• Heidi

Gardening By the Moon

Gardening by the moon, done since agriculture began, is one aspect of biodynamic planting.  I have come to learn that the term biodynamic planting has many layers; the main focus being soil health. Biodynamic farming is operating in a way to create a self-supporting, or closed loop system.  The waste from one part of the farm (livestock manure, food scraps, leaf litter, etc.) becomes energy for another part (compost for soil). Some people use what are called biodynamic preparations that could involve taking a farm animals horn that has shed, stuffing it with manure or other solution and burying it in the soil over the winter to ferment and then digging it up in the spring.  You would make a spray out of the rich humus inside of the horn and spray it on the soil.  It all becomes very symbiotic and pretty amazing. 

I am a vegetarian and truthfully, my dogs would mess with any animal I attempted to raise (my female brought me a neighbors' chicken once, ugh!)  So, we do not practice biodynamic preparations, but what is familiar to me is the notion of gardening by the phase of the moon AND by the sign of the moon (if at all possible).  


Let's peel the layers back a bit and take a closer look.  First there is the idea of planting by the phase of the moon (new, 2nd quarter, etc.).  In my opinion, this is one of the more commonly followed practices since there is some science backing it.....making it more accepted main stream. The concept behind this is to work with the moon's gravitational pull and light.

  • New Moon = lunar gravity pulls the water up and causes seeds to swell and burst.  Best time to plant leafy annuals (spinach, broccoli)

  • 2nd Quarter Moon = gravitational pull is less, but moonlight is getting stronger, creating healthy leaf growth (beans, tomatoes, peas)

  • Full Moon = gravitational pull is high, creating more moisture in the soil.  As the moon creeps towards 4th quarter the light is diminishing, putting more energy into roots.  Favorable time for carrots, beets.

  • 4th Quarter Moon = decreased gravitational pull and less light = resting period.  Best time to cultivate, harvest and mow to retard growth of grass.


Another layer to pile on top of the moon's phases is to pay attention to what astrological sign the moon is currently in.  Each astrological sign has an element associated with it and this is what some gardeners pay attention to.

  • Water/leaf sign = fertile, good for planting above ground leafy vegetables, water shrubs

  • Fire/fruit-seed = barren and dry, prune fruit trees, harvest fruits and vegetables that you plan to store

  • Earth/root = fertile, especially good for underground crops and for transplanting to encourage root development. 

  • Air/flower = barren and dry, Libra is an exception to that rule, and is semi-fertile and good for blooming flowers and herbs, vines, tubers and roots.  Harvest melons under a Gemini moon and onions under an Aquarian moon.

Now you can begin to combine the concepts, like transplant root veggies in a 3rd quarter earth sign.  Weed when Leo is in 4th quarter so seeds won't sprout.  Take a look at the table to below that makes it easier to utilize the moon phases along with the astrological signs.


Image taken from gardeningbythemoon.com

I also prefer to weed during a full moon. I envision things/thoughts/ideas that I want to release as I am pulling the weeds from the ground.  Also, the heat kills me and in the summer months it is nice to weed by moonlight.  I used to try to weed with a headlamp, but unfortunately that attracts every annoying bug right to my face:(  I would be very interested to hear about anyone experiences with bio-dynamic preparations.  


Any of you garden by the moon? Not a gardener? Think about how your life is effected by the phases and the signs of the moon.  Is there a certain phase/sign where you are more inward?Is there a particular time when you like to shine?

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