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A beginner’s guide to moon gardening

By Rose C
18th February 2020

Before we begin – no, we’re not talking about growing fruit and vegetables on the moon! Even though this is a serious subject, moon gardening is about growing in accordance with the path of the moon. It might sound bonkers, but moon gardening has been popular in superstition and folklore for decades and has been passed down through generations since ancient times. Lots of gardeners, even to this day, still swear by its successes. Just like the majority of horticulture methods, we must also point out that there are lots of different takes on moon gardening and not all gardeners will follow the same one.

What is moon gardening?

The general principle that underpins moon gardening is that the moon has a pulling effect on all water. And so, just as the moon controls the rise and fall of the oceans, it makes sense that it also controls the water in the soil as well as the sap in plants. It is believed that the water in the soil rises around the start of the new moon and continues until the full moon which causes the seeds to swell. The sap also rises through the stems which in turn creates lots of leafy, new growth. When the moon wanes, the water retreats downwards, towards the roots. According to this belief, it’s best to sow seeds when the moon is ascending and do jobs that involves the roots, such as planting, when it’s descending.

The twelve zodiac

Moon gardening, however, is not as simple as that! In the moon’s month-long orbit around the earth, it travels through each of the twelve zodiac signs and hovers in each one for around two-three days at a time. The twelve zodiac signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Those familiar with astrology will also know that each zodiac also belongs to an element (fire, water, earth and air) which, for the sake of moon gardening, also encompasses particular plants. When the moon passes through the fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, for example, it’s said to be the best time to sow fire plants such as strawberries, tomatoes and peppers. When the moon is in water signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, it’s recommended to grow plants treasured for their leaves which includes lettuces, cabbages and herbs. However, if the the moon traverses through the earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, moon gardener’s will traditionally grow all manner of root crops. Finally, if in the air signs of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, sow plants grown for their flowers. Think perennials but also artichokes.

For gardener’s who are unsure of what zodiac the moon is in, there is an app that can be download from the app store. You can find out whether the moon is ascending or descending, what plants you should be working on, and what constellation the moon is passing in front of.

Not all gardener’s will choose to garden by looking at the moon in the zodiac. Rather, some garden in relation to the four moon phases instead: new moon, first quarter, full moon, last quarter. Gardeners who track the waxing (between new moon and full moon) and waning (decreasing after full moon) moon, use the light, and the gravitational pull, as guidelines for when to plant. Whatever method, or mixture, of moon gardening you choose to use is up to you and there’s no right or wrong answer.

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