Lunar Gardening

If I were to say that you should garden based on the phase and position of the Moon, you would call me a lunatic! This is exactly what I remember thinking to myself when my uncle was very passionately explaining to me about full moon period for germinating seeds. This was until I searched this out on the internet and found tons of information on this. There’s even a separate term for it – it’s called Lunar gardening !

Lunar Gardening

Phases of Moon:

I have since started following the lunar calendar to plant my seeds and saplings and I am already seeing better results this way. It is a well researched and documented concept that the phase of the Moon affects the growth of the plant. As we all know the Moon grows through a cycle of waxing and waning from New Moon to Full Moon and back.

Lunar Gardening
Phases of moon

This rhythm begins at New moon when the moon is closest to the sun and is almost invisible. As the moon slowly moves away, it grows in size from a slender moon to a beautiful crescent and goes on to become the full moon where the round disc is at its roundest best. After approximately 29.5 days the rhythm begins again.

Effect of Lunar cycle on plants:

We all know that Moon has a significant effect over water – that the gravitational pull of the moon causes tides. Moon has an effect on water everywhere on earth- water in the sap of plants- not just in the seas.

During the 48 hours leading to the Full Moon, there is a distinct increase in the moisture content of the earth. An increase in the water content means that the seeds sown at this time would have more moisture content with more water absorbed – this aids in the seed pods breaking and germinating faster.

  • Quarter 1: At the new moon, the lunar gravity pulls water up, and causes the seeds to swell and burst. In the first quarter, that is from day 0 to 7 from the New Moon, the increasing moonlight creates balanced root and leaf growth. You can plant annuals at this time which produce their seeds outside the fruit like Spinach, Cauliflower, Lettuce, etc.

    Lunar Gardening
    Quarter 1: Day 1 to 7
  • Quarter 2: In the second quarter  i.e Day 8 to Day 15 (or the Full Moon) the gravitational pull is less but the moonlight is stronger and this helps in creating strong leaf growth. It is generally a good time for planting, especially two days before the full moon. Annual crops that produce seeds inside the fruit such as legumes, peppers, tomatoes etc must be planted now. Mow lawns in the second quarter to increase growth.

    Lunar Gardening
    Quarter 2: Day 8 to 14
  • Quarter 3: In the third quarter or after the full moon, the moonlight decreases but the gravitational pull is high. This is a good time for planting underground crops like carrots, onions, potatoes, and peanuts. It is also good for perennials, biennials, bulbs and transplanting because of the active root growth. Pruning is best done in the third quarter.

    Lunar Gardening
    Quarter 3: Day 16 to 21
  • Quarter 4: In the fourth quarter i.e towards the New Moon there is decreased gravitational pull and moonlight and so is a resting period. This is the time to harvest, transplant and  do ancillary activities.

    Lunar Gardening
    Quarter 4: Day 22 to 28

Tips on Lunar Gardening:

Farmers over centuries have identified noticeable effects of the Full Moon on plant growth.Based on scientific research, we know of the following New Moon and Full Moon influences:

  • Just before and during Full Moon there is quick germination of seeds, fast growth and elongation of plants, any regrowth of cut/pruned/mown vegetation.
  • Seed germination is faster but seeds might get turgid and be prone to fungus, particularly in humid conditions during Full Moon.
  • Full Moon influence allows good absorption of liquid manures. 
  • Often there is a tendency for rain during Full Moon.
  • Towards New Moon there is more activity underground in the soil, and the flow of sap in plants is less strong.
  • The effects of the lunar cycle are more prominent on organic soil or soil which is not treated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Eclipses are an absolute no-no period for any planting.
Lunar Gardening
New moon is best time to start seeds

So plan your Garden according to lunar cycle and share your experiences.

Happy Lunar Gardening!

Written by Gitanjali Rajamani for GreenMyLife.'

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