The moon influences much in nature, and the garden is no exception. Working with the phases of the moon for planting and harvesting helps boost yields and the overall health of your plants without resorting to chemical means.
Gardening by the moon is not a new concept in human history, but it may be new to the modern gardener.
The moon is responsible for creating the tides in our oceans, thereby the moon alone dictates the movement of large masses of water.
Of course, this means it also regulates the fluids in our bodies, including a woman’s menstrual flow. This is something we tend to overlook in our modern culture.
As far as gardening by lunar phases goes, lunar gardening recognizes and takes advantage of the moon’s influence over the soil, particularly the soil’s moisture content. That influence changes depending on what phase the moon is in.
Here I am supplying you with a general outline of the basic moon phases and how they apply to lunar gardening:
- From the new moon to the first quarter is a good time to plant or start anything new in the garden. The moon is said to be “waxing” at this time. Its light is increasing as more of it appears to us in the sky each night. This is a time when plant saps are flowing, so grafting, transplanting or rooting cuttings should be done during these phases.
It is also a good time for planting crops that produce seed or fruit outside the plant, such as wheat, barley, lettuce, and broccoli. This is not a good time for harvesting; rot tends to set in early to picked items.
- The first quarter phase is also a good time for starting things, and is particularly good for planting seed-in plants, such as tomatoes, string beans, and squash. Proponents of lunar gardening say that the last part for the first quarter, a few days before the full moon, is the optimal planting time of this phase.
- The full moon is the influential peak of an about-to-wane energy. This is a good time to plant root crops or bulbs, as the sap flow is more down than up. The full moon is the optimum time for harvesting fruits, grains, vegetables, and medicinal herbs. The moon is now “waning.”
- During the last quarter phase, take a rest from the planting and harvesting. Perhaps do a bit of weeding, pruning, plowing, or maintenance on your garden, as this is not a high-energy, high-growth time. Lawns mowed at this time will not grow back as quickly. Of course, the moon phases need to be followed in their appropriate season.
Astrological signs can also play a part among those who want to get more detailed in their lunar gardening efforts. Astrological signs symbolize the elements of water, earth, fire, or air, and proponents claim that plants are connected to these elements in specific ways.
To provide you with an example, Aries is a “fire” sign, which denotes dryness, and is thereby good for harvesting. Therefore, the full moon under the sign of Aries is the optimal harvest time.
Conversely, a full moon under the water sign Scorpio, which is wet and fertile, would not be as good a time to harvest as a full moon under Aries.
Ideally, you want to gather your seeds under an air sign, these being Aquarius, Libra, or Gemini. As the moon is growing/waxing, take your gathered seeds and transplant them.
When you are dealing with unwanted weeds or unwanted ‘pests’, it is best to do the clearing work under a waning moon – and best under a fire sign.
Finally, if you are wanting to work a bit more with the signs and fertile times for planting or barren times for harvesting, the most fertile signs are Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio. These are followed closely by Capricorn, Taurus, and Libra.
The most barren signs are Leo, Virgo and Gemini, with Aries, Aquarius, and Sagittarius following behind them.