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Planting by the Moon

Here are some quick tips for planting, harvesting, and tending your garden based on the phases of the moon -- and why it makes sense.

Don't worry--I'm not going to break into song, as in "when the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars," but there is something to say about the moon when it comes to gardening.

Let's just look at this logically. The gravitational pull of the moon affects the tides. It makes sense, therefore, that the moon's relationship to the earth most likely affects groundwater as well. In fact, studies at major universities and other institutions support this fact. Therefore, doesn't it make sense to plant with the moon in mind?

This is a basic practice of Biodynamic gardening and farming, and it's also an age-old proven strategy that our ancestors learned to use after witnessing the results first-hand. Why not try it in your garden and see if it makes a difference? Here are the basics.

1. When the moon is waxing. As the moon starts to grow bigger in appearance in the night sky, the gravitational pull is higher. Therefore, this is a good time to encourage growth in your plants. Recommended actions include transplanting, grafting, fertilizing, and harvesting leafy greens and fruits that you intend to consumer right away as their water content is going to be higher during this time.

2. When the moon is full. That big, bright full moon is your sign that it's the ideal time to plant seeds. The high moisture level in soil will aid in their germination.

3. When the moon is waning. As the moon diminishes in appearance in the night sky, the moisture level in the soil recedes. Sound like a bad thing? Not at all! This time of the month is the perfect time for planting seeds that do most of their growing underground, such as root crops, or other plants that depend on robust root growth, such as trees. This is when you want to prune plants and divide perennials. Most importantly, especially after all your hard work and many hours spent tending your garden, this is when you want to harvest any fruits or vegetables that you intend to dry or root crops you intend to store as their water content will be lower than during the waxing or full moon.

4. When there is a new moon. When no moon is visible in the night sky, the water content of your soil is lowest, so pay extra attention to watering your garden as your plants will rely on you for this at this time.

Today is the last day of the waning moon, so you may want to check your sweet potatoes to see if you have your first ones to harvest. Feel around under the ground by the stem and you'll be able to tell. Just carefully snap off ones that seem big enough and leave any that still seem too small as they will continue to grow. If you still have carrots in the ground, now would be the ideal time to pull them up, if they seem ready. Look at the soil line and you will be able to see if the base of the carrot is sufficiently thick.

The relationship between the earth and moon is affected additionally by the moon's movement through the various constellations. If you want to find out more information about planting by the moon (often called lunar planting), stop by the Farmer D Organics store on Briarcliff Road and we'll point you in the direction of some helpful books on the topic, or check out our book offerings on our website.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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