Planting by the Moon

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fullmooncrop.gif (180x176 -- 14233 bytes)Planting by the Moon


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Since prehistoric times, man has been planting and harvesting crops according to the phases of the moon.  In a nutshell, it means that various plants do best when planted or harvested at certain phases.  

All crops that produce their yield above ground should be planted during the Waxing (New to Full) Moon.  The first week is especially good for crops that have their seeds on the outside, and the second week (between the 1st quarter and the Full Moon) is best for crops that produce seeds on the inside.

During the waning Moon (Full to New Moon) is the time to plant root crops.  No planting is to be done on the day of the New Moon or Full Moon.

You can scroll through the moon planting charts for previous and future months by clicking on the arrows on the moon calendar at right.  The dates will reflect your side of the international date line, IF your computer clock is set right!  You can click here to Add this page to your Favorites so you can check for the best dates for garden chores, and plan ahead.

Please note, the chart is best viewed in Internet Explorer, and requires JavaScript to be installed and enabled.

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How Does it Work?

As the Moon revolves around the Earth every 28 days, it reflects differing amounts of sun depending on its angle toward the light of the sun.  This diagram shows how the Moon moves around the Earth, and the moons depicted in the outermost ring show how it looks to us from Earth.  As you can see, the intermediate phases between the new moon, first quarter, full moon, and last quarter are called "crescent" and "gibbous" and serve to further subdivide the phases.


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The theory is that increasing moonlight is best for annuals that bear their fruit above ground, and decreasing moonlight is best of those that are root crops.  The full moon and the new moon are considered "barren" signs when no planting should be done at all, and planting should not be done on Sundays or on the first or last quarter days for similar reasons.

More on the Details

moonbar.gif (256x32 -- 1525 bytes) This represents all the phases of the moon, "waning"  from the full moon at left to the new moon at center, then "waxing" to the third quarter moon at right.  In all cases, never plant on Sundays, or the day of the Full, New, First or Second Quarter moon.

The next part gives more detail on the concept of using the moon as a guide to gardening. Most devotees of this practice are people who believe in astrology, but you don't have to believe in astrology to believe that the moon has influence over earthly events.  After all, the tides are determined by the moon.  Genesis 1:14 states that God put the "light in the heavens...for signs and for seasons..." so let's give these celestial tools a try.

halfbar1.gif (160x32 -- 1293 bytes)Increasing Light: The period from the new moon to the full moon, which is the period in which the light is increasing, is best for planting annuals which provide their yield above the ground.

halfbar2.gif (159x32 -- 1261 bytes)Decreasing Light: The period from the full moon to the new moon, when the light is decreasing, is best for planting biennials (those plants on a two-year cycle), perennials, and root and bulb crops. "Plant potatoes during the dark of the moon" is an old adage.

q1.gif (98x32 -- 1093 bytes)During the first quarter, or the time from the new moon to about half- full, plant annuals with above-ground yields, particularly leafy plants which produce their seed outside the fruit. Some examples of first quarter plants are asparagus, cabbage, celery, endive, and spinach.

q2.gif (97x32 -- 1127 bytes)During the second quarter, or the time from the half-full to the full moon, plant annuals that have above-ground yields which are vining and produce seed inside the fruit. Second quarter plants include beans, peas, peppers, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Some plants, such as garlic, melons, hay, and grains and cereals, do well if planted in either the first or second quarter.

q3.gif (95x32 -- 1098 bytes)During the third quarter, from the full moon to half-full, plant biennials, perennials, bulb and root crops, any crops which are planted in one season to winter over and produce yields the following year, trees, and shrubs. Some third quarter plants include onions, potatoes, rhubarb, grapes, winter wheat, and berries.

q4.gif (97x32 -- 1094 bytes)During the fourth quarter, from half-full to new moon, cultivate, pull weeds, destroy pests, and turn sod.

Planting and Chores by the Moon

Waxing Moon Phase

Planting and Chores for the Waxing Phases

Remember - never plant on Sundays, or the days of the Full, New, 1st or 2nd Quarter Moon - see moon phase chart.

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Any time

  • Sow large areas during the waxing moon. Use this time to sow lawns, to put down sod and to plant wheat and grains.

  • Sow crops like leafy vegetables and flowers, which produce yield above ground and do not rely on extensive root development.

  • Always plant roses in the first or second quarter of the waxing moon.

  • Perform any grafting chores near the end of January. When grafting fruit or flower trees, cut grafts in the first or second quarter of the waxing moon.

  • Transplant and repot houseplants during the waxing moon so the plant can capitalize on the full moon growth.

  • In the first or second quarter of the waxing moon, take cuttings from plants you wish to propagate. Once the cuttings are rooted, pot in the first or second quarter of the waxing moon.

  • Water plants during the waxing moon.

  • Pick fruits and vegetables intended for immediate consumption. Salads are best when made with ingredients picked during a waxing moon. Because the water content of the ingredients is higher, salads are crunchier, juicier and free from woody, unpleasant textures.

  • Gather herbs that are to be used for their essential oils. Oil content is more concentrated at this time.

  • Water your compost heap.

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First Quarter

  • Plant flowers grown for beauty or fragrance in the first quarter of the waxing moon.

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Second Quarter

  • Plant cane, such as raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries, in the second quarter of the waxing moon.

  • During a period of drought, sow seeds when the moon is waxing, as close to the full moon as possible.

  • If plants need a food boost, it is a good idea to water down the fertilizer and add it to the soil in the second quarter, as close to the full moon as possible, particularly if the plants require phosphorus.

  • Harvest grapes to be used in winemaking as close to the full moon as possible. The grapes will retain more juice and bouquet.

Waning Moon Phase

Planting and Chores for the Waning Phases

Remember - never plant on Sundays, or the days of the Full, New, 1st or 2nd Quarter Moon - see moon phase chart.

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Any Time

  • Sow crops that produce their yield below ground. This includes root vegetables such as beets, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, onions and turnips.

  • Divide your perennials in the third or fourth quarter of the waning moon.

  • Start your compost heap during the waning moon. This phase aids in decomposition of plant matter.

  • Spread and turn compost and organic fertilizer.

  • Mulch in the third quarter. When mulching fruit trees or roses, leave a small space around the trunk or base of the plant.

  • Kill weeds and thin out plants.

  • In the late summer, mow your lawn in the waning moon to retard growth, if you live in an area with heavy summer rainfall.

  • Prune and cut back plants.

  • Harvest crops requiring long-term storage like apples, cabbage and potatoes.

  • Harvest flowers and seeds that will be stored until the next year.

  • Use the waning moon to help cut spring grass. This phase discourages growth and keeps your lawn under control.

  • The waning moon is a good time to dig herb roots or harvest leaves and bark intended to be used in medicinal teas. Herbs will retain maximum potency at this time and dry more easily.

  • Perform all drying activities. Dry herbs, flowers and fruit.

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Third Quarter

  • Always plant trees and saplings in the third quarter, waning moon, as well as plants that remain in the soil for more than one growing season. Successful fruit trees are generally those planted during the waning phase of the moon. This position of the moon encourages development of root growth and tree bark instead of forcing the plant to proliferate above ground before it has a strong grounding. Saplings with firmly established roots are less in danger of damage and deterioration due to loss of branches or top growth during the winter.

  • Plant strawberries or their runners in the third quarter of the moon. Most strawberries thin out and die because ground heaving during winter breaks their roots. Planting during the waning moon ensures that root growth is strong and well-developed, even before the plant begins to fruit.

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Fourth Quarter

  • If your crops require potassium, fertilize at the waning moon. Potassium absorption is at its peak at the new moon.

  • Always spray fruit trees in the fourth quarter of the waning moon.


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