How to Garden by the Moon


Author: Wiley Geren,

No, no, no – you won’t have to literally garden in the moonlight. That would be inconvenient. Using the lunar cycle to pinpoint seed planting dates for healthier plants and more bountiful harvest is an age-old practice still used to this day though. It might not be the most popular trend right now, but it is based in science and suggested by the long-standing Farmer’s Almanac. If the moon can affect our world’s tides and light up the darkest nights, then it can affect how your garden performs.

To be clear, this is not a substitute for Hardiness Zones and seasonal gardening; it is an additional technique that improves the vigor of your garden. When done properly gardening of any kind, from square foot gardening to window sill planters, with the lunar calendar will further benefit:

  • Soil Moisture
  • Root Invigoration
  • Seed Swell
  • Leaf Stimulation

Get to Know the Moon Cycle

For gardening, the moon cycle is broken into four phases. Before you use this approach, it’s important to understand the science behind the moon’s gravitational pull and your garden’s reaction:

  • New Moon: During this phase, the moon’s gravity pulls water upward, and newly planted seeds swell and burst into growth. This is one of the best opportunities for planting crops that bear fruit above ground with external seeds (Spinach, Broccoli, Lettuce, etc.)
    GIM New Moon
  • 2nd Quarter Moon: During this phase, the gravitational pull lessens slightly and the moonlight increases. Moonlight has proven to aid healthy leaf growth, and the gravitational pull is still strong enough for planting seeds. Crops with above-ground fruit and internal seeds (melons, peppers, tomatoes, etc.) prefer this quarter, and do best if planted a few days prior to the full moon.
    GIM 2nd Quarter Moon
  • Full Moon: The full moon phase sees the peak of the 2nd quarter moon’s light and the start of its decrease (waning). Its gravitational pull remains high so soil moisture isn’t an issue, but the moonlight starts to fade. The full moon is a peak point for moonlight, which begins the decrease in its reflection of the sun. This isn’t an issue, however, because roots will benefit. That means root crops (beets, carrots, etc.) prefer to be planted at this time.
    GIM Full Moon
  • 4th Quarter Moon: This phase is the “resting period”. Decreased gravitational pull and lack of moonlight means that it doesn’t assist your garden. That’s why the 4th quarter moon is a time when harvesting, fertilizing, and pruning occurs.
  •  GIM 4th Quarter Moon

What to Plant When and Where

Lunar calendar gardening dates do change depending on where you live. Following the pattern of Hardiness Zones, there are 4 North America regions. Region 4 begins deeper into Northern Canada where gardening is fairly restricted due to temperatures, so let’s cover regions 1-3. What these regions account for is seasonal temperatures. The phase in which you plant has to be coupled with your standard seasonal gardening practices. The following are popular vegetables and when you should plant them according to region and lunar phase:

8/4/2018 10:39:43 AM

The easiest way to find the right dates for planting, weeding, harvesting, etc. is to check the Old Farmers' Almanac charts towards the back of the book. I garden by the moon because i need all the help I can get. My mother-in-law, raised in the pre-World War 2 Polish countryside said that farmers, including her family followed the moon signs.

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