Gardening by the moon – Fact or Folklore

Fact: The Earth’s gravitational field is constantly altered by the sun, moon and planets. The ocean tides are at their highest during the time of the full moon, when the sun and moon are lined up with the earth.

Folklore: The ancients believed that as the moon draws the tides in the seas, it also draws upon all water, causing moisture to swell up in the earth, which promotes growth. As the highest amount of moisture is in the soil at the time of the full moon, seeds will absorb the most water and therefore it was believed to be the best time for planting.

Biodynamic Planting – Its’ As Old As Time

The role of the sun and the moon in agriculture is undeniable. The sun powers the forces of growth and the moon enhances or discourages the various stages of plant formation, or so the sages say.

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 to following generations. Many use this biodynamic method of plant husbandry today in their own gardens. It’s very popular method of planting in France but not so well known to British gardeners.

Moon phases:

The 5th October is the ideal time to take cutting of your shrubs as this is the end of the rising moon.

Then plant them in earth on the 6th, preferably morning time, as the start of the descending moon will help the root formation. This is also the best time to sow grass seed.

The full moon this month falls on the 29th.

For a detailed calendar of the moon phases
click here

At the new moon, the lunar gravity pulls water up, and causes the seeds to swell and burst. This factor, coupled with the increasing moonlight creates balanced root and leaf growth. This is the best time for planting above ground annual crops that produce their seeds outside the fruit. Examples are lettuce, spinach, celery, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and grain crops. Cucumbers like this phase also, even though they are an exception to that rule.

In the second quarter the gravitational pull is less, but the moonlight is strong, creating strong leaf growth. It is generally a good time for planting, especially two days before the full moon. The types of crops that prefer the second quarter are annuals that produce above ground, but their seeds form inside the fruit, such as beans, melons, peas, peppers, squash, and tomatoes. Mow lawns in the first or second quarter to increase growth.

After the full moon, as the moon wanes, the energy is drawing down. The gravitation pull is high, creating more moisture in the soil, but the moonlight is decreasing, putting energy into the roots. This is a favourable time for planting root crops, including beets, carrots, onions, potatoes, and peanuts. It is also good for perennials, biennials, bulbs and transplanting because of the active root growth. Pruning is best done in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter there is decreased gravitational pull and moonlight, and it is considered a resting period. This is also the best time to cultivate, harvest, transplant and prune. Mow lawns in the third or fourth quarter to retard growth.


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