What does the moon have to do with it?

Based in folklore and somewhat in superstition, planting your garden by the phases of the moon goes way back in time. The moon pulls the tides in the oceans, and it also pulls upon the smaller bodies of water, which causes the water in soil to also rise and fall.

The moon, when full, will cause soil to have the most moisture which is more available to seedlings and to seeds. I find it interesting that there is scientific support that backs up this claim.

Dr. Frank Brown of Northwestern University performed studies on this strange, yet interesting gardening fact. He found, that yes indeed, plants absorbed more water at the time of the full moon then any other phases. The research was conducted in a laboratory and without the plant materials being exposed to the moon. It didn’t matter that his plant material was not exposed to direct moonlight or the lack thereof, the results were the same.

There is also a person by the name of Rudolf Steiner, who was the founder of the anthroposophical movement in which he saw how science, nature and universal laws worked together. Because of this correlation, there were certain biodynamic methods of planting that were developed.

The biodynamic methods are based on not only what phase the moon is in but also if there was an eclipse or other unusual moon phase. Basically, when the moon is increasing in light, the moonlight stimulates leaf growth, and as it decreases, the root is stimulated to grow again. Thus, maximum germination of seeds occurred on days before the full moon.

If you really want to go “out there” (wherever there is), the zodiac, according to some diehard plants man, also play a part in growing our seeds and plants. Different types of plants have favorite signs too. So if someone asks you “what is your sign?” they could be talking about your garden plants. An example is that leafy plants such as lettuce and spinach prefer water signs. The water signs are Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio. The earth signs, Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, are also very good planting signs. These signs are good for root crops. Air signs work well for some plants with Libra an exception to the rule. Libra is good for flowers and herbs. Melons like Gemini and onions like Aquarius. The fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are barren and dry and work well for crops grown for their seed. Leo is a good sign for weeding and cultivation.

Other signs that help to promote when you should do what in the garden are: Scorpio, pruning, and weeding is Leo. Pisces and Cancer are water signs and is a very productive time – a good time for planting and transplanting. Virgo favors vines and is a good time to rid the garden of pests.

The phases of the moon, as we all know, have some impact on us, but sometimes it doesn’t seem so obvious to us unless you live near a large body of water. In between signs the moon is void of course. This is the time to sit back, relax and enjoy your gardens.

For more information on gardening, you can email me at s.dejaeghere@me.com