Video: Solar Length of Day (LOD) Tutorial
By Ben Klocek 4 min read
Dennis teaches us about the most important plant rhythm, solar length of day, and how that can be used in planning your planting calendar.
The best website to calculate length of day is USNO Duration of Daylight/Darkness Table. The following sites can also calculate solar length of day, but are less convenient and easy to use.
- Make sure to check the “daylight” checkbox”.
- Choose your country, then enter your zip code or postal code. On the next page, make sure to check “Day length” when making the calendar. Use the February 2022 (next month) link at the bottom to see the next month’s data.
- Enter your location and look for “Day length” in the resulting data.)
SETTING A SOIL CLOCK
In nature, there are many intersecting rhythmic pulses. One of the most fundamental to all life is the daily solar rhythm of day and night. This diurnal motion is a metronome for countless organic processes. When closely observed and recorded with plant observation experiments the influence of the diurnal effect is quite evident. It has a steady cadence that moves plant growth at a daily pace.
But the steady daily solar rhythm also has a shifting melodic line known as the Length Of Day (LOD). This changes each day but repeats itself through a growing season as a spring equinox, summer solstice, and fall equinox. These changes in the light produce a succession of formal principles in plants.
It is interesting to compare formal motifs when the day and night are equal in spring to the same day/night balance in the fall. This solar study is known as phenology. It reveals how plants overcome stress in their growth cycles by adapting to cycles in a particular climate niche. Climate niches are controlled by LOD.
In traditional agriculture, the seasonal changes in plants were carefully noted from year to year. The phenomena of germination, growth, flowering, and seed set when seen in the context of LOD patterns reveal a deep secret of nature. The LOD is a superscript followed by most living beings with clockwork precision.
A picture that might be useful for understanding this idea is that of a flywheel with its timing mark. To time an engine it is necessary to adjust a timing mark on a rapidly turning flywheel to a specific pointer fixed on the engine. This is done by the means of using a timing light that fires off as one piston reaches a predetermined point in its firing cycle. The timing light only illuminates the flywheel when that specific point is reached and no other. When it fires in a stroboscopic way the timing mark which in reality is moving past the pointer on the engine at thousands of revolutions per minute is revealed to be stopped in space near the timing mark. The engine’s revolutions per minute can then be accurately adjusted to the timing of this mark and the whole system is brought into harmony. It would be impossible to do this work in any other way since the engine is in motion. The whole field of motion of the engine is reflected in the correct adjustment of a particular point in the firing cycle of one piston. By creating a way to reveal this brief event in a chaos of motions all other motions of the field can be understood. This is because all of the motions in the field are part of the same system of motions. They have a holographic or wholistic relationship with regards to their qualities of motion. By illuminating and sampling one place where a particular piston reaches a particular point in its motion cycle the whole field of motion is projected into one point and then can be cognized. Time, in this ancient sense, is woven out of events and appears to be linear when in actuality it is layered. Layered time has qualities that make it appear space-like. Things like Deja Vu point to this time and space overlapping. The Earth has many such overlapping events created in a rich fabric of time. What at first glance appears to be chaotic in the weather, upon deeper insight appears to be structured in time. Then just when the time signatures of events appear to be regular and predictable the time quality shifts and a new kind of time-space evolves into the next climatic regime. This is the allure of the mystery of weather and also the challenge. Put simply, how can we form a protocol for studying weather and climate which does not rely exclusively upon physical data but whose real focus is the quality of movement in the time-space in which the phenomena is unfolding?
With regards to time and space, climatic events and rhythms are not site-specific but extend for years over long periods of time. However, there are repeatable elements in climate and weather events that can be recognized. These two qualities of time need to be integrated into an algorithm by layering time sequences and looking for similarities. Since ancient times it has been recognized that a fundamental language of these layered time/space qualities exists in the form of music. In the ancient world, this was the music of the spheres.
Ben has been helping is dad, Dennis, publish his work online since 2000. Naturalist, designer, teacher, gardener.
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