Planting by the Moon
Planting by the Moon
Planting by the moon is an idea that is as old as agriculture itself. Moon phase gardening is thought by many generations to produce the most robust crops.
The moon affects the Earth’s gravitational pull in a major way. It affects the tides of the ocean and growth of plants. Before calendars were written and agreed upon, the moon was used to determine the best time for planting and harvesting crops. Even with today's modern planning resources, planting by the moon is still a very precise way to get the most out of your garden.
Gardening by the Moon
The moon has four phases, or quarters, which last about seven days each. The first two are during the waxing, or increasing light, period. The other two are after the full moon during the waning phase when light is decreasing.
The gravitational pull influences the moisture in soil. The Earth is in a large gravitational field, influenced by both the sun and the moon. The tides are highest at the time of the new and full moon, when the sun and moon are lined up with Earth. The moon pulls the tides in the oceans and pulls upon the subtle bodies of water, causing moisture to rise in the Earth. This encourages growth. Seeds will absorb the most water at the time of the full moon.
At the new moon, lunar gravity pulls water up and causes the seeds to swell and burst. Increased moonlight creates balanced root and leaf growth. This is the best time for planting above ground, annual crops that produce their seeds outside the fruit. Examples are lettuce, spinach, celery and cauliflower. Cucumbers also like this phase best.
Strong leaf growth is encouraged during this time. It is generally a good time for planting, especially two days before the full moon. Beans, melons, peas, peppers, squash and tomatoes are good crops to plant during this time. Mow your lawn in the first or second quarter to increase growth.
After the full moon, the energy is drawing down (in the waning phase). The gravitational pull is high, creating higher moisture levels in the soil. This is a great time for planting root crops like beets, carrots, potatoes and peanuts. Root growth is active during this time. This is a good time to plant perennials, biennials and bulbs, and to transplant anything that needs moved.
Gravitational pull is decreased during this time, which is considered a resting period. This is the best time to harvest and prune. Mow lawns in the third or fourth quarter to reduce growth.
Farmers who work long days to harvest their crops before autumn greatly benefit from the extra moonlight the full moon provides. The full moon closest to the autumn equinox is what gives the Harvest Moon its name.
Learning about moon phases can be very interesting and beneficial, especially if you are a serious and dedicated gardener. Get planting this summer and get the most you can out of your outdoor space!