Gardening by Moon Phase

The principle of  Gardening by the Moon is that the cycles of the moon affect plant growth.  The Moon’s gravitational pull causes tides to rise and fall, and so too it also affects moisture in the soil.  Stands to reason, right?  Universal laws of nature and all that.

On this basis, it’s said that seeds absorb more water during the full Moon and the new Moon, when more moisture is pulled to the soil surface.  The greater amount of moisture at the surface level is thought to promote growth, cause seeds to swell, as a result of which gardeners achieve better germination and healthier plants.

Moon phase gardening focuses on two phases of the lunar cycle: waxing (ie – the time between the new moon and the full moon) and waning (ie – the time between the full Moon and the new Moon).  Tasks and types of plants are dictated by whether the Moon is waxing or waning.  Like all old wisdom, there’s a heuristic or ‘rule of thumb’ that can be applied:

  • WAXING (eg growing bigger, coming into fullness): The advice is to plant annual flowers and fruit and vegetables that bear crops above ground (such as corn, tomatoes, watermelon, and zucchini) during the waxing of the Moon — ie from the day the Moon is new up to the day it is full.  During this time, as moonlight increases night by night, plants are encouraged to grow leaves and stems.
  • WANING (eg withering, diminishing).  Plant flowering bulbs, biennial and perennial flowers, and vegetables that bear crops below ground (such as onions, carrots, and potatoes) during the waning of the Moon— ie from the day after it is full up to the day before it is new again.  As the moonlight decreases night by night, plants are encouraged to grow roots, tubers, and bulbs. 

Or so they say.

If you want to try it yourself, it’s quite simple.  Waxing is the time to grow, plant above ground harvests, and expand.  Waning is the time to trim, prepare beds, and plant things that grow below ground.  Simply check where you are in the lunar cycle and plan your actions accordingly.

Happy gardening!