Planting by the Moon Phases:
Decades ago, a common practice used in garden planting centered around the phases of the moon. To some, it may sound like an old wives tale or some type of voodoo, but many gardeners of days gone by practiced it faithfully. My elderly neighbor told me her parents planted this way when she was growing up.
As crazy as it may sound, let’s check out the science behind this planting practice. The moon’s gravitational pull determines the rising of the ocean tide which also affects the earth’s water table. Even the sap in trees is drawn up and down!
The closer the water is to the surface will ultimately equal more moisture in the soil. This equals germination success for your seeds. But, there’s more! Just as the moon’s gravitational pull brings water up to the surface, it also pulls it back down. During the time when moonlight is decreasing, plants are encouraged to grow roots and tubers. This is prime time to plant root crops.
Moon Phase planting focuses on the four moon phases, which are repeated every month.
What are the Four Moon Phases of Planting?
During the New Moon, gravity from the moon is pulling water/moisture up closer to the earth’s surface, which aids in germination. This is the phase to plant crops that produce seeds outside of the fruit. Examples of things to plant are crops like leafy greens, grains, and flowers.
First Quarter Moon
This is the best time to plant crops that we eat the seed bearing part of the plant. Plant things like tomatoes and beans.
During the full moon phase the gravitational pull is drawn down. This is the best time to plant root crops. Focus on planting carrots, beets, and potatoes. Also, it’s a great phase to transplant any type of plant.
Last Quarter Phase
The last quarter phase is a time of rest and maintenance. During this week you should avoid planting. Focus on accomplishing daily garden tasks, such as: fertilizing plants, grafting fruit trees, weeding the garden, and pruning fruit trees/bushes and tomatoes.
Finally, know that these are guidelines to planting and will not guarantee success. I am planting by the moon phases for the first time this year. If farmers from generations ago, when the backyard garden was a necessity, followed this guideline, then I’ll give it a try too. I like the old ways of doing things, you might say.
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Our 2020 garden was the best harvest we have ever had! We will definitely try planting by the moon phases again this year. Let me know in the comments if you have planted according to the moon phases, or will be giving it a try this year.
Talk to you soon,
Some resources we find helpful on the farm:
USNW Sydney Newsroom