Planting by Moon Phases


full moonGuess what? I started planting this past week! Nearly all of my onion seeds have met their soil! I’m planning to start more onions this weekend (scallions), rhubarb the following weekend (Glaskins Perpetual) and the in early March then I’ll be sowing all kinds of things: Cabbage, cauliflower, kale, chard, broccoli and lettuce to name a few! If you’ve been following this blog you know that I posted my detailed seed-starting plan here, including a spreadsheet showing my start dates. (If you would like to use my Seed Starting Planner, you can download it for FREE right here!)

As wonderful as that all is, I’ve already run across some… things… that have made me reconsider my plans. One of those things has to do with seed starting medium (what I’m growing my seedlings in) and space. Last year I started some of my seeds in potting soil (soilless mix) in upcycled yogurt containers and some of them in Jiffy pellets. Both have their pros and cons… and I’m pretty disappointed with the cons. But with so many options for seed starting, I started to wonder if I could find something better. Next week I’ll share with you what I found and what I decided.

The second thing that has me reconsidering my original seed starting plan is this: The moon.

Yes, you read that right. I said the moon. As I was doing research on the best times to plant certain seeds I ran across information from The Old Farmer’s Almanac explaining that for generations farmers have had “an age-old practice that suggests that the Moon in its cycles affects plant growth.

I made a mental note to look into it. Before it could get far from my mind the topic came up during a conversation with another farmer who is planning to try planting by the moon this season. I decided to dig a little further and found this gem of an article on planting by moon phases.

Moon Phases Made Simple

The article is titled Moon Phases Made Simple and in it the author (blogger Amy Renea) explains that “it is not mystical at all.  It is simply working under the premise that as the tides come and go with the moon, so do the water needs and pressures in the ground and in plants.” She goes on to explain:

“Basically, when the moon is waxing (or going from a new moon to a full moon), it is best to plant plants that are growing UP.  Any plant that grows up, like corn, berries, and grapes come first.  Then comes the introverted plants that grow out, but hide their seeds inside like pumpkins.  When the moon is waning, it is best to plant plants that are going DOWN.    Any plant that needs really strong roots like beets or potatoes should be planted when the moon is waning.”

Amy created a straight-forward visual aid for planting by the moon’s phases:

moon cycles planting chart

{Image Credit}

Moon-Favorable Dates

The good ole’ folks at The Old Farmer’s Almanac put together this quick video to explain the practice as well:

Seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? Since a giant part of what I’m doing at Arcadia Farms is learning (and passing on what I learn) I decided it was a worthwhile experiment. So I compared the seed-starting dates I had chosen in my original plan to the moon-favorable dates provided by the Farmer’s Almanac website and adjusted them accordingly. My new seed planting dates can be found by clicking here.  (As I mentioned before – don’t hold me to it! I might change my mind or find an error!) If you would also like to try planting by moon phases, you can easily determine the best dates by using the Farmer’s Almanac’s 2013 Best Spring Planting Dates for Seeds tool. The tool lists 23 common garden vegetables along with the most moon-favorable dates for your city. I also used the actual Moon Phase Calendar to gauge good days because some of the “best” days picked by the Almanac didn’t work well for my schedule and I had to look to the next month.

What do you think? Will you try planting by the moon? Any experienced moon-planters out there with tips to share?

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