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Agricultural astrology has been around since ancient times, but what does it truly entail? If you look on your calendar, chances are you’ll see the phases of the moon marked on certain days. To many it’s ignored, but some plan their whole harvest based around the waxing and waning of the moon. Some of the first evidence confirmed instances of Astrological Farming can be seen in the remnants and artifacts of the ancient peoples of the Euphrates and Nile River valleys. It is the oldest use of Lunar Cycles for gardening known.

 

The theory behind gardening by the lunar phases is that similarly to the movement of the tides in relation to the moon, the moisture in the ground is affected as well. Like with high and low tides, the gravitational pull of the moon causes the moisture to rise and fall within the Earth, encourages more growth and easier sprouting. It is still a theory, however, because there haven’t been any conclusive scientific tests that confirm or disprove the benefits practice. This does not make this way of gardening is ineffective or wrong, just that it hasn’t been proven so. 

 The moisture in the soil is at its peak during the New Moon (when the moon is not visible).  The New Moon phase creates balanced leaf and root growth. It is the best time to plant above ground crops whose seeds grow on the outside. Spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, grain crops and celery are some examples of crops to plant during this phase.

In the second quarter, the moonlight is stronger but the gravitational pull is lessened. This encourages strong leaf growth and is generally a good time for planting Annuals.  Annuals with above ground fruits, whose seeds form inside, such as peas, peppers, squash, melons, and tomatoes favor this phase. It doesn’t just effect your garden; if you have a sparse yard, mowing the lawn during the second quarter stimulates growth.

After the Full Moon comes and goes, the pull is strong, the moisture in the soil has increased,  the moonlight is fading and putting more energy into the roots. This is why the Full Moon quarter is the ideal time for planting root vegetables such as carrots, onions, potatoes, beets, and peanuts. It is also a good time for perennials, biennials, bulbs, and transplanting because of the active root growth. 

The Fourth quarter is the waning stage of the moon. This phase is considered a time for rest. For the plants that is. The moon gardener can be found cultivating, harvesting, transplanting, and pruning. If your lawn is unruly, mowing during the fourth quarter will impede growth.