Moon Gardening: Myth or Method?

With the Super Blood Wolf Moon wowing stargazers around the world over the weekend, the celestial body has been getting a lot of attention lately. The recent total lunar eclipse doesn’t have much to do with gardening, but looking to the Moon for beautiful blooms and bountiful harvests is an age-old technique once again gaining steam.

Some say it’s just a myth, but Garden Media Group has listed lunar gardening as one of its top trends for 2019. It makes perfect sense too, with many experts agreeing most of us are looking to connect with Mother Nature this year.

The Moon has been an inspiration to gardeners and farmers alike since the beginning of agriculture. It is widely believed that phases of the Moon dictate the best times to plant, prune, weed, and harvest.

How can that be? The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains that similar to ocean tides, the water in the ground and our plants are affected by both the Sun and the Moon. Science has even proven that seeds absorb more water during the New and Full phases of the Moon. Incredible!  

Here are the ground rules for planting by the sky:

  • The lunar cycle is 29.5 days, and during that time the Moon experiences four primary phases – New, Full, and two different Quarter phases.
  • When the Moon is between the New and Full phases, it is in “waxing.”
  • After the Full Moon, it starts to “wane.”

Aboveground Crops

Plant annuals and vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and celery during the waxing Moon. The Farmer’s Almanac recommends using the First Quarter phase for seasonal fruits and foods with external seeds, like beans, broccoli, and tomatoes.  

Root Crops

When the Moon moves into the waning phase, just past Full, plant root crops like potatoes, beets, asparagus, and rhubarb. It’s also an excellent time to get fruit trees into the ground. The experts say the Last Quarter phase is reserved for soil improvement by way of compost, mulching, and weeding.

By the Light of the Moon

As sun worshipers, we tend to focus so much on how our gardens look during the day. But what about at night? Should our gardens not glow under the light of the Moon?

Choosing cream or white-colored flowers for your garden will ensure your yard looks beautiful both day and night. I have multiple “White Swan” hydrangeas planted around my property, and their giant, white, snowball flowers are visible even when the sky falls dark.

Building a nighttime garden is very easy. There are even various blooms that release a beautiful scent only after the sun goes down, such as petunias, wisteria, and angel’s trumpet. So many different options for Moon gardens exist (check out this list by HGTV), but here are a few good ones that I have experience with:

  • “White Swan” coneflowers
  • Lilies of the valley
  • Sweet alyssum
  • “White Perfection” dahlias
  • Night phlox
  • Jack Frost Bugloss

Whether planting by the different phases of the Moon or choosing varieties that need lunar light to glow, Mother Nature is bound to approve.

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Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.