Horticulture (“the culture of plants, mainly for food, materials, comfort and beauty”) is very much a science. But to be a successful gardener, sometimes it takes an artistic touch and plain old know-how to master your green thumb .
Many people don’t realize, there’s actually an age-old method of planting that uses the phases of the moon to guide gardeners through the process of planting, growing and harvesting their plants. If you’re a budding (pun totally intended) gardener, this may be new to you but there are many out there that swear their gardens bear the sweetest fruits, the biggest vegetables, and the most fragrant flowers, all because of the moon.
Here’s the simple breakdown. Each phase, but particularly the new and full moons for their gravitational pull and their luminosity, affects the germination and growth of specific types of plants. So while some species are better to plant during the full moon, it’s best to wait until the new moon for others.
The idea behind this concept is that when the gravitational pull of the moon is at its peak, amplified by the sun (i.e. full and new moons) moisture is pulled to the surface of the earth encouraging growth in seeds and seedlings. Plus, the increasing and decreasing light of the waxing and waning moon impacts the types of plants that benefit most from planting during these different phases.
Traditional Moon Planting Rules
Plant leafy greens, annuals and biennials (plants that last only one or two seasons) during the new moon phase of the lunar cycle, as they will benefit from the increased light after the new moon is complete. This time is also a great opportunity to sow or transplant fruiting annuals like watermelon.
First Quarter (Waxing)
Continue to transplant fruiting annuals and flowering annuals during the first quarter of the lunar cycle. Prune and mow your plants as needed, to encourage growth.
It’s time to put root crops and bulbs in the ground during the full moon phase of the lunar cycle. The decrease in light after the full moon isn’t as great for leafy green plants but ground crops will thrive in the less intense light above ground.
Last Quarter (Waning)
The last quarter is best for tending to the garden. Prune and mow as needed, while fertilizing and feeding your plants. If your crops are ready, harvesting is also recommended during the waning phase of the lunar cycle.
These are just some foundational rules for moon planting to get you started, but there’s certainly lots more to learn! In fact, some expert holistic horticulturists even go as far as to incorporate the moon’s place in the Zodiac into their gardening techniques.
Zodiac signs, divided into water, earth, fire, and air signs, possess traits that are characteristically fertile or infertile. This doesn’t mean that your spinach won’t grow at all if you plant in the last quarter under the fiery Leo. It just means that you may maximize your planting efforts if you wait for the new moon or early first quarter under the earth sign, Virgo.
And if you’re interested in starting your own moon garden, our old-time favorite, The Farmer’s Almanac, has a simple calendar available for download, totally free. Check it out, and happy gardening Moonbabes!