Planting by the Moon

Posted by N. Astrid Hoffman on

Gardening by the Moon

Planning your garden practices based on the phase of the moon is an ancient practice seen throughout the world.  For a millennia farmers and gardeners have taken note that the moon's phases can affect plant growth and development.  This has developed in a method that  involves planting, pruning, and harvesting crops based on the lunar calendar.

The moon's different phases of waxing and waning, are believed to influence the moisture content in the soil and the sap flow in plants. By aligning gardening tasks with the moon's phases, farmers and gardeners can maximize plant growth and yield.

Planting during the waxing moon (from new moon to full moon) promotes above-ground growth, while planting during the waning moon (from full moon to new moon) encourages root development.

Pruning and harvesting are also timed based on the moon's phases to optimize plant health and yield.

This practice aligns gardeners and farmers to the celestial movements of the moon while leading to healthier plants, increased yields, and better pest resistance. This relationship opens a harmony with nature while maximizing the potential of their crops.

Understanding planting by the moon, lunar gardening or lunar planting provides a template for gardening tasks divided into various phases:

  • New Moon: This phase is associated with root development, making it an ideal time for planting root crops like beets, radishes, carrots, fennel and onions. It's also a good time for transplanting seedlings and pruning to encourage strong root growth.
  • New Moon - First Quarter Moon : Best time to plant cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, corn, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsley, onions and spinach. 
  • Waxing Moon: As the moon waxes from new to full, its gravitational pull is thought to increase, promoting upward growth. This phase is best suited for planting above-ground crops like leafy greens, annual flowers, and fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers.
  • First Quarter Moon - Full Moon : Best time to plant beans, eggplant, peas, pepper, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes and watermelon.  
  • Full Moon: The full moon is believed to stimulate the growth and vitality of plants, making it an excellent time for harvesting crops at their peak flavor and nutritional content. It's also a time for maintenance tasks like weeding and fertilizing, as plants are more resilient and responsive during this phase.
  • Waning Moon : As the moon wanes from full to new, its gravitational pull decreases, making this phase ideal for tasks that involve pruning, harvesting, and slowing growth. It's a good time for planting biennial and perennial crops, as well as for saving seeds for future planting.

    Research has shown that lunar cycles can influence factors like moisture levels in the soil and the activity of soil-dwelling organisms, which in turn can affect plant growth. Additionally, the gravitational pull of the moon does have a measurable effect on Earth's tides.  Keep in mind to avoid planting on the full moon or on the day it changes quarters.

    Consult a lunar planting calendar, based on your region.  These are ideal to guides for your daily gardening tasks.  

    Keep track of your planting activities in your garden journal and observe how different crops respond to planting by the moon. Over time, you may notice patterns and correlations that can help refine your approach and adapt your practices based on your observations and experiences.

     This practice can bring mindfulness and intentionality to your gardening journey while providing a new way of approaching your garden!

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