An insight into how we produce our beautiful plants, using the lunar cycle to guide us and help us plan.
I have always had an interest in astrology and how the stars and planets can affect us. When we moved to France and started the nursery we looked further into lunar gardening. Working with the moon and nature has been a tried and tested technique used for hundreds of years. As an organic farm this technique is ideal as it is most effective with non- chemically treated soils. We decided to give it a go and have not looked back.
Plants are influenced by the moon in the same ways as tides have the gravitational pull, affecting the world’s oceans and seas. Plants benefit from these natural changes of environment, for example, seeds germinate more quickly, leaf and root growth are stimulated, harvests bear a greater yield and even the dreaded weed can be slowed down!
Moisture is highest in the soil when there is a new or full moon and so this period of the lunar cycle aids germination, helping the seed sprout and develop more quickly.
The four elements of the zodiac, earth, air, water and fire all have an influence on plants. Earth influences the root, air influences the flower, water influences the leaf production and fire influences the seed production. The moon travels through the signs of the zodiac every two days. As the signs of the zodiac are associated with the four elements these in turn are associated with the type of gardening to be done.
|Aries||Fire||Dry and barren.Cultivate, weed and pest control, harvest..|
|Taurus||Earth||Moist and productivePlanting and transplanting. Good for root crops.|
|Gemini||Air||Dry and barren.Cultivate, weed and pest control, harvest…|
|Cancer||Water||Moist and very productive.Best period for planting and transplanting and also good for irrigation and grafting.|
|Leo||Fire||Mostly dry and barren.Cultivate, weed and pest control (especially in the 4th quarter), harvest..|
|Virgo||Earth||Moist and barren.Cultivating, weeding and pest control..|
|Libra||Air||Moist.Best time for planting fragrant flowers, vines and herbs.|
|Scorpio||Water||Fruitful and moist.Best time for planting sturdy plants and vines.Grafting and pruning (especially in the 3rd and 4th quarter) to retard growthand encourage better fruit. Transplanting.|
|Sagittarius||Fire||Dry and barren.Harvesting root crops. Cultivating. Tree planting.|
|Capricorn||Earth||Dry and productive.Planting root crops. Grafting and pruning to encourage healing and growth.|
|Aquarius||Air||Dry and barren.Harvesting root crops, cultivating, weeding and pest control.|
|Pisces||Pisces||Moist and productivePlanting and transplanting. Irrigation.|
The lunar cycle is divided into four quarters.
1st quarter – New Moon – waxing – balanced leaf and root growth
2nd quarter – waxing – strong leaf growth. A good time for planting
3rd quarter – Full Moon – waning – planting root crops, perennials and biennials, bulbs and transplanting, because of active root growth.
4th quarter – waning – resting period so good for cultivating, weeding, mowing the grass to retard growth, harvesting and pruning.
How do you know whether the moon is waxing or waning? As you look at the moon if the curved side is on the right it is a waxing moon, which means that we are moving from a new moon towards a full moon. The opposite is the case in a waning moon period, ie, the curved side is on the left hand side as you look at the moon.
A simple mnemonic device has been sent to me for remembering this by Joanna.
Right for returning; ie., the curved side of the moon is on the right hand side signifying that it is heading towards the full moon and more light (waxing).
Left for leaving; ie., the curved side is on the left and is showing the moon heading back towards the new moon and less light (waning).
These quarters are combined with the above zodiac chart to guide us. A more detailed explanation of the principles and background of planting by the moon can be found here