Gardening according to the phases of the moon is an ancient practice. Those of us who garden as an expression of our spirituality and our connection with both the Earth and our ancestors may wish to incorporate the moon phases and the lunar calendar into our gardening.

There are generally two things that are considered when gardening by the moon. The first is the moon phase and the second is the astrological house the moon is in. Read on to find out how they each affect your plants differently.

Gardening by Moon Phase

The New Moon is the best time for starting above ground crops, leafy crops. The moon's gravitational pull increases moisture at this time and encourages seeds to sprout. The increasing light of the moon encourages the growth of leaves. This provides good, strong, balanced growth both above the ground and below. During this phase, plant spinach, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard, celery, dill and other herbs and grain crops.

During the Second Quarter, the moon's gravitational pull is slightly weaker but the moon's light is growing in strength. This is the best time to plant above ground fruiting crops like squash, tomatoes, peppers, peas and beans, melons, etc. The best time for planting during this phase is 3-4 days before the full moon.

If you are mowing, trimming or pruning to encourage growth, the best time to do this is during the first half of the lunar cycle.

The Full Moon has the strongest gravitational pull encouraging moisture to rise up in the soil but its light will fade so it will encourage below ground growth stronger than above ground growth. Therefore, this is the best time to plant root crops such as potatoes, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, onions, garlic and potatoes as well as bulbs like daffodils, tulips and crocus. It is also a great time for transplanting those starts or dividing and transplanting perennials.

The Fourth Quarter has the weakest gravitational pull and decreasing light. Therefore, it is best not to plant anything at this time. Instead, use this time to harvest, cultivate, weed, destroy pests and mow and prune to discourage further growth.

Planting by Astrological Signs

As the moon moves through the houses of the zodiac it lends its energy to various tasks, including gardening. Generally speaking, the water signs (Cancer, Pisces, Scorpio) are the most fertile and the best for planting just about anything, but especially leafy greens and annuals. The earth signs (Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn) are best for planting root crops and transplanting. The air signs (Aquarius, Gemini, Libra) and fire signs (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius) are best for weeding, harvesting, digging, cultivation, mowing, pruning and destroying pests.

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