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Gardening by the Moon

Updated on October 15, 2018
Jean Bakula profile image

Jean loves gardening, remaining undaunted by the bedrock and clay terrain she contends with in the wooded area where she lives.

Learn Your Moon Phases

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Using Moon Phases in Gardening

People in our times think it is unusual to plant gardens according to the moon’s phases and astrology signs, probably because many of them live in cities, and never learned much about the natural rhythms of the Earth. But in the last centuries, many farmers used almanacs to guide their planting schedules, which normally cite the phase of the moon. The ancient Egyptians, American Indian, and Amazon cultures used astrology for many things, but planting was definitely one of them. There are also other gardening activities which matter besides the actual planting; cultivation, fertilizing, irrigation, weeding, getting rid of pests, and harvesting. The following system is one based on observation and experimentation of Llewellyn George, the well known astrologer, and a scientist named Dr. Clark Timmins.

Gardening During Waxing or Waning Moons

From the new moon to the full moon, or during the increasing or waxing moonlight, it is good to plant annuals which produce their yield above the ground. Annuals are plants that complete their entire life cycle in one growing season, and must be reseeded again in the next year. From the full moon to the new moon, or during the decreasing or waning light, plant biennials, which are planted in one season, then winter over and produce crops the next season. Winter wheat is an example of this.

Perennials are good to plant in this moon phase as well, as these are bulb and root plants which grow from the same root and return every year. One reason I like crocus, daffodil, and tulip bulbs is because they are planted in fall, and when they bloom in spring, it feels like one has a beautiful garden with no work. There was work, of course, but it’s already done, and the fruits of labor can just be enjoyed.

An easier, but less accurate rule, is to plant crops that produce above the ground during the waxing moon, and plant crops that produce below the ground during the waning moon. This is why many people plant potatoes during the dark of the moon. Llewellyn George divided the lunar month into four quarters. The first two from the new moon to full moon are the first and second quarters, and the last two from the full moon to the new moon are the third and fourth quarters. By using this system, many people, including myself, have had success in getting our gardening efforts to coincide with the moon’s natural cycles.

Planting by Moon's Quarters

During the first quarter it is best to plant annuals that yield above the ground, generally leafy plants which produce seeds outside the fruit. A few examples are broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, endive, kohlrabi, lettuce, parsley, and spinach. Cucumbers are the exception to this rule, they do better in the first quarter. Cereals and grains also get a good start during the moon’s first quarter.

The second quarter is the time to plant annuals which produce their yield above the ground, but grow on vines, and produce their seed inside the fruit. Some examples of these types are beans, eggplants, melons, peas, peppers, pumpkins, squash, and tomatoes. These are not rules you must follow exactly, think of them more as guidelines. But try to play around with the planting and the moon phases, and make note of what plants do better during each phase.

During the third quarter plant biennials, perennials, bulbs, root plants, trees, shrubs, berries, grapes, strawberries, beets, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas, radishes, peanuts, rhubarb, and winter wheat.

The fourth quarter is the best Moon phase to cultivate, turn the soil, pull weeds, and destroy pests.

Astrology Symbols as Used in an Almanac or Moon Sign Book

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Gardening According to Moon's Astrological Sign Position

The astrology sign the moon is in also has an effect on your garden. Let us take a look at the twelve zodiac signs and see how each either helps or hurts our gardens:

Moon in Aries—this is a dry, barren, masculine sign, best used for destroying weeds. Since it’s a good time for beginnings, you may want to turn the soil and prepare it for planting.

Moon in Taurus—this is a productive sign where the Earth will be moist. Since it is a fixed sign, it is well used for plants which need to be hardy, such as root crops, and leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and cabbage. Flowers planted in a Taurus moon will also be hardy and especially pretty, since Taurus is ruled by Venus. Taurus also rules the throat, so try singing as you garden. Studies have shown that indigenous people of the Amazon were advised by their Shamans that plants enjoy hearing music. Maybe it helps your plants to know you are happy. Sing a tune as you plant, what do you have to lose?

Moon in Gemini—This is another masculine, barren, dry, and airy sign. Use it for destroying noxious growths, pests and weeds, or for taking some time for cultivation. This would also be a good time to plan new crops or flowers you may want to try, to mix it up a little.

Moon in Cancer—This is a very fruitful and moist sign, great for planting and irrigation. Since Cancer is the most nurturing sign, and we nurture our plants that do the best, this is really a good time to plant mostly anything. You may sing to your plants when the Moon is in Cancer too, or just give them a nice pep talk! (If they talk back, you are on your own)!

Moon in Leo— Leo moons are best saved for killing weeds. But if you do have success with a plant here, it will be one of those stubborn plants you have that refuses to die, and keeps on growing despite anything. It will look pretty too.

Moon in Virgo—This is a feminine, earthy, and moist sign, but somewhat barren, due to Virgo’s ruler Mercury. Save it for cultivation and getting rid of weeds and pests. Fussy plants won't like to be planted at this time. This is also a good time to read more to learn new things about planting that will benefit your garden.

Moon in Libra—This is a semi-fruitful sign, moist, and airy. Use it to plant crops that need good pulp growth. Libra is a great sign for planting flowers and vines though, they will look very nice, and “creep” the way you want them to go. This is also a good time for seeding hay and corn.

Moon in Scorpio—this is a feminine and fruitful sign, watery and moist. It is productive like Cancer, but the plants may be hardier due to the fact it is a fixed sign. It makes sturdy plants and vines. Water sign moon plants like music, so you may sing again or play some music. Scorpio is a dark sign, so try some punk rock or grunge.

Moon in Sagittarius—this is a barren, dry, and masculine sign. It is good for planting onions, seeding hay, and for cultivation. A Sagittarius moon is a good time to review your planting schedule or make a few adjustments.

Moon in Capricorn— This is an earthy, feminine sign, dry, yet productive. Use it for planting potatoes and other tubers. The plants will be strong and will do well. Capricorn Moon is the best for planning future gardens or reviewing your goals for yield.

Moon in Aquarius—This is masculine, airy, dry. and barren. Use for cultivation and getting rid of pests. You may have new ideas regarding how you want to plant or display certain areas.

Moon in Pisces— This is a very fruitful, moist, feminine, watery sign. Watch these plants carefully, they will be the weakest of those planted in the water signs. It is, however, very good for root growth. You may sing to your plants in the Pisces moon too, or offer gentle encouragement. They may need a few kind words, but will reward you with fragile beauty.

Experiment With Moon Gardening On Your Own

You will need to experiment a little bit to get it right, and see which plants grow better for you in each sign and moon phase. You may choose to use the phases, or the astrology signs, or both. Most regular calendars show the moon phases on them, or you can buy a farmer’s almanac. Llewellyn puts out a moon sign book and calendar every New Year, normally available in stores the fall before the end of the calendar year.

I have had my best success with flowers in water sign moons, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. The prettiest flowers can be planted in the water signs, or also in Taurus or Libra. A Taurus Moon will yield a hardier plant, so you may want to plant a more expensive tree or bush in that moon, something that is an investment, or a tradition in your family. Flowering trees, bushes, and flowers planted in the Libra Moon are always very good looking. I try to plant my fall bulbs in September or October, in one of the above moons. I prefer the astrology sign method, and remember that the moon stays in each astrology sign for about 2 and ½ days. But I know others who have had good results using the moon phases. Of those, I have found the full moon to be the best. Happy gardening!

Earth's Moon

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© 2012 Jean Bakula

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    • Jean Bakula profile imageAUTHOR

      Jean Bakula 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      Yes, you are right. I think the trend I see is that people are realizing that they need to get more in alignment with the Earth and it's cycles. Although I am not Wiccan, I'm a Pagan at heart! Nice to see you again!

    • dariashakti profile image

      dariashakti 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I'm all about solar power if you are in a region where you can have it and afford it. Many of the hubs I write, I write because I think we are losing so much by being out of touch with the natural cycles of things. I think they more we literally "go with the flow" the happier we are. But first you have to know that there is an actual "flow" and that it is affecting you....

    • Jean Bakula profile imageAUTHOR

      Jean Bakula 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      Hello dariashakti,

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I get reminded pretty often how we get away from nature because I live on a one lane wooded road, and we lose our electricity fairly often. It's a shock to see how much we rely on lights, and how many items we need to plug in. I have electric heat too, so it can be really cold. We forget that's how people used to live when it was just according to the cycles of nature. It takes all day to do the things you need to do to have light, and then you go to bed, to wake up with the sun again.

    • dariashakti profile image

      dariashakti 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Nice article, nice choice of books....the moon affects us on so many levels--our breathing, our moods, our hormonal cycles...it's good to see an article like this that reminds us that all that is living is effected by the ebb and flow and cycles of nature...

    • Jean Bakula profile imageAUTHOR

      Jean Bakula 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      Hey Tonipet,

      Do you wear gardening gloves? You can buy thick, long ones. I don't like worms much either, but with the gloves you don't notice that much. Just a thought.

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      6 years ago from The City of Generals

      Great idea of using lights right in the area of the soil where you'd want to put plants into. Thank you. I really have to overcome my fear of those worms, I don't know why it puts me off every time, so I celebrate getting all my planting done without a sight of one. :=)Thanks Jean.

    • Jean Bakula profile imageAUTHOR

      Jean Bakula 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you lizyetter. You don't have to plant at nightime, the moon is in the sign or phase during the daylight hours too. I provided the chart, but just to show how it looks at night. Thanks for tweeting my article! Take care.

    • Jean Bakula profile imageAUTHOR

      Jean Bakula 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      Hi Patrice!

      Being Cancer, I began following the Moon signs and cycles closely when I began my study of Astrology so many years ago. I also check the signs depending on what activity I'm planning, especially if it is important to me. I have written about choosing wedding dates by the moon, but haven't discussed it much beyond that. Most people know everyone gets crazy in the Full Moons, I can't stand the way people drive then!

      Hello Tonipet,

      I have a GF who is younger than I, she has two young boys, ages 3 and 5, plus it's a household where the Grandparents live with her and her hubby, as they need some help in getting about. One night I came home and went past her house, and saw her kneeling in her front yard, gardening. It was dark out, so I got out of the car. She actually had her headlights facing the area she was trying to put plants into, so she could see. So some people garden late at night because they have no time! You don't have to plant at night though, the moon changes signs every 2 and 1/2 days, so you have plenty of daylight time to garden (unless you have little ones, like my friend). I'm not a fan of worms either, I were those cheap throwaway gloves.

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      6 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi Jean. I've heard and seen of people planting at night but never had an idea of how the moon has something to do w/ it. This is amazing, thank you. I think it's going to be hard for me as I won't be able to see the earthworms that scares me a lot! Lol. Voting this one up. Thanks.

    • profile image

      PWalker281 

      6 years ago

      While I'm not much of a gardener, I do follow the moon's phases and plan my activities accordingly. Generally speaking, life flows a lot easier when I do, so it makes sense that gardening by the moon's phases would produce good results. This is a great guide for people who might want to try it. Voted up, useful and interesting, and shared.

    • lizyetter profile image

      Elizabeth Yetter 

      6 years ago from Oley, PA

      Good article. Tweeted.

    • Jean Bakula profile imageAUTHOR

      Jean Bakula 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      Hello Mhatter99, thank you for your kind words. My son is reading about Lewis Carroll right now, I would guess you are a fan of Alice?

      Hi mirandalabelle, thanks for your votes! I think the moon gardening works, but you have to experiment with the phases and the astrology signs. I have shady property and awful soil, so I mostly stick with flowering shrubs and flowers.

    • mirandalabelle profile image

      Miranda La Belle 

      6 years ago from Dunedin, Florida

      SO wonderful and helpful. Votes UP all around :)

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      fascinating article! thanks

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