Planting by the Moon is a great way to increase your yields
…and stay in sync with the natural rhythm of the Moon phases.
Planting by the moon is a very old practice indeed. It is even older than my gardening tools! It is an ancient agricultural practice that has been used by farmers for several thousand years.
It is based on the synodic period of the Moon from one New Moon to the next New Moon, which is on average 29.5 days.
Farmers used to observe the natural rhythms around them and how those rhythms affected their crops. Over time, these farmers observed that all aspects of their farming were affected by the interaction of the gravitational forces between the Sun, the Moon and Earth. You have heard of course that the Moon affects the ocean tides? Well these are those same gravitational forces. Because the Moon is closer to the Earth, its effects are more noticeable.
The old traditional planting by the moon method is the best to use, and is the simplest. The following are an explanation of the Lunar Cycle and the basic rules.
The Lunation Cycle
The Moon passes through four phases in each lunar month – New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon and Last Quarter. The number of days between each phase varies from 6 3/4 to 8. See the Moon Phases Calendar.
It is best to avoid planting, sowing, or taking cuttings from 12 hours before and 12 hours after the exact change of moon phase. The increase or decrease of energy is gradual. If you have a lot of planting to do, it should be ok if you go an hour or so into these periods. It is far better to use this time for preparing beds, mulching, applying and turning compost, etc.
NEW MOON PHASE: From New Moon (crescent moon or dark moon) to the first quarter moon.
In this phase the moon begins to grow and increase in light, and so it is thought that the energy for growth increases. Scientists have proven that sap rises during this period. Remember, don’t plant or sow until you see the first sliver of the new moon.
This is the best time to sow and transplant leafy annuals (we eat the leaf and/or stem), grains and cereals, flowering annuals, and melons. It is also a great time to sow green manure crops.
FIRST QUARTER PHASE: From First Quarter to Second Quarter
The Moon is still increasing and the sap is still rising. This is the best time to sow or transplant fruiting annuals (tomatoes, capsicums, beans and peas) and flowering annuals, grains and melons. Also sow green manures, cereals and grains. This is the second best phase to sow or transplant leafy annuals (we eat the leaf or stem), and flowering annuals.
Remember, it is not recommended you do any planting, sowing, grafting, transplanting in the 12 hours before the full moon.
FULL MOON PHASE: From 12 hours after Full Moon to Third Quarter
During this phase every living thing is at its peak of energy, (just ask the police!). Sap starts to flow downward so energy is now drawn down into the ground.
Plant bulbs and root crops (like potatoes, onions), and perennials. All trees, shrubs, vines, asparagus, globe artichokes, strawberries, rhubarb, some herbs, bulbs and lawn grasses are perennials. Also sow lawns or lay turf now.
LAST QUARTER PHASE: From Third Quarter to New Moon (dark moon)
This is a barren phase so you can take a rest from all your planting and sowing chores.
Water your seeds and seedlings every day when it is sunny and warm. Never let the seeds dry out unless the packet says to water once only. So follow the directions on the seed packs.
So there you go. Do I believe that planting by the moon really works? Well, over my years of gardening I have used it on and off. I have had success by planting by the moon and I have had successes by planting when I simply have the time to do it.
These days, I figure that all the help you can get counts so I always try to plant by the moon’s phases. If I have seedlings that absolutely have to be planted outside their best planting time then I do it. Why risk losing them?
Combined with Gardening by the Moon you will have an easy system to cycle through all your vegetable gardening tasks, and general gardening maintenance.
My motto with this is to do it when I can, and I certainly aim at planting by the moon. But when it just won’t work that way, I do what I can when I can.
So, happy planting by the moon, and may you be blessed with abundant harvests and much gardening joy!