How Does The Moon Affect Your Plants?
For as long as humans have been growing their own food, they have looked to the phases of the moon to guide their gardening practices. Although the origin of moon gardening was planted in traditional wisdom passed on through generations, the practice has recently attracted biological and horticultural research. This research has validated the impact phases of the moon, and its gravitational pull can have on soil and productivity.
The Moon, The Gravity, and The Garden
Moon gardening, also known as biodynamic agriculture, is the practice of using lunar rhythms as a calendar for when to schedule farming activities like planting, harvesting, and tiling. We’ve long known of the effect of the moon’s gravitational pull on our earth, most notably on the rise and fall of the tide. However, the moon’s gravitational pull also affects the activity within the earth’s crust and the moisture in our soil. During a full moon and new moon, more moisture is pulled to the soil surface. This means, more water will be absorbed by seeds during this period. With differing crops and plants requiring differing amounts of water, knowing the effect of the moon in each cycle is a beneficial tool to growing the perfect crops. Studies have shown seed germination, growth, and production of crops are impacted due to the lunar influences, so aligning your practices to the phases of the moon is a valuable avenue to prosperous growth.
The easiest way to witness the impact of gravity on your plants is to lay one on its side and watch how the gravitational pull will affect the direction of growth. You will notice the stem will grow upwards, regardless of the plant’s position. This is called negative geotropism, as it is growing away from the Earth’s gravity. Gravity will also work to pull roots downwards, deep into the soil, this is referred to as positive geotropism.
The Waxing and Waning Moon
Because the cyclical phases of the moon have long been studied by humans, the most fruitful times for planting and growing are well recorded. Moon gardening is often scheduled to two distinguishable moon phases, a waxing moon (between the new moon and the full moon) and a waning moon (between the full moon and new moon).
Above-ground crops will prosper when the moon is waxing, that is, just after the new moon. This is the best time to transplant or sow leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and cabbage. The first quarter, which occurs after the waxing crescent is a great time to start on your fruits and foods with external seeds.
Hold off on planting your below-ground crops (also referred to as ‘root crops’) until the moon is in its waning phase. This phase immediately follows a new moon. Root crops like potatoes, beets, onions, carrots, and fruit trees are going to produce the best results if planted during a waning moon. As the moonlight begins to decrease during this phase, your plants will be encouraged to grow their roots and bulbs. We suggest avoiding the plantain practices during the last quarter phase of the moon. That is, after a waning gibbous and before a full moon. During this period its best to focus on improving the crops you already have, rather than planting any new ones.
The effects of the moon on farming practices have been long documented and evidenced. Accounting for the phases of the moon will help to best maximise your yield and production. Not only that, but it serves as a costless advantage for farmers to utilise in their farming practices to improve results, without hardship or manual labour. In other words, no risk and all reward!