The Peculiar Science of Moon Phase Gardening
Have you heard of gardening based on the moon phase? It's a fascinating practice, and while the concept may leave some of you skeptical, there's scientific support to back it up. The moon has a profound effect on earth—just look at the rising and falling tides that align with our lunar cycles! It makes sense that the changing phases influence plant life on earth, and by gardening with the lunar cycle in mind, we can produce some remarkable results.
Understanding Lunar Gardening: Planting with the Moon Phases
The moon's gravitational pull causes sea levels to rise, but it also causes moisture levels to rise in the soil! When all that moisture rises, your plants can access it more readily and remain hydrated longer. The moon also reflects light down onto our plants; in some cases, brighter moonlight can help certain plants. To simplify this approach to gardening, we've created a calendar explaining which tasks are best performed under different lunar phases.
Our Moon Phase Gardening Calendar
If you aren't familiar with the lunar phases, here's how it works: the cycle begins with a new moon, which occurs when the earth is blocking the sun from illuminating the moon's surface. Gradually, a sliver of the moon will start to appear, getting bigger each day; this is called the waxing phase. Eventually, it will become fully illuminated—this is, of course, the full moon phase. From there, we transition into the waning phase, and the moon will appear to get smaller. At the end of the cycle, we end up back at square one with a new moon.
Now that you know how to identify which phase of the lunar cycle we're in, you can follow this gardening calendar to produce better results with no extra effort!
Moisture levels are high during a full moon, but the moonlight levels will steadily decrease for the next couple of weeks. It's best to plant root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, and radishes under these conditions. It's also an ideal time to plant your flower bulbs and perennial plants.
Light and moisture levels are getting lower during the waning phase, so it's not the best time for planting. However, it is the best time for harvesting! You can also focus on all your other garden tasks at this time, like pruning and fertilizing. Some garden experts recommend mowing your lawn under a waning moon, as it will grow back more slowly, reducing the need for frequent mowing. Try it out and see if you notice a difference!
Gravitational pull is high during this time, drawing moisture up, just like it does under the full moon. While we aren't getting much moonlight during the beginning of this quarter, it is gradually increasing; this is a fantastic time to directly sow seeds in the ground, as the moisture and increasing light support germination and the early stages of growth. For starter vegetables, stick to planting those that produce external seeds, rather than seeds found inside a fruit; this includes leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and cabbage, as well as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and celery.
Soil moisture lowers during this phase, but moonlight increases. If you wait until the waxing phase is almost over, 3–4 days before the full moon, your plants will get extra moonlight exposure without the moisture levels dropping too low. The best things to plant during this time are fruits or vegetables with seeds inside their fruits, such as beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and squash.
Want to try moon phase gardening in 2022? It's the perfect time to plant cool-season vegetables, and your fall bulbs need to get in the ground soon so you can enjoy their beautiful blooms at the start of spring. Visit us at Roger's Gardens to stock up on all the necessary plants and gardening supplies!