With the waxing of the moon, the earth exhales. With the waning of the moon, the earth inhales. - Gardening proverb
The moon controls the rise and fall of water in and on earth; our tides are visible evidence of this ebb and flow. Planting by the moon works in harmony with this natural cycle, utilizing the days where water is pulled closer to the surface of the earth, and the light from the moon is strong. Taking it a step further, planting by the moon also uses the moon's astrological sign as an influence on gardening chores.
The moon moves through the twelve astrological signs of the zodiac every 2-3 days. Each sign is associated with either Water, Earth, Air, Fire - and lends the day these attributes.
As the moon moves through signs, it does so in four phases or quarters lasting about seven days each. The Waxing Moon is from the New Moon growing up to the Full Moon, also considered the first two quarters. During this time, moonlight is increasing. The last quarter, or the third/fourth quarters, are during the Waning Moon, where light is decreasing and the cycle begins again.
Using an astrological calendar, refer to what sign and phase the moon is in each day to determine when and what to plant or (not) in the garden.
Because there is A LOT of information to reference, I created this perpetual calendar to help me with garden planning. Signup for my newsletter and receive a printable template to create your own perpetual moon planting calendar.
NEW MOON: The strong gravity of the moon pulls water to the surface. Increasing moonlight during this phase, along with proper hydration, leads to balanced root and leaf growth. Good for planting above ground crops.
1ST QUARTER: Increasing moonlight leads to strong leaf growth. Good for above ground bearing annuals that produce seeds outside their fruit: lettuce, spinach, celery, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, grains.
2ND QUARTER: Strong moonlight leads to healthy leaf growth, especially the 2 days before the full moon. Good for above-ground bearing annuals with seeds that form inside the fruit: peppers, peas, beans, melons, squash, tomatoes. If growing flowers for seed, plant them while in Libra between now and the full moon.
FULL MOON: Gravitational pull is still strong, but once full, decreasing moonlight forces energy down into the earth. Best for transplanting, or planting bulbs, perennials, root crops, ginger.
3RD QUARTER: Last chance! Complete all planting before the last quarter begins.
LAST QUARTER: Decreased moonlight + gravitational pull. Best for garden tasks, not planting. Prune, harvest, cultivate, fertilize. A good time to mow the lawn. Dig holes + set fence posts during the old of the moon. Weed in a fire sign. Plant potatoes in the old of the moon for more harvest, less vine.
WATER SIGNS: Cancer/Scorpio/Pisces
The most fertile signs for planting. Best for leafy, above-ground bearing annual crops: lettuces, chard, spinach, brassicas, during the first/second moon quarters. Prune during a Scorpio full moon.
CANCER – The best sign for all planting and transplanting of above-ground bearing crops. Also good for grafting, and irrigation. Prune, water, and fertilize in the fourth quarter.
SCORPIO – Best for sturdy plants and vines, good for transplanting. Tomatoes, corn and squash like Scorpio. Graft or prune in the third and fourth quarter to slow growth and promote better fruit. Prune, water and fertilize in the fourth quarter.
PISCES – Second best sign for planting and transplanting. Especially good for root growth and transplanting in the third quarter. Prune, water and fertilize in the fourth quarter.
EARTH (ROOT) SIGNS: Taurus/Virgo/Capricorn
Fertile signs, good for strong roots. Encourages root growth for underground crops and during transplanting, especially during the third quarter moon.
TAURUS – Second best for planting and transplanting. Good for root crops and potatoes, especially when hardiness is important. Also a good sign for transplanting leafy green vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage.
VIRGO – Flowers and vines are favored by it, especially medicinal plants. Divide and transplant perennial flowers in the third quarter. Cultivate and destroy weeds and pests in the fourth quarter.
CAPRICORN - Good for planting potatoes and other root crops, and for encouraging strong hardy growth. Good for grafting, pruning to promote healing, and applying organic fertilizer.
AIR (FLOWER) SIGNS: Gemini/Libra/Aquarius
Flowers + herbs love a Libra moon, but generally not a good time for planting. Can & preserve in the last qtr. Harvest + cultivate in these signs.
GEMINI - Barren and dry. Harvest root and fruit crops for storage. Cultivate, or destroy weeds and pests. Melon seeds respond well in this sign.
LIBRA – Semi-fruitful and moist. Best sign for planting beautiful and fragrant flowers, vines and herbs. Good for transplanting, and root crops with pulpy stems (like kohlrabi) in the third quarter.
AQUARIUS – Barren and dry. Good for planting onion sets. Harvest root and fruit crops for storage. Cultivate, destroy weeds and pests.
FIRE (FRUIT) SIGNS: Aries/Leo/Sagittarius
Considered barren signs. Plant during these signs for crops grown for their seed. Prune fruit trees. Weed in Leo. Harvest during the 4th quarter to preserve fruit + vegetables for storage. Cut timber + firewood in a fire sign during an old moon.
ARIES - Barren and dry. Plant vines, stalks, and fruit trees. Harvest root and fruit for storage. Cultivate, prune fruit trees, destroy weeds and pests.
LEO - Very barren and dry. Cultivate, prune fruit trees and harvest for storage. An excellent time to destroy weeds and pests in the fourth quarter.
SAGITTARIUS - Barren and dry. Plant potatoes, onion sets and fruit trees. Harvest roots and onions for storage. A good sign to cultivate the soil.