Is gardening by the moon a real thing or is it all a bit woo, and best left to the ‘lunatics’?
– lets take a brief look at what moon gardening is all about.
Gardening by the lunar cycle can be a bit confusing when you are first learning the basics, particularly because the second quarter or half moon is actually what we talk about in our regular day as being the full moon!
The basic idea is that your gardening tasks (planting, pruning, mowing, weeding etc) are done to coincide with the changing phases of the moon.
The lunar month is split into four pretty much equal parts [phases] starting with new moon; and it takes the moon around 29.5 days to complete a full cycle [orbit] around the Earth
New Moon Phase
From the new moon [crescent moon or dark moon] to the first quarter moon.
The moon is growing bigger (waxing) in this phase, and it appears that living things experience an upsurge of energy.
Sap rises during this period.
Best time for: planting, grafting and transplanting leafy annuals, and for planting cereal and grain crops.
It’s a great time to mow the lawn to encourage growth, prune many plants and provide liquid fertiliser.
First Quarter Phase
From first quarter to second quarter [full moon] The moon is still growing bigger (waxing) in this phase, and the sap is still flowing.
Best time for: still a great time for starting things off and even better for planting, grafting and transplanting fruiting annuals.
For example plants that produce above the ground and have their seeds inside like tomatoes, capsicums, beans and peas.
Cereals and grains can also still be planted now, and it’s still okay to fertilise if needed.
Gardening is not recommended in the 12 hours before or after the full moon.
Full Moon Phase
From 12 hours after the full Moon, to the third quarter
It is said that all living things are at the peak of their energy during the full moon phase.
Think about the stories you’ve heard (or experienced!!) of people getting a little crazy around this time.
It’s all about the energy baby!!!
Best time for: it the perfect time for planting bulbs, and root crops that produce underground, with the sap now flowing downwards.
The moon is growing smaller (waning) in this phase.
Pruning and harvesting is also recommended during this phase.
Avoid planting foliage and edible plants during this phase, as their initial growth might well be impressive, but they are more likely to wane over time (just like the moon).
Last Quarter Phase
From third quarter to new moon [dark moon]
This phase is considered ‘barren’ which can be translated as …welllllllll… a bit boring to some – as it’s not the ideal time to be playing with plants, as germination is lower and regrowth slower at this time.
However, if you think of it in terms of not only getting a bit of rest; but that it’s also a great time to be able to get everything ready to be ‘all guns blazing’, once the new moon has passed!
This is the best time for: doing all those fiddly jobs in the garden.
The ones we often put off like weeding, cultivating, pest control, building new beds, raking, fertilising and general tidying.
Preparing beds for impending planting is a perfect job to do during this time, and it’s also the best time to mow lawns, particularly if you’re hoping to slow down the growth of the grass.
So… back to that pesky question you were wondering about: “Does this lunatic moon caper actually work?”.
Well – many say it does work, and equally as many say it doesn’t matter one way or another.
Whatever side of the debate you believe in – it certainly won’t do any harm for you to try it out!
For us – its something we do choose to implement into our growing and gardening practice – but we also figure that as long as you’re out in the garden as much as you can be, getting dirt under your fingernails and growing yourself (and maybe others) some food and flowers – then you’re already waaaay ahead of the pack!
Happy Gardening + Steady Growth 🌿
Rhythm of Nature: https://au.rhythmofnature.net/gardener-calendar