Around the world, people plant, transplant, cultivate and harvest by the phases of the moon. As far back as the 15th century, gardening enthusiasts have been reaping and sowing during these phases with better results.
The rules for harvesting are quite simple:
- Plants that grow and blossom above ground should be picked in the moon's first two phases, and root crops should be harvested while the moon is waning (decreasing in size).
- Try an experiment on the effect of the moon on the growth of plants.
- Select an open area in your garden at least 5 feet long by 1 foot wide.
- Be sure the soil is freshly dug and thoroughly mixed. Plant 2 seeds a day in this spot for the next month.
- Plant in 2 long rows, 4 inches between rows and 2 inches between each new day's planting.
- Plant beans in summer, and peas in spring or fall. Pick seeds with the same vitality.
- Try to plant at the same time each day and keep track of when you planted.
- Make a chart with the following information: day planted, time, weather, and day sprouted.
- After everything has sprouted and the chart is complete, find the date of the last full moon and last new moon.
- Mark these dates on your chart.
- Did the seeds sprout one day at a time? Was there a time during the month when more seeds sprouted at the same time? Did it happen near a full or new moon?
New Moon - A time of leaf growth. Plants grow outward and upward as the moon and the sun pull from the same side of the earth.
Full Moon - A time of root growth. Plants grow down and inward.
The Moon Cycle
- First Quarter - New moon to waxing crescent (increasing in size). The time of most leaf growth, a good time to plant leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, or chard.
- Second Quarter - Half to full moon. Best time of the month for planting. Good time to plant vines such as tomatoes, pumpkins or beans.
- Third Quarter - Full moon to waning crescent. The time of most growth. A good time to plant bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers. During the full moon, transplant perennials, biennials and berries.
- Fourth Quarter - Half to new moon. Best time to prune or cut wood, dig, hoe or cultivate.
The Earth Cycle
- Morning - Dawn until the day warms up. Best time to water and cut flowers for arranging. Not a good time to transplant, unless the day is cloudy and dark. OK time to plant seeds the need a warm season.
- Noon - The time of full, hottest sun. Not a good time to water unless it is a very cloudy day. Probably best to choose other activities during this time.
- Evening - The day begins to cool. A good time to pick fruits, vegetables and flowers, also to dig or cultivate and transplant.
- Night - No sunlight in the garden. Not a good time to garden, even plants need to rest!
The Sun Cycle
- (Vernal Equinox around March 21)
- Wait for the soil to warm up, then dig and add compost and manure.
- Plant cool season vegetables (lettuce, peas, carrots); plant early annual flowers (sweet pea, snapdragon, cosmos).
- Start warm season tomatoes, melons or peppers indoors.
- (Summer Solstice around June 21)
- Plant, plant and plant some more until you run out of room.
- Pick the first flowers to make more blooms. Remove dead leaves.
- Watch for pests and disease, remove damaged plants.
- (Autumnal Equinox around September 23)
- The harvest moon appears in September. Plant cool season vegetables where you have room. Watch for the first frost of winter and cover tender plants during light frost.
- (Winter Solstice around December 22)
- A time of slow growth. Sort and store seeds, prune back fruit trees and shrubs. Start some spring seeds indoors in February.
- To take it one step further, astrological gardening is also governed by the moon but brings in the element of the constellations.At least the constellations named for zodiacal signs.
- When the moon is in Gemini, Libra or Aquarius (the air signs), destroying weeds and pests is advised but planting is discouraged. There is one exception; flowering plants - plants that require air to perk up their petals - should be sown when the moon is in Libra.
- Fire signs like Aries, Leo and Sagittarius favour destruction like plowing, tilling and killing pests. The exception here is to plant apple trees and fruit crops in Sagittarius, when the moon is on the wane.
- When water signs like Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are dominant in the scythe healthiest crops are produced. It is a good time to plant root crops, cover crops such as rye, oats, wheat, corn, other vegetables and berries. Also a good time to irrigate, bud and graft. Transplanting and regeneration are best when Scorpio is high in the sky.
- Earth signs like Taurus are good for leafy vegetables and root crops. Capricorn is a good time to fertilize or shape ornamental trees and shrubs, also a favourable time for beets, turnips and potatoes. When Virgo is dominant, vine growth is exceptional but it is a poor time for most transplanting.
- Here a few lawn care tips: Mowing in the third or fourth quarter of the moon during Leo, Virgo or Gemini will keep your grass neat and trim for an extended period.
- For lush growth, mow before a full moon, in Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces. Pick up a copy of the latest Farmer's Almanac as a guide. Keeping a chart of your gardening tasks and the signs that correspond favourably with them can help with all this data.