Lunar gardening is an ancient practice dating back to when the most reliable calendar for agriculture was the moon and stars. Our ancestors knew when to plant and when to harvest , because they planted by watching the moon’s phases. Through experience they created lunar gardens to ensure a successful harvest.
Recent scientific research tends to suggest that there is support for this traditional method of planting. You can read more about how a Researcher Says All Living Things Respond to Motions of the Moon or you can try it out yourself.
If you already practice organic gardening, moon planting will give you an added boost. There are three “levels” to lunar gardening:
- Waxing and Waning Cycles
- The Four Quarters of the Moon
- Astrological Correspondence to the Moon Phases
Waxing and Waning Cycles
The easiest method to begin gardening by the moon is to plant annuals during the waxing moon and biennial/perennials during the waning moon. This can also be understood as planting “above-ground” crops when the moon is getting full, and planting “below-ground” crops when the moon is getting dark.
WAXING MOON CYCLE
This is when the light of the moon is increasing and when we can sow, transplant, bud and graft flowering annuals or other short-lived plants that produce leaves, seeds, flowers, or fruits for harvest. Use this period of time to add liquid fertilizers or compost tea to your garden beds. The increased flow of moisture in long-lived plants is why this is the ideal time for grafting trees or shrubs.
WANING MOON CYCLE
When the light of the moon is decreasing we can sow plants that are perennials and root crops. This is also the time to amend your soil with worm castings or rich organic matter. Pruning should be completed during the waning moon and harvesting crops is also recommended during the waning moon.
The Four Quarters of the Moon
The time to sow, transplant, bud and graft is while the moon is waxing from New to Full.
NEW MOON GARDENING
- This is the time to plant annuals such as leafy greens as well as many herbs. The light of the moon is low but increasing.
FIRST QUARTER GARDENING
- This is the time to plant fruiting annuals that grow above ground. As the light increases it is a good time to plant veggies with seeds inside them (think squash, beans, peas, etc.)
FULL MOON GARDENING
- Now that full strength of the moon draws energy down to the earth is is the best time to plant root veggies and perennials. Bulbs can be planted now, too.
The time to plow, cultivate, weed and reap is between the Last Quarter and New Moon. DO NOT PLANT during this phase.
LAST QUARTER GARDENING
- This is the time of rest for the garden. Complete any chores such as weeding, tending the compost pile, mulching or harvesting during this phase.
Gardening by the zodiac calendar is also referred to as biodynamic gardening, which groups plants into four categories: roots, leaves, flower, and fruit/seeds. During its lunar cycle the moon passes through twelve sectors of the stellar constellations, which are referenced by the zodiac signs. Use the previous moon phase schedule and the following zodiac calendar to create your own biodynamic gardening schedule.
This is a quick overview of which plants are the focus during which zodiac cycle:
- Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) ~ Fruit/Seed
- Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) ~ Root
- Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) ~ Flowers
- Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) ~ Leaf
So when the moon is in a fiery sign plant seeds for annuals such as wheat, corn, squash, peas, beans, tomatoes and all fruits.
When the moon is in an earthy sign plant root crops such as carrots, turnips, beets, potatoes, etc.
During the transit through an airy sign, plant flowers to cultivate showy, fragrant blooms.
And finally, when the moon is moving through a watery sign, plant all leafy veggies such as kale, lettuce, spinach, grasses and cress.
For more in depth exploration of this subject I recommend you check out the website Gardening by the Moon.