How to Use the Moon’s Power to Help Your Garden

Planting crops based on the phases of the moon is an ancient practice thatís said to increase plant vitality and increase vegetable yields. It can also help guide you on the best times to harvest crops, maintain your garden and care for indoor plants. These are some of the basics to get started.

How does the Moon affect your garden?

We know the Moonís gravitational pull is strong enough to influence the Earthís oceans and cause tides. Lunar gardening suggests that the Moonís gravity also affects the water within soils.

Itís said ground water rises as the moon waxes (becomes fuller), and then drops as the moon wanes (gets smaller). This means that plants and seeds planted during a waxing moon phase will have more water available for upward vegetative growth. Whereas, the waning moon phase is better for below-ground root growth as ground water recedes.

Very little research has been done around this concept, but you can do your own test on how the moon affects moisture levels in your soil. Many gardeners who consistently use lunar gardening techniques swear by its results.

How does lunar gardening work?

Lunar gardening recommends what you should do in the garden during each phase of the moon. The Moon goes through a complete cycle every 29 days, which is then broken into quarters as shown in the diagram below.

The primary phases of the moon are known as waxing and waning. The waning moon starts when the moon is full and ends when the moon is the smallest, known as the new moon. The waxing moon starts with the new moon and ends when the moon is full.

Most calendars have symbols that show the full moon, new moon and often the quarters in between. This is all you need to start planning your lunar gardening activities. If you want to explore this method in more depth, various lunar calendars and gardening almanacs are available. The Farmerís Almanac is one of the best-known resources on planting around moon phases.

Moon Phases

Gardening Tasks in Each Moon Phase

1. First Quarter (Waxing)

This quarter starts with a new moon and goes until the moon is half-full. Water is rising in the soil and more available for seeds and young plants.

  • Plant vegetables grown for their leaves and above-ground parts, such as cabbage, lettuce, grains and celery. These vegetables also produce seeds on external flowers instead of fruit.
  • Plant annual flowers and ornamental flowering shrubs.
  • Water your garden well, including your compost.
  • Graft or take cuttings of fruit and ornamental trees.
  • Transplant and repot houseplants.
  • Later in the season, pick fruits and vegetables intended for immediate use, such as salad greens. Water content should be higher during this moon phase, so your fresh veggies will be crunchier and juicier.

2. Second Quarter (Waxing)

This quarter starts with a half-full moon and ends when the moon is full. Moonlight is becoming stronger during this phase, which can promote vigorous leaf growth in seedlings and other plants.

  • Plant above-ground vegetables that produce their seeds inside fruit, such as beans, squash, tomatoes and peas.
  • Plant berries, such as raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries.
  • If needed, give your crops a light fertilizing with compost or other organic feed.

Moon over garden

3. Third Quarter (Waning)

This quarter starts with the full moon and ends when it is half full. Strong root development is a key part of this moon phase as ground water starts to move downwards.

  • Plant vegetable root crops, such as potatoes, beets, melons, parsnips, carrots, peanuts and onions.
  • Plant ornamental bulbs as well as biennial and perennial flowers, including strawberries.
  • Plant trees to encourage strong root growth.
  • Divide perennial plants.
  • Spread mulch where needed.

4. Fourth Quarter (Waning)

This quarter starts with a half-full moon and ends with the new moon. The ground water table is lowest during this moon phase and plant growth is slowest, making it an excellent time for maintenance tasks. It is also a good time for harvesting because the low moisture levels reduce the likelihood of rotting.

  • Remove weeds and unwanted plants.
  • Mow your lawn because mowing will retard its growth during this moon phase.
  • Start your compost, or turn your existing compost pile. This moon phase promotes decomposition.
  • Prune and trim perennials, shrubs and trees.
  • Spray fruit trees if needed.
  • Till or cultivate your gardenís soil.
  • Harvest flowers and seeds for next year.
  • Dry herbs, flowers or fruit for later use.
  • Harvest long-term storage crops, such as potatoes, cabbage, or apples.

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90 comments

Kelly S
Past Member about a year ago

so cool!!!!!!!!!!

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Debra Tate
Debra Tateabout a year ago

Interesting, thank you!

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Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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Edith B
Edith B1 years ago

My mother in law always gardened by the moon phases. She had super crops every year.

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Maritza D
Maritza D2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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