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lukeout007
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Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

Has anyone had any experience with moon phase gardening? I have a friend who has been experimenting with good results but I'm still skeptical.

DoubleDogFarm
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

I'm not sure. Most people don't look good bare bottom.


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lukeout007
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

Speak for yourself. My butt is incredible.

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

I am also a skeptic. Plant only if there is a moon orbiting the earth and harvest when things are ripe.
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

Plant only if there is a moon orbiting the earth
I think he means Uranus.


Eric

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

When to Plant, Wean, Castrate, Build Fences, Harvest
by Martha White
Source: The 1994 Old Farmer's Almanac

The age-old practice of performing farm chores by the Moon stems from the simple belief that the Moon governs moisture.

Pliny the Elder, the first-century Roman naturalist, stated in his Natural History that the Moon "replenishes the earth; when she approaches it, she fills all bodies, while, when she recedes, she empties them."

The Moon's Phases
The Moon's phases guided many a farmer and gardener in the past, and still do today:

Moonrise occurring in the evening brings fair weather, says one proverb, harking back to the belief that the waning Moon (full and last quarter, which rise in the evening) is dry.
The New Moon and first quarter, or waxing phases, are considered fertile and wet.
The new and first-quarter phases, known as the light of the Moon, are considered good for planting above-ground crops, putting down sod, grafting trees, and transplanting.
From full Moon through the last quarter, or the dark of the Moon, is the best time for killing weeds, thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops.
The time just before the full Moon is considered particularly wet, and is best for planting during drought conditions.

Moon Folklore
Folklore is rich among farmers, given their close ties to Earth and her natural rhythms.

Rail fences cut during the dry, waning Moon will stay straighter.
Wooden shingles and shakes will lie flatter if cut during the dark of the Moon.
Fence posts should be set in the dark of the Moon to resist rotting. Ozark lore says that fence posts should always be set as the tree grew. To set the root end upward makes a short-lived fence.
Don't begin weaning when the Moon is waning.
Castrate and dehorn animals when the Moon is waning for less bleeding.
Slaughter when the Moon is waxing for juicier meat.
Crabbing, shrimping, and clamming are best when the Moon is full.
Best days for fishing are between the new and full Moon. See our best fishing dates for the year.
Dig your horseradish in the full Moon for the best flavor.
Set eggs to hatch on the Moon's increase, but not if a south wind blows.

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

I'm a believer.

I must admit though that I usually only pay attention to it when my seeds fail to sprout. After a while a lot of this is done unconsciously. I don't understand it all that well, but it does seem to work. Of course common sense also applies. I would not attempt to grow seeds outside of the 65-75 night temp range, they just don't sprout all that well.

Moon Planting Rule
New Moon To Full Moon: Sow, Transplant, bud and graft.
Full Moon To New Moon: Plow, Cultivate, weed and reap.
New Moon To First Quarter: Good for Planting above-ground crops with outside seeds,
flowering annuals.
First Quarter To Full Moon: Good for planting above ground crops with inside seeds.
Full Moon To Last Quarter: Good for planting root crops, bulbs, biennials, and perennials.
Last Quarter To New Moon: Do Not Plant

The phases of the moon affect the tides and what fish you can catch during the different phases of the moon.

https://stardate.org/nightsky/moon
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jal_ut
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

It is so much superstition and hype.
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

My grandparents were successful farmers by gardening by the moon signs. When my squarefoot garden didn't flourish in the beginning, I checked the signs and they were not favorable that day for planting so it makes me wonder. I am just a beginner gardener and I plant to garden/plant according to the almanac so we shall see.
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lukeout007
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

I mean it makes sense to a point. Just as the moon would have an effect on the tide I could see it also affecting growth. I just don't know if it's enough of an effect to actually make a noticeable difference as far as success goes.

@Eric

Thank you for that excerpt. That definitely answers some questions. (not just gardening ones for that matter...I always wondered why one of the beers I like was called "Pliny The Elder" lol)

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

I pay more attention to Sun. If the Sun doesn't shine, things are going to be pretty bad in your garden. If the Sun is down low in the sky, it's cold. If the Sun is high in the sky it's warm. The Moon doesn't do squat. Moisture relates to the Sun and Moon equally. If it's raining, neither are shining. A gentle breeze will push on a plant a lot more than the Moon will pull on it.

Besides, if you go out at night and gaze at the Moon, you might just step on your plants. Not so with the Sun!

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

Besides, if you go out at night and gaze at the Moon, you might just step on your plants. Not so with the Sun!
Then why are you wearing sunglasses?

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

I like to try out gardening practices for myself. So I tried consulting moon phase gardening calendars. There seems to be different schools of thought and there are at leat two primary calendars and three or four sub-classes with different recommendations following those calendars.

Sometimes, recommendations for a given period of the moon phase conflicts among the different practices. So, I picked one for which the explanation sounded most reasonable to me and the available on-line calendar was clearly described. There was one kind which was rather vague and you had to buy or subscribe to an yearly almanac for details --Avoided that one.

As with most gardening practices, I think the most important factor is whether it "works" for you. And by this, I mean whether your personal schedule and temperament finds the results worthwhile for the time and effort spent on it.

Gardening by moon phases did not work for me because it was too difficult to juggle the logistics of when I had the time, inclination, and energy to do the work, family's needs and the weather pattern needs of the plants (rain, day/night temperature, frost, predicted) AND apply the restrictions imposed by the phases of the moon, when the plants themselves have their own needs as to when they need to be planted.

All in all, I prefer starting/sowing seeds and planting in the garden according to weeks to last average frost in the spring and planting them out in the garden according to weeks before and after, then starting/sowing seeds and planting according to days to maturity (adjusting for local climate of reporting grower/seed source) and the days/weeks to first average frost in the fall. I have to do other garden(ing) chores when I can, when needed -- in that order.
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

I agree with applestar. I would not be so quick as james to write it off as hokum (james doesn't believe in companion planting either and there's good scientific evidence for that). However, I never seem to manage to actually pay much attention to moon phases, since there's so much else to take in to account, like when I have time to do things in the garden and whether the weather is right to do them. If those two things happen to coincide, I count myself very lucky and am not going to add in another restriction.
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

We could all join the Unification Church. We would be phased by Moon.

:lol: :roll:

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lukeout007
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

rainbowgardener wrote:since there's so much else to take in to account, like when I have time to do things in the garden and whether the weather is right to do them. If those two things happen to coincide, I count myself very lucky and am not going to add in another restriction.
This definitely makes sense to me

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

DoubleDogFarm wrote:We could all join the Unification Church. We would be phased by Moon.

:lol: :roll:

Eric
I'm far too busy with my scientolo... :shock: ....I mean...I don't have time.

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

Planting by the moon sounds complicated but it was followed by the Aztecs, Chinese, and Egyptians. Fertility rites of ancient cultures did have a lot of ritual and superstition woven into them and a lot of conditions, but these cultures flourished and were able to sustain themselves reliably in order to support large populations. Only a culture that could provide food for itself reliably was able to develop the arts, specialized artisans, science, and literature. The Egyption and Aztec calendars were so accurate that they were off by one day every 5000 years and they figured all of it out by noticing the movement of the sun, moon, and the stars. All the while, believing that the world was flat or a giant serpent's egg.

It is not just the phases of the moon that are taken into account but also the heavenly signs or seasons. That is why there are so many moon calendars tied to the signs of the zodiac, because the view of the stars shifts depending on the time of the year. I'm sure they also took into account local conditions that would affect plant growth like temperature, day length and rain. Many places today still plant anticipating a monsoon season to help the plants grow. The ancient Egyptians counted on the annual flooding of the Nile to deposit the fertile silt which provided a bountiful harvest and enriched Egypt through trade with other countries.

I know that certain times of the month nothing I plant seems to grow and I don't do anything different, same soil mix, seed, pot size and location, watering, rain and temperature may vary, but in a different week, the seeds sprouts better. It may be superstition, but when I do check back my bad weeks are often around the new moon. I am better at dating my labels now and I am recording in my garden journal more consistently so I can actually check back. Before I thought it was the seed or the soil mix, but it failed regardless of the age of the seeds and I changed the soil mix and did not get any better results. Even the direct seeded plants failed to grow and I can't blame the soil mix on that.

As Apple said whatever works. There is really only about one barren week a month, even if you don't plant by the moon chances are that you will have a 75% chance of hitting a time that is good for planting. Those are pretty good odds. Over time, we have probably also observed as the ancients did that you don't work soil, especially clay when it is wet, you don't plant when it is too cold or too hot, planting right before rain is great, certain times of the year and in certain conditions you can expect the usual onslaught of insects and diseases that peak just as the plants are ready to sprout, bloom or fruit. And that, to every thing there is a season.
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

I do think its interesting that so many ancient civilizations gardened by the moon phases. I've heard that several times in the past. It's pretty hard to argue with that logic I suppose.

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to build up,a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late.

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Gary350
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

NOVA did a 1 hour TV show on this. Plants do most of their growing at night in the dark. To get the largest crop you want your plants to produce fruit in the dark. You need to plant your crops at the correct time so they mature in the dark of the moon.

Old Timers will tell you to plant certain crops by the light of the moon and to plant certain crops by the dark of the moon. All they know is you get a better harvest but they don't know why.

NOVA planted several test fields 2 weeks apart so one crop would mature in the dark of the moon and the other crop would mature during the light of the moon. In all the test field they got the best harvest in the fields that matured during the dark of the moon. I don't remember the exact numbers but it went something like this 40 bushel per acre in the dark of the moon field and 38 bushel per acrea in the light of the moon field. Other fields were 40/37, 40/39, 40/37, 40/38, etc. There is about 5% harvest increase in the dark of the moon fields.

Lets assume you do this with tomato plants in your garden. If your plants produce 40 tomatoes per plant all season by the dark of the moon it might produce 38 tomatoes in the light of the moon. So you get 2 extra tomatoes in the dark of the moon. Its not a bid deal in a small garden but 2000 acres of tomatoes would be a big improvement in the harvest.

University of Ohio did a study of North/South rows compared to East/West rows. They found east/west rows produced a smaller harvest. Again not a big deal in the small garden. But in a 2000 acre field where the farmer gets $380 per acre compared to $400 per acre = $40,000. increase in the harvest.

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lukeout007
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

Gary350 wrote:Lets assume you do this with tomato plants in your garden. If your plants produce 40 tomatoes per plant all season by the dark of the moon it might produce 38 tomatoes in the light of the moon. So you get 2 extra tomatoes in the dark of the moon. Its not a bid deal in a small garden but 2000 acres of tomatoes would be a big improvement in the harvest.
That definitely puts it into perspective. I'll have to see if I can find this on youtube or something. Thanks!

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

There is about 5% harvest increase in the dark of the moon fields
You would get this variation simply by soil moisture, soil temperture and fertilizer schedule. Probably cultivtion also.

Eric

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

Hmmm, the moon cycles every 28 days. Consider how much day length changes in that much time. I am of the opinion sunlight time has much more of a bearing on the outcome than where the moon is.

Yes, I am sure you will get a variation whenever or whatever you plant, the real trick is to prove it had anything to do with the moon. Sunlight, temperature, water, and soil fertility are the things that really matter. Can you prove that any of these other important items are regulated by the moon? Good luck with that!
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imafan26
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

Well, assuming you work the soil the same in your plot from year to year. You till, add compost, fertilize, water as needed and you plant. Sometimes everything comes up, sometimes nothing. It was the same soil and worked the same way and the replanting was done within weeks, so the soil conditions should not be that different.

I know that when I plant seeds in pots and certain seeds like nasturtiums only come up when they are ready. Nasturtiums seeds come up in the garden without being planted every year, but when the old plants are pulled out in the early summer, the seeds won't sprout until it is cooler.

Some of my seeds in pots failed to germinate. So, I over seeded the pots a month later, sometimes with the same seed and sometimes something else. Once in a while, seed that failed to sprout a month earlier will decide to sprout later. And when I have failures it is usually not one seed or one pot, it can be a whole tray sometimes with different seeds using the same planting mix as always. When I do check back on the dates, it is often in the barren time of the month. I usually plant in the second and third weeks of the month. Lunar calendars are based on 28 day cycles so the barren time shifts, so once in a while if I plant as I usually do based on a Gregorian calendar, I end up in a barren time.
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Meatburner
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

I check the "Farmers Almanac" and use it as best I can. Cannot give any proof or input but think following it is fine. Most of the suggested days for tasks are only a few days from planting when you normally would so I don't think it is a big deal to use their dates.

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

You till, add compost, fertilize, water as needed and you plant. Sometimes everything comes up, sometimes nothing.
Indeed you are right. My date for spring planting is May 5 for the warm weather plants like corn beans etc. Of course if it happens to be a snow storm that day, I am not going to plant. If it is a nice day I likely will if nothing else is of higher priority.

Some years all comes up nicely, other years not much comes and I must replant. When I get failure, it is usually because of inclement and cool weather. The seeds lie in the ground and rot. Does the moon have a bearing on all of this? I don't know. Frankly, I ignore the moon in my garden planning. I have had enough great successes over the years, that I am convinced one can have a great garden with never a second thought about the moon.

Just looking at some plantings this year and putting the moon in the picture:

This year I planted corn May 5 (dark moon) May 17 (1st Quarter moon) June 16 (first quarter moon) All did very well.

Potatoes April 27 (full moon) Have done well.

Onions March 19 (first quarter) have done excellent.

Spinach March 17 (new moon) Most came, but it could have been better. The snow just left the ground on the 15th. The soil was cold.

I planted some beets and cabbage April 27 ( Full Moon) that failed. We were having a long cold wet spell.

OK, that was fun, but still don't know what effect, if any, the moon had on my successes or failures.
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veggiedan
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

"You need to plant your crops at the correct time so they mature in the dark of the moon."

I got a few streetlights I need to shoot out. Never thought that they could keep my plants from growing. Geez, let's move on here, OK? If Moon phase were any issue at all, commercial gardeners would worship that schedule. Think they do? Think again.

If anyone can cite results, from double-blind experiments, that the phase of the Moon matters in the least to gardening, I'd be delighted to hear about it. Until then, as Neal Armstrong's family asked us to do, I'll just wink at it.

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

I already said I don't pay attention to moon phases. But what commercial farmers\ agribusiness types do or don't is not particularly a measure of good practice to me. What they do is all based on what uses the least amount of human labor, since in almost any business labor is the biggest expense. Given that commodity prices are low, it doesn't even pay them (and agribusiness is all about squeezing every penny of short term profit from the land) to increase productivity\ yield, if they have to use more labor to do it. They are "mining" the land, not worrying about preserving soil fertility, not worrying about quality of produce (except qualities like shelf life and standing up to shipping, and cosmetics), etc.

So if agribusiness doesn't pay attention to moon phases, then maybe I should... best argument I've heard for it! :)
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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

I have to admit my first thought when I saw this thread in the new post search result was "...oh are we still talking about this?" ...but let's see, like I said before, ultimately techniques that work for you are what works. If it doesn't make sense/work for you, don't use them, but there's no use denying that something works for some people when it does. (did that convoluted argument make sense? :wink:)

One aspect of planting by the phases of the moon that I might point out is that it forces the gardener to pay attention to the weather (so you can see the moon for yourself -- I assume you'd want to), pay attention to -- or even scrutinize -- the way your plants are growing on regular basis, and sets up an easy to follow (that IS, if you are just following it and not finding reasons for not following :P) schedule of gardening chores that need to get done. These are all good habits for gardeners and for their gardens to grow well. :mrgreen:

IMHO, you won't know if it will work for you or not until you try it for yourself. The fact that I can't integrate it into my gardening habits means I can't even find out if it works or not. I have only admiration for those who can.

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

"But what commercial farmers\ agribusiness types do or don't is not particularly a measure of good practice to me."

One can certainly be judgmental about commercial practices, but their bottom line is increasing value. If minimization of human labor is considered poor practice, then that poor practice is what I aspire to in my home garden. I'm quite happy with the idea of trying it and seeing if it works, but I'm just saying that if it isn't a common commercial practice, it's pretty certain that it was tried, in a carefully controlled way, and it doesn't work. If there were any hint that it might work, you can bet that agribusiness would have funded huge studies of it. Hey, that's how we can make a mint! We could offer to do those controlled experiments for agribusiness.

Any extra constraints one imposes on gardening practice has organizational costs. Planting by lunar phase would, for me, be a really big cost. My planting window would shrink by factors of several. I can think of a lot of reasons why planting when it is inconvenient for me would harm my garden productivity, actually. So unless there is evidence that it offers value, I'm sure not going to bother.

You can sprinkle magic water on your plants, make offerings, and recite incantations as well. I guess if it makes you feel better, go for it. If the mood of the gardener is improved by doing any of these things, I guess it might be considered to offer value.

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Re: Thoughts On Moon Phase Gardening?

You can sprinkle magic water on your plants, make offerings, and recite incantations as well. I guess if it makes you feel better, go for it. If the mood of the gardener is improved by doing any of these things, I guess it might be considered to offer value.
It makes my painted mountain corn that's advertised 5ft tall to grow to 8ft plus tall and makes my bladder feel better. Not sure about incantations, it's more like foot tapping and singing.


:lol: Eric :lol:

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