Gardening by the Moon
Moon Phases Affect Gardening
Using Moon Phases in Gardening
Today, people think it is unusual to plant gardens according to the moon’s phases and/or astrological signs—probably because many of them live in cities and never learned much about the natural rhythms of the earth. Historically though, many farmers used almanacs, which normally cite the phase of the moon, to guide their planting schedules. The ancient Egyptians, Native Americans, and Amazon cultures used astrology for many things, and planting was definitely one of them. There are also other gardening activities that matter besides the actual planting; cultivation, fertilizing, irrigation, weeding, getting rid of pests, and harvesting. Then we actually get to enjoy the bounty and beauty of what we have grown! The following system is based on the observation and experimentation of Llewellyn George, the well-known astrologer, and a scientist named Dr. Clark Timmins.
Gardening During Waxing or Waning Moons
From the new moon to the full moon, or during the increasing or waxing moonlight, it is good to plant annuals which produce their yield above the ground. Annuals are plants that complete their entire life cycle in one growing season, and must be reseeded again in the next year. From the full moon to the new moon, or during the decreasing or waning light, plant biennials, which are planted in one season, then winter over and produce crops the next season. Winter wheat is an example of this.
Perennials are good to plant in this moon phase as well, as these are bulb and root plants which grow from the same root and return every year. One reason I like crocus, daffodil, and tulip bulbs is because they are planted in fall, and when they bloom in spring, it feels like one has a beautiful garden with no work. There was work, of course, but it’s already done, and the fruits of labor can just be enjoyed. Plus flowering bulbs return each year, often producing even better as years go by. So you really get your money's worth, and a lovely show of color in early Spring and Summer.
An easier, but less accurate rule, is to plant crops that produce above the ground during the waxing moon, and plant crops that produce below the ground during the waning moon. This is why many people plant potatoes during the dark of the moon. Llewellyn George divided the lunar month into four quarters. The first two from the new moon to full moon are the first and second quarters, and the last two from the full moon to the new moon are the third and fourth quarters. By using this system, many people, including myself, have had success in getting our gardening efforts to coincide with the moon’s natural cycles.
Planting by Moon's Quarters
During the first quarter it is best to plant annuals that yield above the ground, generally leafy plants which produce seeds outside the fruit. A few examples are broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, endive, kohlrabi, lettuce, parsley, and spinach. Cucumbers are the exception to this rule, they do better in the first quarter. Cereals and grains also get a good start during the moon’s first quarter.
The second quarter is the time to plant annuals which produce their yield above the ground, but grow on vines, and produce their seed inside the fruit. Some examples of these types are beans, eggplants, melons, peas, peppers, pumpkins, squash, and tomatoes. These are not rules you must follow exactly, think of them more as guidelines. But try to play around with the planting and the moon phases, and make note of what plants do better during each phase.
During the third quarter plant biennials, perennials, bulbs, root plants, trees, shrubs, berries, grapes, strawberries, beets, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas, radishes, peanuts, rhubarb, and winter wheat.
The fourth quarter is the best Moon phase to cultivate, turn the soil, pull weeds, and destroy pests.
Gardening by the Moon's Astrological Sign Position
The astrology sign the moon is in also has an effect on your garden. Our moon passes through all twelve zodiac signs in the course of approximately twenty eight days. Let us take a look at the twelve zodiac signs and see how each either helps or hurts our gardens:
Moon in Aries—this is a dry, barren, masculine sign, best used for destroying weeds. Since it’s a good time for beginnings, you may want to turn the soil and prepare it for planting. This is also a great time to plant something new, which you never tried in your garden before now.
Moon in Taurus—this is a productive sign where the earth will be moist. Since it is a fixed sign, it is well used for plants which need to be hardy, such as root crops, and leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and cabbage. Flowers planted in a Taurus moon will also be hardy and especially pretty, since Taurus is ruled by Venus. Taurus also rules the throat, so try singing as you garden. Studies have shown that indigenous people of the Amazon were advised by their Shamans that plants enjoy hearing music. Maybe it helps your plants to know you are happy. Sing a tune as you plant, what do you have to lose? It's also good for your mental health.
Moon in Gemini—This is another masculine, barren, dry, and airy sign. Use it for destroying noxious growths, pests and weeds, or for taking some time for cultivation. This would also be a good time to plan new crops and flowers, to look through your garden catalogs and get some new ideas to try for next year.
Moon in Cancer—This is a very fruitful and moist sign, great for planting and irrigation. Since Cancer is the most nurturing sign, and we nurture our plants which do the best, this is really a good time to plant mostly anything. You may sing to your plants when the Moon is in Cancer too, or just give them a nice pep talk! (If they talk back, you are on your own)! These are the plants you grow because your parents or grandparents always had them in their gardens, and you have a sentimental attachment to them.
Moon in Leo— Leo moons are best saved for killing weeds. But if you do have success with a plant here, it will be one of those stubborn plants you have that refuses to die, and keeps on growing despite anything. Leo plantings are going to be high maintenance. But they will eventually look stunning and be worth your efforts.
Moon in Virgo—This is a feminine, earthy, and moist sign, but somewhat barren, due to Virgo’s ruler Mercury. Save it for cultivation and getting rid of weeds and pests. Fussy plants won't like to be planted at this time, save this moon sign for plants that catch on more easily. This is also a good time to read more to learn new things about planting that will benefit your garden. Or to study your gardening books more.
Moon in Libra—This is a semi-fruitful sign, moist, and airy. Use it to plant crops that need good pulp growth. Libra is a great sign for planting flowers and vines though, they will look very nice, and creep the way you want them to go. This is also a good time for seeding hay and corn.
Libra is Venus ruled, so what you plant will be beautiful. This is also a great time to shop at the local garden store to see what's new. You will be tempted to buy some decoration for your garden, something to make it stand out as yours.
Moon in Scorpio—this is a feminine and fruitful sign, watery and moist. It is productive like Cancer, but the plants may be hardier due to the fact it is a fixed sign. It makes sturdy plants and vines. Water sign moon plants like music, so you may sing again or play some music. Scorpio is a dark sign, so try some punk rock. grunge or rap. Scorpio also rules the reproductive organs, so bulbs and perennials will do well when planted in this moon.
Moon in Sagittarius—this is a barren, dry, and masculine sign. It is good for planting onions, seeding hay, and for cultivation. A Sagittarius moon is a good time to review your planting schedule or make a few adjustments. Get together with your garden club and exchange tips.
Moon in Capricorn— This is an earthy, feminine sign, dry, yet productive. Use it for planting potatoes and other tubers. The plants will be strong and will do well. Capricorn Moon is the best for planning future gardens, or deciding on a new layout for your garden. It's also time for reviewing your goals for yield.
Moon in Aquarius—This is masculine, airy, dry. and barren. Use for cultivation and getting rid of pests. You may have new ideas regarding how you want to plant or display certain areas. You may have the urge to plant something frivolous or non- conventional, just for the fun of change or being different.
Moon in Pisces— This is a very fruitful, moist, feminine, watery sign. Watch these plants carefully and baby them, they will be the weakest of those planted in the water signs. It is, however, very good for root growth. You may sing to your plants in the Pisces moon too, or offer gentle encouragement. They may need a few kind words, but will reward you with fragile beauty.
Experiment With Moon Gardening on Your Own
You will need to experiment a little bit to get it right, and see which plants grow better for you in each sign and moon phase. You may choose to use the phases, or the astrology signs, or both. I find the astrology signs easiest, but as an astrologer that's to be expected! Most regular calendars show the moon phases on them, or you can buy a farmer’s almanac. Llewellyn puts out a moon sign book and calendar every New Year, normally available in stores the fall before the end of the calendar year.
I have had my best success with flowers in water sign moons, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. The prettiest flowers can be planted in the water signs, or also in Taurus or Libra. A Taurus Moon will yield a hardier plant, so you may want to plant a more expensive tree or bush in that moon, something that is an investment, or a tradition in your family. Flowering trees, bushes, and flowers planted in the Libra Moon are always very good looking. I try to plant my fall bulbs in September or October, in one of the above moons. Remember that the moon stays in each astrology sign for about 2 ½ days. But I know others who have had good results using the moon phases. Of those, I have found the full moon to be the best. Happy gardening!
Late Spring Tulips
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© 2012 Jean Bakula