Gardening with the Moon Phases
Gardening with the Moon is the oldest form of gardening known to man. Ever since prehistoric times, long before man ever had a watch on his wrist or a calendar on his wall, everything was governed by the phases of the moon. Plants respond to the same gravitational pull of tides that affect the oceans, which alternately stimulates root and leaf growth. Seeds sprout more quickly, plants grow vigorously and at an optimum rate, harvests are larger and they don’t go to seed as fast. Somethings old knowledge is the best knowledge.
Gardening with the Moon was believed by many generations of gardeners to be the ultimate guide to healthy robust crops. One can either accept or omit this cognitive system of understanding the nature of plant maturation, in the end we are but stewards of this wonderful planet our Mother Earth. There are many things yet to discover and rediscovered. Gardening with the Moon phases has stood the test of time and it is well worth giving it a try.
Gardening with the Moon Rules
There are only a few simple rules to follow and it is not that difficult. There’s nothing to buy unless a calendar counts. But most of us have one already. When the moon is in its waxing or growth phase (Between new – full), is the best time for planting anything that grows above the ground. This is also the time for cutting, trimming or pruning for regrowth.
From full to the next new moon is the waning phase and this is the time for planting anything that grows beneath the earth. It is also the best for pruning, trimming when one doesn’t want regrowth. The only exception is for peas and beans, which although growing above the earth are planted on the waning moon. There’s always an exception to the rules and knowing those exceptions makes for a wonderful growing experience. And could just give you a edge.
Gardening with the Moon History
Gardening with the Moon is a method of cultivation as old as agriculture itself. The most ancient records of vegetable growing show a reliance on selecting the proper moon phase for the timing of planting and maintenance of crops. Today we all have access to this knowledge and what we Doowans find is a schedule of plant growth that we can use just as those ancient gardeners did in times past.
Based both in tradition and superstition, the character and growth traits of seeds and transplants were seen to vary with the phases of the moon and the constellations that appeared in the sky. Through the corridors of time this rhythm of growth was recorded and passed down.
Since ancient times it seems, agricultural societies have followed the moon both through calendars & in farming practices. The Mayan civilization was/is a perfect example, with its moon calendar by which the planting & harvesting of maize was plotted over the course of many years. Even to modern-day Gardeners, lunar guided traditions are being passed down through rural families in many countries. We are now passing this information to you the reader.
Gardening with the Moon Theory
This gardening with the Moon practice centers on the moon’s gravitational effect on the flow of moisture in soil and plants and, to a lesser degree, the effect of moonlight on seed germination. Gardeners who garden by the phases of the moon believe that its gravitational pull on earth’s water, (Ground Water and tides), has a bearing on plant growth. These Gardeners never plant anything when the moon is waning in the last quarter because it’s believed that the earth’s water table is receding. However some believe underground crops should be planted during this phase. After the new moon, the water table rises again and planting can resume. Farmers on every continent have used this Gardening with the moon phases to guide them for years. Now this older knowledge is coming back into the gardening consciousness.
Gardening with the Moon gardeners believe that the moon not only controls ocean tides but influences the groundwater tables beneath our feet. Understanding the latter effect, and timing gardening chores accordingly, is the basis of Gardening with the Moon.
By aligning our gardening with the phases and sign of the moon, we are tuning into the earth/sun/moon rhythm. This rhythm is primary in the well-being of all living things on earth. By planting at the right time we improve the survival and growth rate, whether it be plant or animal. The same goes for all things related to man and beast and can be a useful guide in planning when we do certain things, for gaining maximum benefit from garden plants as well.
Every long-term gardener has their own tips and tricks on how to get best gardening results. Tips they swear by even though there may be no scientific data to back them up. One such tip is Gardening with the Moon phases. There is logic in this method of gardening with the moon. The moon has an effect on weather patterns, ocean tides and even human behaviour. So why not plants?
Gardening with the Moon Phases
The moon’s phases are described in four parts, first quarter, second, third and fourth.
The first two quarters are waxing (increasing) phases and the two latter quarters are waning (diminishing) phases. The Moon cycle lasts 29 days. The full moon is marked on most calendars and is the demarcation between the two types of phases. Plus, it’s easy to spot.
So how does this all relate to your gardening? Well, in the waxing phase, the theory is that the water table rises and plants take up nutrients faster, making it an ideal time to plant. Thus allowing your plants to receive maximum benefit.
The waning phase is much better for pruning and weeding as the water table is lower and things like tree sap run much slower. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that harvests are larger and plants don’t go to seed as quickly if planted in the appropriate cycle.
Planting by the phases of the moon is an ancient method of planting, working and harvesting the garden in tune with Mother Nature. Plants have evolved natural growth cycles that correspond to the cycles of the sun and moon. When we encourage seeds and transplants by following these cycles we are giving Mother Nature a hand in its influence on our gardens. It’s always better to work with than against.
Gardening with the Moon Quarter by Quarter
Quarter by quarter, here is what you should do if you’d like to follow Gardening with the Moon planting and Gardening.
The start of the waxing phase with the new moon is the best time to sow and plant above ground leafy vegetables. Plants that respond well during this quarter include broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, celery and cauliflower. The water table is rising and the plants will take up nutrients and germinate quickly.
The gravitational pull of the moon is less but the additional light theoretically aids leafy growth. Vegetables that respond well to being sown and planted in this phase include those that form internal seeds like, tomatoes, squash and vine crops. The second quarter is also where vegetables should be harvested. This is when their moisture is at its peak.
Just past the full moon, the water table is starting to drop and growth is slowing. This is the best phase for sowing and planting root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, beets and onions. Peas and beans are the exception and should be planted during this phase. It’s also a great time to do any pruning in the garden that is needed. The cut ends will lose less moisture or sap during this period.
A dormant period and no sowing, planting, harvesting or pruning should be done during this Time. This time is best used for weeding, turning the compost and other garden chores. Even God rested. Take a break!
Gardening with the Moon is another option to introduce into your gardening to give you a bit of an edge when failure is NOT an option.
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