October 11, 2018

Have you tried Gardening by the Moon?

Gardening by the phases of the moon

Gardening by the moon… Is it just popular folklore, superstitious nonsense, or a scientific approach that does wonders for your plants? Despite the fact that there are a number of gardeners out there who swear by the importance of moon cycles, (an interesting dude called Plummer being one of them), it’s difficult to find solid, concrete proof of the moon affecting the yield, taste, and appearance of plants in any garden. Data-driven studies just haven’t been carried out on the subject. Even so, there’s something tempting about putting the theory to the test for a month or two.

What role does the moon play in your garden?

The science behind the theory goes like this… In the same way that the moon has the power to control the tide, at certain times of the month its gravitational pull also helps to draw moisture found deep within the soil up to the surface. Gardening by the phases of the moon, it seems, creates an optimum monthly schedule for planting, pruning, weeding, and transplanting.

How many moon gardening phases are there?

There are four gardening phases linked to the moon’s cycle and each phase lasts about seven days. The phases are: the new moon, the second quarter moon, the full moon, and the fourth quarter moon. The moon’s gravitational pull is at its strongest during the new moon cycle, which means any moisture deep within the soil will be making its way up to the surface during this phase. In gardening terms, this means that it’s an excellent time for plants to strengthen leaf and root growth.

During the second quarter moon, the gravitational pull is still fairly strong, coupled with the added layer of extra moonlight, making the second quarter an ideal phase for planting. During a full moon, the gravitational pull begins to weaken and the moonlight starts to wane. All the energy of this phase is drawn downward toward the middle of the Earth and into the roots. The fourth quarter moon is all about rest and recuperation. Gravitational pull is neutral and moonlight is fading fast.

New Moon

2nd Quarter Moon

3rd Quarter Moon

4th Quarter Moon

What should you plant and when?

If you choose to follow the phases of the moon when gardening, then it won’t hurt to employ a bit of logic with regard to your planting schedule. For example, during a full moon when the energy is being drawn down back into the Earth, and into the roots of your plants, it’s a really good idea to plant root veggies like carrots, potatoes, and beets. When the soil’s moisture is being drawn to the surface, during the new moon cycle, you’ll want to plant crops that grow on the surface of the soil, like spinach, lettuce, celery, and cauliflower.

What gardening tasks should you focus on and when?

During the fourth quarter moon, when energy is low and plants are at rest, you can use your gardening time to prune, cultivate, harvest, transplant, and fertilize. It’s the optimum moment during the moon cycle to re-group, replenish strengths, reap the goodness that has grown over the past 30 days, and get ready to start growing all over again. If you’ve got any trees in your garden, it’s also the perfect time of the cycle to partake in a little deep root watering.

So, while there aren’t any actual studies available to neither support nor discredit the moon cycle approach to gardening, the idea of trusting in the lunar ebb and flow is nothing if not charming. And what harm could it do? Give your garden over to the moon for 28 days and see. What have you got to lose?

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