June 16, 2010

Hoeing by the Moon

This is a guest post by Torri Stevens - writer based in Suffolk who finds almost all her inspiration whilst gardening. She started planting her own moon garden two years ago which is thriving.

Gardening according to the phases of the moon, a little known practise, can have a profound positive impact on organic gardening. A wrongly believed notion is that only the sun affects agriculture. However, for centuries people have believed that the moon plays an important role in bringing forward new life and often plan their gardening chores around the lunar phases. Before scientific knowledge, it was the tides, lunar phases and celestial bodies which influenced human activity, especially on the harvest. The moon has been scientifically known to influence human behaviour, weather and nature, so why not the harvest?

The Moon’s Influence on Gardening

Farmers’ Almanacs, both ancient and modern, provide useful tips on how to organically plant according to the lunar phase. The moon is thought to influence germination, root and leaf growth, therefore planting according to lunar phases can both increase and speed up the germination process. This is because plants respond to the same gravitational tides as do the oceans, which are also influenced by the moon. When the moon creates a gravitational tide, it also causes moisture to be released into the ground, encouraging crops to thrive.

Lunar Phases

Each lunar phase produces optimal results for different types of crops, and it is important to plant correctly to yield ancient horticultural success.

Waxing-- During the new moon phase, it is ideal to sow plants that produce their seeds outside the fruit above the ground. Waxing moons provide an increase in light, while lunar gravity pulls water up into the soil. Ideal crops to plant during this phase include spinach, celery, cabbage, broccoli, corn, lettuce, flowers and herbs. Fertilizers also seem to work best when applied during a new moon.

In the second quarter, moonlight tends to be strong, encouraging leafy growth. Ideal crops to plant are ones that produce seeds inside pods or skins, for example - peas, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and grapes.

During the full moon phase, plants are said to be in equilibrium. Harvest is best collected during an autumn full moon, when produce and herbs are reportedly at their most ripe and potent.

In the third quarter, the gravitational pull is high, but the moon is in its waning face and therefore the presence of moonlight is reduced. To profit from increased moisture surge in the soil, root vegetables which grow below the soil will benefit primarily from this phase. Trees, shrubs, carrots, onions, potatoes, beets and radishes flourish well in this phase.

In the fourth quarter, there is both decreased gravitational pull and moonlight - planting is not recommended at all in this phase. Instead, the fourth quarter waning moon should be used for pruning and sheering.

Astrological Sign Planting

Another method of lunar planting, which examines other celestial consideration, is planting according to the astrological signs of the zodiac. The moon moves through various signs every few days. To maintain even greater equilibrium and harmony, consider respecting the astrological elements in addition to lunar cycles.

When the moon passes through fertile water signs, plant above ground. When the moon passes through earth signs, opt for root crops and transplanting. When the moon is in a fire or air sign, harvest and cultivate or prune.

Enjoying Your Moon Garden

Once planted, be sure to add an element of magical beauty to the harvest of your moon garden by decorating it according to the astrological elements. Add a small waterfall or fountain to represent water, rocks to represent earth, lanterns or light to represent fire and sweet smelling flowers to represent air.

If you are looking for moon garden decor and agricultural tools for your new moon garden, consider purchasing equipment from Argos, discount vouchers and Argos discount codes can be a convenient method of saving money on such purchases, and are easily found online.


Susan in the Pink Hat said...

Sorry, I'm not buying it. Ancient peoples used the moon to time when to plant because they had no calendars and no reliable method to mark the passage of the seasons beyond observation. This often led to the moon phases being asynchronous with the solstices and equinoxes, which were and still are a better guide for when to plant. As for this talk about gravitational pulls and planting out under the appropriate sign, I'm equally skeptical. Is there any scientific research to back this up? Has the gardener done her own experiments with a control garden based on modern frost dates and such?

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

i suppose both has great influence over life on earth, lunar and solar. A person i know which is less than normal, would talk and talk to himself when the moon is full. That is some kind of indication....


Anonymous said...

Native Americans are some of the best gardeners with very prolific crops and are well known for using the moon's phases as a planting, cultivating and harvesting guide. Also, it occurs to me that if females of all species experience menses according to the phases of the moon, it is not much of a stretch to think it could effect crops. Tides are effected, so many things. Crime rises according to full moon phases. Why should growing things be immune to this gravitational force?

Ewa said...

Susan, this is not shamanism - there are scientific studies that proof plant's life cycle and lunar cycle dependency. Plants consist in 75-90% of water - if moon influences oceans why do you think it can't influence plants?
If you care to shake your skepticism search for scientific studies: Maria Thun, Brown (1954), Abrami (1972), Wachsmuth (1951), Abele (1973), Graf (1977) or Spiess (1978)