People have been planting, cultivating, and reaping crops according to the phases of the Moon since time began. Many still see this as silly superstition, but it has been scientifically proven that Luna does, in fact, have a certain pull on our Earthly world. Probably the best-known influence is on the tides, which are always highest when the Sun and Moon line up at the new and full lunar phases. Not just the larger bodies of water but all water is affected by this. Moisture in the ground also responds to this force by rising. For example, seeds absorb the most amount of nurturing water when the moon in full, making the waxing moon time the best time for planting.
If you want to try experimenting with this, get a moon calendar. The Old Farmers’ Almanac is a trusty source.
Since today is the New Moon in Aries, it’s the perfect time to start any new projects. To get started, here is a simplified guide to what to plant according to the lunar phases.
New Moon: From now until the Second Quarter, there is waxing light and the gravitational force will be pulling the moisture up from the ground. This is a good time for a balance of leaf and root growth, above and below ground. Plant crops that bear seeds outside their fruits, such as grains, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce and spinach.
Second Quarter: There is less gravitational pull during this phase but the light is still increasing, so it is favorable for general planting, particularly two days before the full moon for best results. This timing will make use of the upswing of energy. Plants that do well if sown in the Second Quarter are annuals that grow above ground with their seeds growing inside, such as beans, peppers, squash, tomatoes, peas and melons.
Full Moon: At Full Moon time, lunar pull is strong and the moisture is rising in the soil. Right after Full Moon, the light begins to wane and energies decrease, making it a better time to focus on root crops that grow underground, like carrots, potatoes or beets, along with perennials, bulbs. Generally, this is the best phase in which to do any transplanting. Root growth is active now.
Fourth Quarter: This is time for resting, best for activities such as pruning, transplanting, harvesting, and cutting back plants to retard growth. To prune for increased growth, use the waxing phase.
Another dimension to gardening by the Moon is using the Signs of the Zodiac. The patterns of the lunar phases are generally agreed upon by all who use them, whereas the influence of the various Signs often differs among practitioners.
During its 28 day orbit around Earth, the Moon traverses the Zodiac, passing through a different Sign every 2 – 3 days. The Signs are divided into four classes according the Elements of Air, Earth, Fire, and Water in addition to each one having its own unique qualities. Generally Earth and Water Signs are considered fertile, good for planting and growth, and Fire and Air Signs are barren, best for weeding or pruning.
In the next part of this series, we’ll explore the Signs and delve deeper into what gardening activities to do on specific dates, so stay attuned to Green Witchery for more to come soon!