Friday, May 30, 2008

Lunar Gardening

(from a piece I wrote for the website I share with Melissa: Moon Bees & Herbaluna)

The gravitational, magnetic force of the moon affects everything that that contains water, including the ocean tides, vegetation, and the human body, which is made up of about 70% water. Think about it: It is a scientific fact that tides are mainly caused by the moon’s gravity. Human “tides” are not measurable, and science and folklore have never been good bedfellows. Be your own judge. Conduct your own experiments. We are all connected to nature; to the moon, the sun, the stars, the universe. There is much to be gained from a kind, sensitive, natural approach to life and the mark we leave here.

This is not religion or a lack thereof. It is simple truth. Embracing our connection with nature results in spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual growth.

The moon travels through each zodiac sign about once a month, and stays in each sign for 2-3 days. Check your date, moon phase and sign, plant or harvest accordingly, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Astrological Moon Signs (with corresponding symbols, ruling planets, planting info, etc.) :

Aries (fire, masculine); Ram; Mars; Head; dry and barren. Not good for planting anything; good for cultivating, destroying noxious growth and pests, weeding and harvesting.
Taurus (earth, feminine); Bull; Venus; Neck/Throat; moist and fairly productive. Plant root crops like potatoes & bulb plants;
plant flowers for hardiness, beans, cabbage, lettuce, onion sets, radish, turnip, leafy vegetables and hay; set out/plant peach, pear and plum trees; perform general garden maintenance.
Gemini (air, masculine); Twins; Mercury; Arms/Chest; dry and barren. Not good for planting anything; good for cultivating, destroying noxious growth and pests, weeding and harvesting.
Cancer (water, feminine); Crab; Moon; Breast/Stomach; moist and fruitful. Widely considered to be the most productive of all the signs and most frequently used for planting both above-ground and root crops. Plant seeds, transplant, irrigate, bud/graft. Asparagus, barley, beets, berries, bulbs, carrots, corn, lettuce, potatoes, roses, herbs, wheat, and deciduous trees do very well. Start compost heaps and worm farms when the moon is in the fourth quarter under Cancer.
Leo (fire, masculine); Lion; Sun; Heart/Back; the most barren and dry of all the signs. No planting at all during this sign, ever. Exterminate weeds and noxious growth, harvest and cultivate.
Virgo (earth, feminine); Virgin; Mercury; Bowels; “Bloom Days”; moist but barren. Good for destroying weeds and pests. Vegetables will not do well if planted in Virgo (big blooms, little fruit), but it is a good planting sign for most flowers and vines for large bloom yields. Don't plant vegetables or trees.
Libra (air, masculine); Balance; Venus; Kidneys; moist and semi-fertile. Used for planting crops where good pulp growth and roots are desirable; another good sign for flowers and vines. Plant seeds for hay, corn, fodder, grain. Flowers, bulbs, barley, beans, beet, cabbage, carrot, peas, squash, tubers and vines.
Scorpio (water, feminine); Scorpion; Mars; Loins; very fruitful and moist. Produces sturdy, reliable plants. Plant most vegetables and flowers for large yields; excellent time to plant beans, berries, cantaloupes, cauliflower, cereal, chicory, eggplant, peas, potatoes, pumpkin; do not dig potatoes during this sign.
Sagittarius (fire, masculine); Archer; Jupiter; Thighs; dry and barren Some say this is a good time to plant fiery, “hot” crops such as onions, garlic, peppers, chilies and radishes (I haven't tried this yet); cultivate and harvest.
Capricorn (earth, feminine); Goat; Saturn; Knees; productive Good for most planting. Plant bulbs, potatoes, root crops, beans, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, onion sets, radishes, flowers and fruit trees.
Aquarius (air, masculine); Waterman; Uranus; Legs/Ankles; another barren and dry sign. Not good for planting anything; good for harvesting, cultivation and extermination of pests.
Pisces (water, feminine); Fish; Neptune; Feet; one of the most fertile signs. A great time for planting most types of crops, including broccoli, bulbs, Brussel sprouts, carrots, celery, chicory, cress, cucumbers, endive, horseradish, parsley, peanuts, radishes, pumpkins, flowers (for abundance) and deciduous trees.

My 2008 Lunar Planting Calender with this article is HERE.

Do not plant on the actual day the moon changes to/from any of the four quarters. For example, if the moon goes full on July 22, you should not plant anything on that day, even though it is a "fruitful" sign. And remember, if the moon is "growing", or waxing, plant things that "grow up" and produce above the ground, like squashes, tomatoes, and lettuces. When the moon is shrinking/going down/waning, plant things that produce below ground, like bulbs, potatoes and onions. If any of this doesn't make sense to you, please feel free to ask for more details!

Happy planting!

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Anonymous said...

Hello Leanne,
I love your blog. You've done a great job with it and have lots of very good info. I'm curious about herbs that are beneficial to people with arthritis, that's me. Also the women's herbal conference looks like lots of fun. I love camping in the woods. Hope you and Melissa have a good time. Did you go last year? and Do you take your children? The pictures from last year's camp out remind me of the 60's:) Thanks for sharing your knowledge of herbs and gardening. You have a beautiful family! It's kinda neat seeing someone who lives on a farm. Guess cause I've never lived on a farm. I'll miss seeing you in MG class each week. Have a Great Summer!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much Brenda! I'll make a point to post about herbs for arthritis soon!

This will be my first SE Women's Herbal Conference (Mel's, too), so I'm very excited about it. The pictures do look like they're from the 60's, don't they! Right up my alley, I must say. There's something truly magical about sitting outside in a huge circle of like-minded women. It's very empowering! I wish you could come, too.

Thanks for all of the compliments. I'm really going to miss you in class, too. You're a beautiful person, inside and out. Wasn't it a fantastic class?! Please try to keep in touch! --Leanne

Ashraf Al Shafaki said...

A couple of months back, I've noticed that as the lunar month nears its end (the moon is almost completely vanishing) plants seem to grow fast and bring out new leaves.

I also noticed later that seeds tend to germinate faster near the end of the lunar month as well.

I do believe the moon has a role in agriculture. It does have an effect on plants. By understanding more the effect of the moon phases on plants, one can use such information to ones own benefit be selecting the best time for germinating seeds and dong other plant related activities.

The magnetic force of the moon is so week and I believe has no effect on plants. The gravitational force of the moon (which is different from its magnetic force) results in tides, but this cycle is a daily cycle and is different from the monthly (29 to 30 days) cycle of the moon phases. The moon is there every day in the lunar month (and so is it's gravitational and magnetic forces), yet it's just the light reflected from the moon that changes from one day of the lunar month to the other. Therefore, it is such light that has an effect on the plants and not the gravitational (and sure not the magnetic) force of the moon.

By the way, I am an Egyptian living in Egypt (North Africa). Although we use the Gregorian calendar as the official calendar in Egypt, yet we also use the lunar calendar as a secondary calendar to determine other things related to our culture including festivals and celebrations.

I would love to learn more about lunar gardening and I guess there are people who have knowledge of that and already use it in farming.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your comment, Ashraf!

I do believe in the affects of lunar phases on life here on earth, partially related to the position of the moon in each "sign" as it orbits the earth (travelling through all 12 zodiac signs every 28 days). Beside the affects of the moon and earth's gravitational forces on each other controlling tides, I also find it possible that the water within plants and soil are affected. I've read that continental land masses rise 2 to 3 feet in elevation with the passage of the moon! And it not only influences tides and the earth's groundwater tables, but some argue that the full moon encourages all kinds of odd behavior in humans and animals! There is much debate on this subject but I always encourage others to have fun with it and conduct "lunar phase planting experiments" at home. I'm hoping to post more on it as I'm learning, too! :)

Ashraf Al Shafaki said...

Thank you for your calendar (though I would have to adjust it a little to fit into my +2 GMT time zone).

I found that the 'true' astronomical constellation by which the moon passes differers (around 2 days difference on average) from that of the astrological one (moon sign, zodiac). You can see that by checking which zodiac the moon is in using Google Earth, as the new version allows you to witness the moon and can see in the background which zodiac it is currently at.

As for the tides, yes the tides of course are affected by the gravitational force of the moon, yet this is a "daily" cycle, so water rises and falls every day. That means, water will rise and fall in soil and plant tissue in the same daily cycle as tides due to the moon orbiting the earth. Yet it cannot explain the monthly (or 28 day) cycle effect the moon has on plants. Conclusion: yes the moon phases do have an effect on plants yet the "gravitational" explanation and using the tides as an exampled do not explain such a 28-day cycle and instead provide only a 1-day cycle explanation.

I've started lunar farming (gardening actually) last week and results seem to be fine.