Plant Growth and Moon Phases
Even though as I am writing this we are nearing the end of the year, it is time that most gardeners begin to think about the upcoming year and what seeds they would like to plant in early spring. There are many cultures in different parts of the world which share common beliefs about the effect of moon phases on the growth of plants. Farmers in several remote rural areas still swear by moon phases. It is believed that moon’s gravitational force, lunar light as well as the zodiac sign that the moon is in, all play a crucial role in plant development.
So, support that inner gardener in you here are few of those lunar gardening/planting beliefs to help you prepare for your spring planting:
- One needs to plant annual crops that grow above the ground and produce seed outside the fruit as well grains during the first quarter of the moon. If you want to plant crops like tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, wheat, cauliflowers and spinach, etc, this is the best time.
- The second quarter is believed to be ideal for planting annual crops which grow above the ground and produce seeds inside the fruit. So, Beans, eggplant, peas, peppers, squash, etc are best planted during this period.
- The third quarter is considered to be a good period for planting perennials, biennials, bulb and root plants like berries, garlic, onion, carrots, potatoes, radish, turnip, grapes, etc.
- During the last quarter of the moon one needs to concentrate on caring for the plants. So activities like pest control, weeding, etc, are to be undertaken during this period.
In short moon lore suggests the one also needs to plant crops during the waxing moon phase and activities like weeding, pruning, etc are best reserved for the waning moon phase.
If you want to approach lunar gardening from the point of view of zodiac signs, then you plant root crops when the moon is in the earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn), plant crops that grow above the soil when the moon is in the water signs (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces) and focus on pruning, weeding, pest control and harvesting when the moon is the Fire (Leo, Aries, Sagittarius) and Air (Gemini, Aquarius and Libra) signs.
The next most obvious question is whether or not there is any scientific evidence to support these beliefs. The answer is both Yes and No. Experiments done by the University of Illinois back in 1993 did prove that moon’ gravitational force has some affect on germination; however, sufficient proof of moon phases affecting plant growth could not be gathered.
You can of course do your own experiments by planting crops by moon phases in your own garden and check if you get better results. To gather more information about lunar phases, you can refer to manuals and calendars like Stella Natura Calendar, Working with the Stars Calendar and Astronomical Gardening Guide, etc.
I love to get my feet and hands dirty while working in the yard – it feeds my soul. While we are in hibernation mode this winter, I encourage you to begin thinking about how you are going to bring a little gardening into your life.