Have you ever thought of planning your gardening activities by the cycles of the moon? Lunar gardening is the oldest gardening practice known to man. It does not surprise me to think that gardening by the phases of the moon can actually work. The moon has a great influence on our planet. The energy of the moon is most evident in the tides of large bodies of water. The moon is just as powerful, though not so obvious, to underground water tables and in the microscopic world of soil moisture. Ultimately, lunar gardening is based on the gravitational effect that the moon on soil moisture and plant growth.

Because of the influence of the moon on our planet, this may seem to be a good method to plan garden activities. The lunar cycle lasts about 29.5 days and is broken down into 4 quarters, full moon, waning moon, and new moon, waxing moon. Lunar gardening “rules” are easy to remember. It is thought that moisture in the soil is highest when the moon is waxing, moving towards becoming a full moon. Planting may be more successful during this first lunar quarter, tides and soil moisture content are at their highest. The waning moon, from full moon to the last quarter, is when moonlight, tides and moisture content are at the lowest. It is thought this is the best time to till the soil because weed seeds will not germinate as well.

Determining the phase of the moon is easy. On clear evenings, take a look at the moon each evening. The full moon and new are obvious. If the moon has a crescent shape there’s a little trick to decide if the moon is waxing or waning. Imagining a vertical line against the crescent, if it forms a lower case “b” (think bright) then the moon is waxing. If it forms a lower case “d” (think dark) then the moon is in the waning quarter.

If  you would like to learn more about lunar gardening or moon phases, I have included a couple of links to follow:

http://www.thegardenerscalendar.com/Moon_Planting.asp

http://www.moongrow.com/moon_phase_gardening/gardening_by_moon_phases.html

http://stardate.org/nightsky/moon

Happy Gardening!