What if we gardened with the moon?

The moon in a blue sky influcencing hazy tree leaves in the foreground.

Gardening with the moon, sure! But how?

Gardeners have always observed with fascination the impact of the moon on plants they were growing.

Vigor, strength, appeal: fruits, flowers and vegetables are much nicer depending on the phases of the moon.

So how can we learn to use the influence of such a faraway celestial body?

What makes full moon days so special? Follow a few statements that moon gardeners have offered for thought.

What’s best for moon gardening, waxing or waning?

The phenomenon of waxing moon and waning moon is quite easy to understand and to apply to the garden. Harvest-boosting waxing moon is the span of time between new moon and full moon. It lasts about a fortnight.

In the northern hemisphere, the waxing moon looks like an upside-down letter C. During this phase, plants resist diseases much better. For the gardener, time to splurge: pruning plants, harvesting fruits and flowers will let the plant grow back more vigorously. Fruits will ripen over a longer period and flowers cut during a waxing moon will hold for much longer in a vase.

To define the waning moon, simply look at the lit portion of the celestial body. If the “C” letter is upright, in the northern hemisphere, then it’s the last moon quarter. At this exact moment, plants send their sap to the tips of branches. It’s the ideal time to fertilize the soil. Vegetables and plants tend to be a bit more tired at this time, and fruits are more tasty and have a stronger fragrance.

Barren or bad gardening days and “flower” days

Eclipse of the moon, taken 2019-01-21Every gardener who pays attention to the moon knows that there are days on which to avoid gardening. These are called barren days. Actually, it is a time given for the soil to rest.

There are 4 days every month for which the moon doesn’t have any influence, or even possibly a bad influence: these are the 4 special days when the Earth and Moon are closest or furthest apart, or when the orbit of the earth meets the orbit of the moon. Simply let your gardens rest on those days.

As for full moon days, don’t expect too much of them. That is the best day to plant your root crops (turnip, radish, carrot….) but that’s all. Your harvests will also be more tasty, but don’t go expecting a miracle: your tomatoes won’t double in size!

Flower days are the days best suited for planting flowers. You can plant bulb flowers, repot new plants, etc… Thus, the month shows root days, leaf days, flower days and fruit days as days wear on.

You can check the perfect time to start your organic vegetable patch with a lunar calendar that will help you set up your timing to fit into the moon’s long cycle!

Example: moon phase gardening for February

The first two weeks of February are waxing moon days, and from February 1st to 3rd, you can start sowing, in seed trays indoors (around 68°F or 20°C), eggplant, tomato, bell pepper and chili. It’s also time to sow pickle, cucumber, melon, watermelon, squash (like red kuri squash) and zucchini. Those first few days are fruit days.

Around Saint Valentine’s day, from February 13th to 15th, root days indicate that time has come to sow carrot, radish, onion, root celery and to start germinating potato.

On February 19th and 20th, perfect time to prune your apple and pear trees. Also prune every apricot tree and peach tree, and generally remove all fruit that has shriveled up while still on the branches. Use Bordeaux mixture to eradicate fungus before spring takes off.

At the end of the month, on February 26th and 27th, come two leaf days. Transplant lettuce that you might have sown under cover mid-January. Sow new seeds directly in the ground. If it doesn’t freeze, these are perfect days to plant fruit trees and prune most deciduous trees. Remove moss from the lawn since grass will take off without harm. Prune boxwood tree hedges and topiary.

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