Since the beginning of growing crops, human beings have used moon phases to determine the best time to sow, prune, weed and harvest. The tried and true farming practices of generations past are becoming more prevalent today, so it only makes sense to try out the tried and true methods used by farmers for centuries.
Planning your gardening chores according to the moon cycle may seem like nonsense, but there is logic in this method. The moon’s gravitational pull has an effect on weather patterns, ocean tides and has even been linked to changes in human behavior. Lunar gardening centers on the moon’s gravitational effect on water flow and moisture levels in the soil. The tides are highest at the new and full moon, when the moon and sun are lined up with the earth. This has been shown to pull on water underneath the earth drawing water up, heightening moisture levels in the soil and encouraging plant growth. The level of moonlight is also taken into account for seed germination and plant growth.
Learning the Lunar Cycle
The first step in gardening by the moon is to learn about the moon phases. The moon’s cycle lasts 29 days, with four quarters, lasting about 7 days each. Increasing moonlight, or waxing, between the new moon and full moon marks the first and second quarters. The third and fourth quarters begin after the full moon, when the moon is waning, or decreasing moonlight.
First Quarter: During the new moon, moistures levels in the soil are at their peak. During the first quarter, moonlight is also increasing. These two factors are said to encourage balanced root and foliage growth, making it the best time to sow seeds for above ground annual crops that produce seeds outside of the fruit. This is also the best time to add nutrients and fertilizer to the soil because your plants will more easily take up those nutrients. Try Grower’s Secret 521 fish emulsion fertilizer, which will also help your plants to grow bigger with a boost of nitrogen.
Second Quarter: The gravitational pull of the moon is weaker during this time period, but the moonlight is strong. This quarter is said to encourage leaf growth, making it the best time to sow seeds for above ground annual crops that produce seeds inside of the fruit. The end of the second quarter, near the full moon, is also the best time to prune and harvest fruits and vegetables because their moisture level is at its peak.
Third Quarter: After the full moon, the moon begins to wane and the moisture levels begin to drop, encouraging deep root growth. This is the best time to sow root vegetables and to transplant for increased root regeneration.
Fourth Quarter: During the fourth quarter, moisture levels and moonlight drops. This is considered a resting period and a time for weeding and tidying up the garden.