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In Your Garden with Jenny Watts

Gardening by the Moon

Since ancient times, our ancestors have watched the phases of the moon and observed the
behavior of seeds and young plants. As they did so, they saw that seeds germinated more
quickly when they were planted at certain times. They also saw that some seedlings grew more
vigorously than others, and that some crops fared better when planted at certain times than at
other times. Years of observation led them to the conclusion that the phases of the moon were
responsible for these differences.
Indeed the moon’s position in the sky does appear to influence plant behavior. And for
this reason many gardeners plant and garden “by the moon”.
Astrological gardening, as it is called, is an elaborate system involving both the phases of
the moon and the signs of the zodiac. As the moon moves around the earth, it passes through
each of the 12 constellations of the zodiac every month. “The moon is in Pisces” means that the
moon is in the same part of the sky as the constellation Pisces. The moon moves into a new
constellation every 2-3 days.
Every gardening task has its optimum time from planting seeds to harvesting crops and
killing weeds. For best results, planting, and other garden jobs, should be done when the moon
is in the right phase and also in the right constellation for that activity.
The best time for planting above ground crops, like broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and
spinach, is between the new (dark) moon and the first quarter. The most fertile signs of the
zodiac are Cancer, Scorpio, Taurus, Libra or Pisces. So planting these crops will be most
successful when the moon is in this phase and in one of these zodiac signs.
Between the first quarter and the full moon, plants with a fruit or pod, like beans, squash
and tomatoes, do best. Flower seeds also germinate best at this time, especially in the sign of
The week following the full moon is a good time to plant bulbs and root crops along with
perennials and grape vines. This is also a good time for transplanting, since active root growth is
strong. It is also the best time for pruning, especially under the sign of Scorpio.
Between the last quarter and the new moon, activities like weeding, cultivating and pest
control can be done during a barren sign like Leo, Virgo, Aquarius and Gemini. It is also a good
time for harvesting.
If all this sounds too complicated, that’s because it is a very complex system that has
taken hundreds of years to work out. Fortunately though, others have done the work of sorting
this out and have put it together in a calendar called “Gardening by the Moon 2011”. It gives
you day-by-day suggestions for all your gardening activities based on the cycles of the moon to
keep you on track with your gardening jobs.
Get ready for your best gardening year ever by taking advantage of the secrets of
gardening by the moon.