Moon gardening has been passed down through many generations. "There are firm believers in moon gardening today who will not plant anything unless a favorable moon sign is indicated," says Ed Hume, one of the Pacific Northwest's favorite garden gurus and proponent of the moon's influences on gardening. The moon controls ocean tides, influences the groundwater tables beneath our feet and the movement of fluids in plants. Even continental land masses are said to rise 2 to 3 feet in elevation with the passage of the moon. Understanding the effects, and timing your gardening chores accordingly, is the basis of moon gardening. For example, the best time to turn over garden soil is during the last quarter of the moon (decreasing moon phase) because that's when the water table has dropped to its lowest point. This means there is less moisture in the soil. Taking your back into consideration, it is easier to turn soil over when there is less moisture in it!
How to garden by moon phases:
The moon moves through a complete cycle every 29 days. For moon gardening purposes, this cycle is divided into four quarters or phases. The term phase refers to the moon's apparent shape as viewed from earth during the month. To plant by the moon phases you will need an almanac or calendar as planting guide, that lists the exact time and date of the moon phases. The lunar month starts with the new moon, also called "the dark of the moon". From the new moon to the first quarter and from the first quarter to the full moon, the moon appears to grow from nothing to a crescent and then to a full circle at mid-month. This is Increasing Light-called waxing phase.
Examples of garden chores to do by waxing phase (NOTE: These are general guidelines):
Repot and groom houseplants
Sow seeds of plants that grow above ground
Graft fruit trees
Plant evergreen and deciduous trees
The decreasing or waning phases are When the moon "shrinks" from the full moon down to the new moon, it's Decreasing Light-called waning phases. . As the moon wanes during the 3rd and 4th quarters, this is a good time to prune plants, as the water table is diminishing and so less sap will flow out of the cut ends. The plants are said to orient themselves toward their roots, making this a favorable time for planting, transplanting and harvesting root crops in general. The 4th quarter is the most dormant period and is good for chores like weeding.
Examples of garden chores to do by waning phase (NOTE: These are general guidelines):
Plant crops that grow below the ground, such as potatoes, carrots
Plant biennials and perennials because they need strong roots
How is sowing, transplanting and harvesting linked to phases of the moon? One theory is that during the waxing phase of the Moon, sap is flow more strongly, filling plants with vitality and energy, favoring the planting and harvesting of crops that mature above ground.