happens right around the equinox so maybe there are more confounding factors than temp. I have read that atmospheric pressure can affect things too but to what extent I'm not clear. This is a stumper and has been for several years now....
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Kareltje » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:49 pm

But when at the fall equinox your ferments slow down, at some other point in the year the must speed up. Did you observe that too?
Someone said that zodiacal signs of water are better for fermenting than earth, but there are four elements (fire, earth, air, water), so there are three water signs in a year. Lion is fire, virgo (21/8-21/9) is earth, libra is air (21/9-21/10), scorpion (21/10-21/11) is water.
So the fall equinox is a transit from an earth sign to an air sign. Not in accordance with your observation!
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Alchemist75 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:04 pm

Late spring is when things start to pick up again and the solstice is a bumper time to ferment, they go very fast. I question if it's an element thing and not a solar position thing. Granted, the space heater gives a temporary bump of activity but that's putting out a heat in excess of 35 degrees Celsius but once things cool to room temp again things resume being what they are.
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Kareltje » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:12 pm

Alchemist75 wrote:Late spring is when things start to pick up again and the solstice is a bumper time to ferment, they go very fast. I question if it's an element thing and not a solar position thing. Granted, the space heater gives a temporary bump of activity but that's putting out a heat in excess of 35 degrees Celsius but once things cool to room temp again things resume being what they are.


I wonder: is it the other way around on the southside of this planet? No one seems to share your observations, but maybe in Australia or New Zealand some one has seen it too. There the solstices work opposite to the ones on our side.
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Alchemist75 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:17 pm

As I said before, I myself experience a transition right around the time of the fall equinox, some years it's been profound and sits with me for a couple weeks. I'd definitely call a down swing, time to hibernate even if it's a warm year and 80 degrees out.
We are closer to the equator here and New Mexico is dominated by the sun in a big way. My buddies ferments get sluggish about this time to and his yields tend to drop.
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby NZChris » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:22 pm

I control the temperatures in my fermenters and have never noticed any seasonal differences, not that I have bothered to look for any.
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Kareltje » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:28 pm

Maybe you have more sun than I have, I live a bit less than 52 dgr N. But the difference in daylength between winter and summer is smaller when you live closer to the equator. A friend now lives on Bali and his days have about the same length during the year. One would expect that the equinox is of less importance close to the equator, as all your nights are rather equal anyway. :) More equinox than our nights anyway.
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Re: Sun, moon, stars and seasons

Postby Alchemist75 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:54 pm

Subjectively the equinox is less noticeable here than further north, the weather conditions are sometimes fairly mild and even balmy, as I like to say: this is the sweet end of the year. Right now the sun is down but the temps have climbed back up a bit and it's in the low 70's as I type. I'm sensitive apparently, I can feel the fall equinox come and go though I perceive no other changes like it at any other time of year. Something shifts but I couldn't exactly tell you what, I just feel the change throughout my body. My ferments perhaps take after their creator :lol:
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