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Gardening by the Moon

By Stella Woods, 01-05-2009

Here are some tips for gardening using the cycles of the moon for those of you with green thumbs or a passion for growing food. All lunar planning is based on the concept that the moon regulates growth processes on earth just as it regulates the tides. There are four different moon phases each month each lasting for a week. You can use the moon table in AstroUpdate to calculate which phase or week of the month we are in on any given date.

1) From New Moon to First Quarter – Week One

2) From First Quarter to Full Moon – Week Two

3) From Full Moon to Third Quarter – Week Three

4) From Third Quarter to New Moon – Week Four

The most fertile times of the month are when the moon is in a water sign - Cancer Scorpio and Pisces - so always plant on these days if possible. You also need to observe seasonal limitations, in other words don’t plant your tomatoes in winter!

The general formula is very simple.

Week One The moon is new and the sap is rising. Plant leafy annuals (plants where you eat the foliage) broccoli, cabbage, celery, lettuce, spinach, silverbeet, basil, coriander, asparagus, parsley, etc.

Week Two The moon gains in potency in the lead up to the full moon. Plant fruiting annuals (plants where you eat the seed or seed bearing organ) beans, corn, tomatoes, pumpkin, peas, eggplant, capsicum, zucchini, etc.

Week Three The moon is starting to wane and energy is drawn downwards into the earth. Plant root crops – beetroot, potatoes, parsnip, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, turnips, ginger, garlic, etc. You can also plant perennials – trees, shrubs, berries, vines, rhubarb, and bulbs. A healthy root system for these plants ensures long term viability.

Week Four Do not plant anything! This is a period of low vitality as we move toward the dark moon phase, so cultivate, do the weeding, make compost and turn over garden beds.

There are also moon guidelines for pest control, transplanting, irrigating, fertilising, pruning and harvesting which we will explore another time. Have fun and let me know how you get on!