I admit that when I first heard about gardening by the lunar cycles I was, to say the least, extremely sceptical – it just seemed a bit too woowoo for my stolid northern soul. But then – and I don’t know why – I decided to try it out…and became a convert! How could I not when my peas went from planted to harvested in less than a month, a good week and a half before the seed packet said they were supposed to be ready? And I noticed other things too, like the fact that shrubs respond better when pruned during a waning moon, or that weeds take longer to come back if beds are weeded during a waning moon.
But don’t take my word for it…try it for yourself.
I’ve included a link to an online site that shows phases and signs but I rely exclusively on the book Guided by the Moon: Living in Harmony with the Lunar Cycles by Johanna Paungger and Thomas Poppe. It’s the reference I use when, for example, I need to calculate the correct time to start sowing my seeds, which is what I did the other day.
After calculating the number of weeks to last frost – typically, May 7th, here in Edmonton – and determining the length of time needed from seed to tansplanting for each type of plant, I cross-reference the date of planting with the moon phase and sign to find the optimal sowing date. For example, tomato seeds need to be sown indoors 7 weeks from the last frost date which puts that sowing at March 19th. But since tomatoes are a fruiting plant that bears above ground, they’re best planted during a fruit sign and a waxing moon. The closest that those appear to March 19th is March 17th and 18th – Aries in a waxing moon.
Too complicated? Sometimes it can only make sense if you do it but if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, I’m linking a spreadsheet showing my planting schedule based on the lunar cycle. Using my schedule and the website I linked to, you should be able to calculate something similar, keeping in mind the following guidelines:
Plants and vegetables that grow above ground should be sown when the moon is waxing. The exception is lettuce, which should only be sown when the moon is waning.
Vegetables that grow below ground should be sown when the moon is waning. With the potato though, you should plant as close as possible to the full moon.
Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are fruit days. All fruiting plants are marked in red on the spreadsheet.
Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are leaf days. All leaf plants are marked in green on the spreadsheet.
Virgo, Taurus, and Capricorn are root days. All root plants are marked in orange on the spreadsheet.
Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are flower and medicinal herb days. All flower and herb plants are marked in purple on the spreadsheet.