How Lunar Planting Works

What is a Lunar Gardening Calendar Based on?

Our lunar planting calendar takes the moon's gravitational pull into account.

Isaac Newton established the laws of gravity, which proves the tides are affected by the gravitational pull of the moon. The pull of the moon is stronger than the sun because, even though the sun is larger, the moon is closer to the earth. The strongest effect is felt when the moon and sun pull from the opposite sides of the earth, at the full moon phase, although it also creates high tides when they are on the same side (at the new moon) as well.

“The gravitation of the passing moon pulls the nearest body of water a little away from the solid mass of earth beneath it, and at the same time pulls the earth a little away from the water on the farthest side. In this manner the moon sets up two tidal bulges on opposite sides of the earth.” –Louise Riotte

These same forces affect the water content of the soil, creating more moisture in the soil at the time of the new and full moon. This increased moisture encourages the seeds to sprout and grow. A lunar gardening calendar that combines the best moon phase and sign together will help you achieve optimum results.

Ute York, in her book “Living by the Moon” says:

“The old-time gardeners say, “With the waxing of the moon, the earth exhales. ” When the sap in the plants rise, the force first goes into the growth above ground. Thus, you should do all activities with plants that bear fruit above ground during a waxing moon. With the waning of the moon, the earth inhales. Then, the sap primarily goes down toward the roots. Thus, the waning moon is a good time for pruning, multiplying, fertilizing, watering, harvesting, and controlling parasites and weeds” 

 Which is More Important: Planting in the Right Phase or 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, bio-dynamic gardeners would plant flowers and seed bearing crops in the air and fire signs, where others would consider that barren and better for cultivating tasks.

However, the tests that Maria Thun conducted in the 1950’s showed a stronger influence from lunar planting–planting seeds by the signs of the moon.

In our busy lives it is hard to coordinate your schedule with the perfect time to plant, so you 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 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.

Why Lunar Planting?

Plants sown in the correct combination of the best lunar phase and sign show increased vigor, due to having all the best influences. They are growing at an optimum rate and are not as prone to setbacks that would affect less healthy plants. Harvests are often quicker, larger, and more flavorful and crops don’t go to seed as fast.

by Caren Catterall, creator of Gardening by the Moon