Moon Phases and Organic Gardening
The natural method of lunar agriculture has been handed down through the ages. Ancient gardeners found this system to be an effective way to plan and grow their crops for maximum yields.
The moon rotates through a complete sequence of phase every 29 days, this constitutes a lunar month. This cycle is divided into four quarters or moon phases with each phase affecting plant growth in a positive or negative way. By planting, growing and maintaining your garden according to these established rules the maximum benefits can be enjoyed.
If it is your desire to follow a holistic organic gardening plan you must take into account the phases of the moon and the effect they have in your garden.
Moon phases and their effects on gardening
This is the time for harvesting your crops. During this phase of the moon mature plants are at their best for picking and will maintain their freshness longer.
The full moon is also a time of balance, in the garden, and newly sown seeds will begin to germinate now.
Second Quarter Moon
This moon phase favors the planting of above ground crops. All plants that yield their bounty above the soil benefit from planting during this moon phase.
The growing brightness of the moon encourages newly planted seeds to take hold and maximum germination occurs.
Third Quarter Moon
Plant below ground crops now. During this time of decreasing moonlight the root systems of below ground crops establish themselves and are more apt to take hold.
The third quarter moon allows the above ground portion of new plants to rest as growth continues beneath the soil.
During the new moon the lunar influence on growing things enters a state of rest and equilibrium. Plant growth is steady and stable at this time.
Plant immune systems are fortified and any plant damage is repaired during this time of balanced growth.
Moon phases effect the natural growth cycle of plants
Planting by the phases of the moon is an ancient method of planting, working and harvesting the garden in tune with nature. Plants have evolved natural growth cycles that correspond to the position of the sun and moon. When we encourage seeds and transplants by following these cycles we give nature a hand in its influence on our gardens. The following is an explanation of these growth cycles.
Waxing phases of the moon encourage growthAs the moon grows in size it produces more and more reflected energy from the sun. Like a dull mirror the moon returns to earth rays from the sun that would otherwise be lost into space. In other words, the gradual waxing or increasing brightness of the moon would seem to encourage plant growth and germination. This is when you should install above ground plants.
This is the time when moonlight is in a state of increase. The expanding face of the moon casts a greater and greater glow on the earth. It is said to be the optimum time for the planting of above ground crops. (i.e. plants that produce their fruit above the ground) The moon phases associated with this phenomena are generally divided into three stages. They are the new moon, second quarter moon and the full moon.
Garden chores to do during the waxing phases of the moon:
Certain garden activities are thought to be most effective during this time of lunar increase. Experimenting in your garden should bear this out.
- Sow seeds of plants that grow above ground
- Repot and groom houseplants
- Graft fruit trees
- Plant evergreen and deciduous trees
Waning phases of the moon discourage growthConversely, the time from the full moon back to the new moon is a time in which the size and brilliance of the moon are decreasing. These phases constitute the waning of the moon. As the days following the full moon progress the reflected energy of the sun diminishes and would seem to discourage growth of above ground plants. But, this is the time when root growth is stimulated and the optimum time to plant below ground plants.
During the waning phases of the moon the moon's glow is fading. The face of the moon is shrinking from full moon to new moon. This is the time for planting below ground crops. (i.e. plants that produce their fruit below the ground) The moon phases that make up this period of change are the full moon the third quarter moon and the new moon.
Garden chores to do by the waning phases of the moon:
These activities are suited to this time of lunar decrease.
- Plant crops that grow below the ground, such as potatoes, carrots
- Plant bulbs
- Cultivate weeds
- Plant biennials and perennials because they need strong roots
- Eliminate slugs
- Prune shrubs
The complete sequence of moon phases in a lunar month
The Lunar Month
The lunar month starts with the new moon, also called "the dark of the moon". From the new moon to the first quarter and from the first quarter to the full moon, the moon appears to grow from nothing to a crescent and then to a full circle at mid-month (i.e. waxing moon). Once the moon has peaked at full brilliance it begins to reverse it's phases from full moon to third quarter moon and returns to the new moon completing the cycle. (i.e. waning moon)
Prevalence of Moon Gardening
Down the ever dimming corridors of time these principles of gardening echo to us from an ancient past. Many peoples throughout our history have employed these simple rules of farming.