Is it more important to plant in the right phase or the right sign?
The phases of the moon seems to be the fundamental element that most people agree upon. It is also backed up by the scientific factor of gravitational pull. There is some difference of opinion about the signs; for instance, biodynamic gardeners would plant flowers and seed bearing crops in the air and fire signs, where others would consider that barren and better for cultivating, since it would not encourage weed seeds to sprout.
However, the tests that Thun conducted in the 1950's showed a stronger influence from the zodiac signs. In our busy lives it is hard to coordinate your schedule with the perfect time to plant, so I might use a good sign in a bad phase to justify planting. And sometimes it is more important to get it in the ground without waiting for the perfect moment. Perhaps weather will force your hand, or the fact that the next best time won't be for another month, and that would be too late. All normal rules of gardening are just as important as the lunar influence--perhaps more so
Do I need to plant my seeds in flats at the best time?
Try to start seeds in flats at the optimum planting date, and then transplant them in a favorable sign too. Although the tidal forces aren't affecting the water in your flats, the seed absorption rate is higher, and will encourage growth. When charts give you x number of weeks to transplant, that presumes normal weather patterns and a certain amount of growth has occurred, which we know doesn't always work out.
You have to use your best judgment. Is the weather really ready, or is it going to be a late spring? Is the plant ready? Does it need to be potted up and held a little while longer before going in the ground? It requires a little experience on your part, and careful observation of all the factors.
How come I had frost after the last frost date?
Those dates are calculated to give you the last average frost date, which means that up to 50% of the time you could experience frost after that date. I do plant using those dates, unless it seems like it will be a longer or colder spring that usual, and I am ready with my floating row covers to tuck in my plants on colder nights. Again, observe the weather signs and patterns for the year and use your best judgment.
Do you have a calendar for a long growing season in Eastern Time Zone?
You can get these choices by ordering the digital download that you can then print or view from your computer. The calendar was started in Northern California, and most of my gardening experience, and a large part of my audience, is in this area.
The Moon Matrix software, our new software application, enables you to customize many more options, such as frost dates, all 24 time zones and the specific vegetables and flowers you grow in your garden.
Is daylight savings time figured in the calendar?
Yes, Daylight Savings time is from March 11 to November 4, in the Pacific and Eastern Time Zone options.
What is the digital calendar like? When will I get it?
The digital product is basically the same as the printed product. The pages have been shrunk a little to allow for printing on the common household printer. The PDF links show up immediately in your order confirmation. Please download them and save them to your hard drive. If you need to get back to the files you can find them by going back to the shopping cart, either through the links in the email confirmation or by going back to the web site and clicking Buy Now. Go to My Account, click on the order number, and you should see the links.
What are those little tiny black lines at the bottom of each day?
Those mark each hour of the day so you can see approximately what time of day the moon sign changes. It reads like a time line, with the morning hours on the left of center, and the evening hours to the right of center. The gray bars that span several days show when the moon is in that sign.
My other calendar has different dates for the moon transits. Why?
Lunar gardening facts are derived from the astrological sign of the Moon, which is different from the astronomical constellation of the same name. In other words, there are actual constellations that are named for the zodiac, and the moon passes through each of these, but they don't match the astrological signs. The heavens are divided equally into the twelve signs of the zodiac, but the constellations aren't actually in those signs. The Gardening by the Moon Calendar is based on the geocentric, earth-centered view, and the Tropical zodiac.
What if I live outside of the continental United States?
We developed the Moon Planting Matrix for those outside of the US time zones, or those who have unusual climates. With the software program, you can customize your frost dates, time zones, measurement units, plant lists, activities, and more. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, we recommend the Moon Planting Matrix software that was developed specifically for the southern hemisphere.
Are there any scientific studies of lunar gardening? What other sources are there?
Here are some of the sources that I used to develop my calendar and the information in this web site:
"The Old Farmer's Almanac", by Robert Thomas. Yankee Publishing Inc. 2000
"Living by the Moon", by Ute York. Bluestar Communications. Woodside, CA 1997 (5)
"Llewellyn's Moon Sign Book" by Gloria Star. Llewellyn Publications. Saint Paul MN 2000, 2001
"How to Grow more Vegetables…" by John Jevons. Ten Speed Press 1991 (3)
"Astrological Gardening" by Louise Riotte. Storey Books 1995 (1)
"Planetary Planting" by Louise Riotte. McNaughton and Guan 1975
"The Lunar Garden: Planting by the Moon's Phases" EA Crawford. Weidenfield and Nicholson 1989
How Bio -Dynamic Calendars Developed: the Chronology (2, 4) http://www.plantingbythemoon.co.uk/
Planting by the Moons Phases http://kkeys.home.texas.net/~kkeys/spirit/moons/moonseed.html
This is something I've been "meaning to do" and never got around to it. Phew! Glad
I can cross this off my to do list. Your site is extremely well thought out and
beautifully presented. Cudos!