Have you ever heard of moon phase gardening? Me either, until recently when I randomly stumbled on the idea. It is really hard to deny the powerful forces of the moon. So why wouldn’t Luna’s magical powers have an effect on our gardens? I know it sounds like witchcraft and maybe it is. But there has been a lot of research that has gone into moon phase gardening and it has been practiced through many ancient civilizations. Studies have found that following the moon’s phases for every garden task will give gardeners more abundant crops that are healthier and better-tasting. Oftentimes this style of gardening requires hardly any fertilizer or watering too. It may sound like planting seeds based on the moon phase is too good to be true. But we never know until we try it. So let’s keep an open mind and dive into this curious idea.
Planning Your Moon Phase Garden
I know most of our gardens have been put to rest for the season. But using these long November nights is a great time to study and start preparing for next year’s garden. This soul care planner offers a great place to keep track of the moon phase every day and is a great place to keep a garden journal. And this book about biodynamic gardening gives you the foundation of using all of the earth elements to help you plan every garden task based on the moon, earth, fire, water and air. Together these books will empower you to fully understand the moon phase garden practices that have been passed through the ages. It is time to start teaching ourselves this age-old gardening wisdom.
The Mayan History of Moon Phase Gardening
Many mythologies followed similar cycles for the sun and the moon. Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, Chinese, Arab, Aztec, Mayan, and Inca civilizations all had a part in studying moon phases, solstices, equinoxes, lunar and solar calendars that we all follow today. They also used this knowlege to study how these cycles affect the living world, human behavior, and agriculture.
We all know that the Mayan civilization loved their calendars. Letting the moon and sun guide them through every facet of life. Including agriculture. Through their intuitive inclination to observe natural events this way of thinking lead to some of their greatest discoveries about the moon, earth, and sun cyclical repetitions. These discoveries allowed the Mayans to predict when it is best to sow their seeds for an abundant harvest.
The moon goddess, Ixchel, was believed to have powers over inhabitants of earth, love, women, gestations, agriculture, and the creation of all life. She represented the fertility of the earth, due to the fact that the cycles of the moon determine the time to plant and harvest. The Mayan observers and scientists knew of her power over the changing tides as well. They also knew that the full moon was the most powerful phase. Because when they sowed their seeds and fished during the full moon their harvests and catches were always most abundant. They also used the full moon as a period of practicing rituals for medicine and potions. Yep, it’s starting to sound a bit witchy here.
The Mayans studied the resins and liquids from plants. Comparing their properties and taste to identify the best time to plant each kind of plant. Plants with fruit above ground like tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers do best when sowed during the full moon. Leaves, flowers, stems, and cactus grow best if planted during the crescent moon. Grains, corn, lentils, beans, and other seeds grow best during the waning moon. Fruits under the ground like onion, carrots, potatoes, do best if planted during the new moon.
History of the Study of the Moon and Plants
Many have furthered the study of how the moon affects all living things and the cycles of nature. Their work has helped create what is now known as biodymic gardening and the process on how to garden based on all the Earth elements for a more abundant garden.
Nicolas Culpeper was an English botanist, herbalist, physician, and astrologer living from 1616 to 1654. He was one of the most influential herbalist writers. And conducted research that extensively proved how to cure diseases using simple herbs. He also advocated his theory on astrological herbalism where he tried to show the relationship between plants and the planets. He also believed that ailments were connected to the constellations. Through his work, he found that the sun ruled our heart, blood, circulation, and spine. And the moon influenced growth, fertility, breasts, stomach, uterus, and menstrual flow. And all the body fluids, just like the tides, were controlled by lunar phases.
His work has helped influence even more great work over the centuries like the book Encyclopedia of Plants: In Myth, Legend, Magic, and Lore by Stuart Phillips. This book accounts for over 200 plant species and how they link to stars and natural elements. This author has found that garlic is strongly associated with the moon and grows stronger as the moon wanes. And crops like potatoes are influenced by the waning black moon as well. It is also said that planting corn seeds in the moonlight will help them grow.
The Farmers Almanac
The Old Farmers Almanac is a magazine that was founded in 1782 and to this day it is commonly used as a weather and astrological guide for farming and gardening. Often times you will see it on the shelf at your local grocery store.
They are an organization that is greatly in favor of connecting with natures rhythms. A practice that has turned their predictions into a best selling almanac for hundreds of years.
They say that the gravitational pull of the moon affects the moisture in the soil. Meaning seeds will absorb more water during a full moon which is better for germination and better establishes your plants in the soil. Geotropism is another way the moon impacts plant growth. This is how plants grow in response to gravity. Even when the seed is upsidedown it will turn itself around so that the stem shoots up and the roots shoot down.
Moon Cycles and Astrology
There are two lunar cycles you will want to pay attention to when moon gardening and that is the waxing of the moon and the waning of the moon. Certain types of plants do best between the new moon and the full moon (waxing) or in between the full moon and the new moon (waning). Pruning should be done during a waxing moon because the sap rises in plants during this period. And harvesting should be done during a waning moon because the sap is falling which helps cut surfaces heal.
Astrology has a great deal to do with gardening based on the moon too. For example, if the moon is in the constellation of Taurus it is considered a great time to plant, transplant, or graft. Common gardening activities are associated with each sign so reading the almanac or moon calendar will help you keep track of what is best to do in your garden during each zodiac phase. Each element of the zodiac signs (earth, air, water, and fire) will help you determine your gardening plan.
Pesticide-Free Biodynamic Gardening
A Guide to Gardening by the Moon by Michael Littlewood talks about the planetary influence on cultivating a garden without chemicals. He points out that chemical products desensitize plants and the land. But when you use biodynamic agricultural practices to manage a farm or garden you are letting astronomical bodies influence crop production, not pesticides. The greatest difference between organic farming and biodynamic farming is the mineral additives used as “biodynamic preparations” to help feed the soil.
Let’s compare organic agriculture practices to biodynamic practices a little further. Both styles of farming practice crop rotation, intercropping, cover-cropping, low or no-till, and green manure. But biodynamic gardening keeps adding on methods such as biological, cultural mechanical, and physical pest control. Then there are biodynamic preparations that involve alchemy and homeopathy. Lunar and astrological calendars for planting, managing, and harvesting. Stones for channeling cosmic energy and radiant fields. Pest aching, which is burring of pests and weeds. Sensitive testing that includes bio-crystallization or morpho-chromatography. Dive into the details of these practices with this Biodynamic Gardening book.
The restoration of soil quality, of the “harmony” of ecosystems, and of biodiversity can be pointed out as the main objective of biodynamic farmers.
If you want to further your moon phase gardening knowledge make sure to pick up some these books that I mentioned. Then we can practice some of these biodynamic practices together next year. And compare our notes. If you are planning on taking on this task I would love to stay connected. So comment below and we can go on this mystical garden journey together. And maybe even start a moon gardening club! I am excited to get started!
If you enjoyed this post find more gardening posts here.