Gardening by the moon??!!

Despina Vasiliadou's picture

"Tonight it'll be full moon, I'll plant my potatoes"....    "Wait for the second half of the moon before you sow the beans"...... Those are phrases we very often hear old villagers say! Are they just prejudice or is there some scientific explanation?  Our project group wanted to search the matter and here is what we found:

In the very old days, before the clock was invented, the most reliable way to measure time was the position of the sun, the moon and the stars. It is also known that people used a sowing calendar based on the moon phases.

It is very probable that every community had their own calendar adapted to their geographical position. As those calendars passed from a previous generation to a next one, they evolved so as to meet the needs for various kinds and methods of cultivation.It had been noticed that some vegetables grew more vigorously when they were planted during certain moon phases or when the moon had entered some specific constellation.

What agriculturers cared for was not only the sowing but also the harvest season. That's why they had to make observations regarding harvesting as well and  had found out that if harvest started at a suitable time, it was larger. Today we know that the amount of water stored by plants, among others, depends on the moon phase, which could explain those old beliefs and observations.

So, how does the Moon affect plants?

The Moon exerts a gravitational pull on the EarTh. Tides are due to this pull and they are the most visible result of the Moon's pull on the Earth. The Sun also exerts a gravitational pull on the Earh but the one of the Moon is stronger because the Moon is closer to the Earh than the Sun. The period when the Earth is most affected by the Moon and the Sun's gravitational pull happens when these two celestial bodies are in line with the Earth. This position coincides with a full moon. Then the water on the Earth surface is pulled by the Moon and its level rises. So does water in the soil, plants and living creatures too. During full moon and new moon phases soil moisture rises and plants absorb more water. Research has shown that as the moon grows, its increasing light encourages leaf growing while as it gets smaller, its decreasing light encourages root growing.

Nowadays, in the technology and science era, there are a lot of people who.....rediscover moon phase gardening.

Gardening by the Synodic lunar cycle, i.e the moon phases.

The lunar cycle, which lasts 29,6 days, is divided in 4 phases or quarters and plants are divided in 4 groups. Group1: plants with root crops. Group 2: leafy plants. Group 3: plants with seeds inside the fruit. Group 4: plants with seeds outside the fruit. Each group is allocated to a moon phase so that plants grow at an optimum rate.

The new moon is a good time to plant leafy vegetables and vegetables with external seeds e.g spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli e.t.c. The moon's gravity will pull vegetable juices upwards, seeds will germinate faster and gradually increasing moonlight will encourage seedlings growth.

The moon second quarter  favors vegetables with internal seeds as well, e.g beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants. During this phase, increasing gravitational pull and moonlight and reflected from the sun energy will help plants grow, especially leafy ones.

Full moon favors sowing root crops (bulbs, tubers) e.g carrots, beetroots, potatoes, onions e.t.c. Gravitational pull is very strong and moisture is pulled up to the soil surface. As the moonlight starts gradually waning after the full moon, the reflected from the sun energy is concentrated to the roots.

In the fourth quarter, there is less gravitational pull and moonlight, so it should be a resting period. You can make compost, you can transplant or prune.