Planting by the Moon

May the Force be with you while sowing seeds, mowing the lawn, pruning roses, composting, watering and more!
By Marion Owen, Fearless Weeder for PlanTea, Inc. and Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul

My friend Amy sometimes braces herself before going to work. Amy works at the hospital and when the moon is full, those nights in the emergency room are, as she calls it, “memorable.”

Many scientists insist that the myth that a full moon affects the behavior of humans, animals and plants is a bunch of baloney. But police, bartenders and folks like Amy will tell you otherwise.

Before I go further, let me tease you with a possibility: What if mowing your lawn during certain phases of the moon retarded growth which meant you didn’t have to mow as often? Keep reading. I bet you won’t be shaking your head much longer!

According to a National Geographic news article more gardeners today are turning to the moon for sage advice on the best time to plant, prune, weed, and harvest. The practice, known as moon or lunar gardening, centers on the moon’s gravitational effect on the flow of moisture in soil and plants.
Gardening by the moon is as old as time. Long before man (and women!) ever had a watch on his wrist or a calendar on the refrigerator, everything was governed by the phases of the moon.

May the Force be with you!

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. Hume publishes an annual Garden Almanac which gives month by month moon sign gardening calendar — you can buy your own copy for just $1.49 through my online catalog.

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!