How does one garden by the Moon? Farmers have done it for centuries and many of our ancestors only followed the planting and harvesting patterns despite newer technologies. The lunar phase controls the amount of moisture in the soil. This moisture is at its peak at the time of the new and the full moon. The sun and moon are lined up with earth. Just as the moon pulls the tides in the oceans, it also pulls upon the subtle bodies of water, causing moisture to rise in the earth, which encourages germination and growth. Tests have proven that seeds will absorb the most water at the time of the full moon.
You can also plant and harvest by the zodiac signs as well. This can be a little more complicated as not every calendar will show you when you might be in a barren or fruitful sign. I will blog about this another day as this can be tricky if you don't have a good calendar handy.
There are 4 basic phases that you need to watch for when gardening by the Moon: New, First Quarter, Full and Last Quarter.
You will want to sow, transplant, bud and graft plants during New Moon through Full Moon. This is easy to remember plant when there is no moon through when it is bright and shining in the sky. At the new moon, the lunar gravity pulls water up, and causes the seeds to swell and burst. This factor, coupled with the increasing moonlight creates balanced root and leaf growth.
When your calendar shows New Moon, plant above ground crops with outside seeds, examples are lettuce, spinach, celery, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and grain crops. and flowering annuals.
Once the Moon quakes with its First Quarter through the Full Moon phase you can plant above ground crops with inside seeds. In this quarter the gravitational pull is less, but the moonlight is strong, creating strong leaf growth. It is generally a good time for planting, especially two days before the full moon. Examples of these plants are beans, melons, peas, peppers, squash, and tomatoes. Mow lawns in the first or second quarter to increase growth.
On the last day of the Full Moon through the Last Quarter plant root crops like beets, carrots, onions, potatoes, and peanuts, bulbs, biennials and perennials for active root growth. After the full moon, as the moon wanes, the energy is drawing down. The gravitation pull is high, creating more moisture in the soil, but the moonlight is decreasing, putting energy into the roots.
From the last day of the Last Quarter through the New Moon do not plant at all. There is decreased gravitational pull and moonlight, and it is considered a resting period. This is also the best time to cultivate, harvest, transplant and prune. Mow lawns in the third or fourth quarter to retard growth.
As of today, May 19 we are between the last quarter and the New Moon. The offical date of the New Moon will be Sunday, May 24.
Happy planting and harvesting; if you don't quite make the cycle this time, there is always next month!!!