Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gardening by the moon

No, not gardening by the light of the moon - although you could certainly do that tonight. My title actually refers to planning your gardening activites by the phases of the moon. All the news this week about tonight's "Supermoon" started me thinking about this again. It is an interesting concept, although I must admit that I don't actually give a lot of thought to the phase of the moon when I plan what I'm going to do or what I will plant when in the garden. I know many traditional gardeners swear by this lore, and who am I to say they are wrong?

The theory goes something like this:

At the time of the new moon, when the moon is dark, lunar gravity pulls water up and causes seeds to swell and burst. Following the new moon, as the moon shows a little more of its face each night, the power of the moon is increasing and this creates a time of balanced root and leaf growth. It's a good time for planting above-the-ground crops that produce their seeds outside the fruit.

The second quarter of the moon is conducive to strong leaf growth and is a good time to plant above-the-ground crops that produce their seeds inside the fruit - things like melons.

After the full moon, the gravitational pull is high, pulling moisture up through the soil. This is believed to be a good time to plant root crops. It is also considered to be a favorable time for planting perennials, biennials, bulbs, and for transplanting because this is a time when active root growth is stimulated.

The fourth quarter of the moon is considered a resting phase. This is the time to cultivate, weed, and to mow your yard.

Whether you buy any of this or not, there is one thing you cannot possibly dispute. Tonight's full moon is super! I've just come inside from watching her and now I think I'll go back out and visit her again. After all, she's closer than she has been in 18 years. It just seems unfriendly not to give her a wave and say "howdy"!


  1. I remember reading about this in the Foxfire book series that came out ages ago. They were full of such lost wisdom from the Appalachians. Last night's moon was indeed spectacular. Thank you for stopping by my blog on Bloom Day.

  2. I grew up at the southwest edge of the Appalachians, Les, and this type of garden lore was indeed very popular there. Many people still swear by, although science has pretty much debunked it. Regardless of all that though, that "Supermoon" certainly was something to see last night!

  3. There has to be moisture in the soil for it to come up...we've had no rains of more than 1/4" in 6 months except a 2-incher in December. I'm pruning and composting and mulching but not planting this year.

  4. I hand-water much of my garden on a rotational basis when it doesn't rain, Kathleen. We did get a couple of inches of rain two weeks ago and that helped tremendously, but other than that it has been very dry for a very long time. La Nina should end around May and el Nino will return. Maybe then we'll get rain.