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Planting by the Moon

With acknowledgements to the contributors to
the Permaculture Association of South Australia's 1988 Calendar.

Triple Moon

This is an ancient planting system known to every early culture throughout the world. Once again it is becoming popular as people search for alternatives to chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and their frightening side effects. Working with the appropriate phase of the Moon for all aspects of planting, cultivation, and harvesting will increase quality as well as quantity in your crops. Many herbalists are using this system and producing vastly more potent medicinal and culinary plants.

The Moon phase is the dominant influence in lunar planting.
The days of Full Moon and New (or Dark) Moon are best avoided. Use them for celebration, or rest and meditation.
Another point worth considering is that Local Time is different from Standard Time. Rather than re-calculating standard time data, at 4 minutes for each 15° of Longitude, it's probably easier to allow a period of, say, an hour either side of the given time for a change of phase or sign. I'll write more about this at a later date for those who are interested

NEW MOON PHASE - 12 hours after Dark Moon to First Quarter
Every living thing feels an upsurge of energy - the sap is rising. A great time to plant or to start any projects, although some believe that it is better to wait until you can actually see the crescent of the New Moon.
Plant, graft and transplant annuals that produce above ground, especially those of a leafy kind that produce seeds outside the fruit, also cereals and grains.
Don't pick anything as it rots too easily at this time. Mow lawns to increase growth. Plants need more oxygen at this time.
The Moon rises and sets with the Sun at this time, and for the first one or two days is invisible. Every night she sets approximately one hour later; and can first been seen as a waxing crescent (increasing in light) close to the Sun, at sunset.

FIRST QUARTER PHASE - First Quarter to 12 hours before Full Moon
The energy (and the sap) is still fresh rising - this is a good phase for starting anything. Plant, graft and transplant annuals that produce above ground, especially of a vine-type with seeds produced inside (like beans, peas, peppers, squash and tomatoes).
Plant cereals and grains. All activities listed for the New Moon phase are just as successful if done now. The last two days of this phase, just before the Full Moon are considered optimum for planting, and grafts take best if done at this time.
By the First quarter phase the Moon is rising at noon, setting at midnight. She slowly grows in light, illuminating the first half of the night sky.

FULL MOON PHASE - 12 hours after Full Moon to Last quarter.
There is a peaking of the electromagnetic energy of all living things at the exact time of the Full Moon, and then a slow withdrawal of energy for the next two weeks, as the Moon wanes.
Plant perennials, biennials, bulb and root crops and anything that produces below ground. The sap flow is downwards into the roots. Pruning is most successful now, and it is an excellent time to harvest all crops. Medicinal herbs and plants are most potent when picked now. This is a great time for sprouting seeds to eat, but not so good for sprouting seeds for planting, as there is a good initial growth spurt with only spindly follow through.
The Full Moon rises brilliant and full at sunset illuminating the sky for the whole night. It will rise later and later in the evening as it moves through its waning phase.

LAST QUARTER PHASE - Last Quarter to 12 hours before Dark Moon
This is a barren phase, where it is most appropriate to rest or to prepare for the next New Moon. It is great for cultivation - pulling weeds, turning the earth, pruning, spraying. Apply organic fertilizers any time during the Waning Moon, from Full Moon onward. Mow lawns to decrease growth.
This is the best phase for harvesting crops that you want to store for a period of time without rotting or losing flavour. Transplant close to the end of this period for an easy recovery with little trauma.
Set fence posts, spread manure. Weeds pulled now have no strength to sprout again.
The Last Quarter Moon rises at midnight in the beginning of the phase, showing us her slowly vanishing crescent in the early morning eastern sky. She then moves closer to the Sun until she becomes invisible for the last day of the phase. The cycle is complete.


For serious gardeners a secondary influence should also be taken into consideration, this being the sign the Moon is found in each day. The blossom, the fruit (or seed), the leaf, and the root of a plant each are stimulated by different Moon signs. Cultivation should be organized to take maximum advantage of this influence, depending on what part of the plant needs accentuation. This indicates the primary lunar influence in effect. Note the signs for each calendar day.
Note: For best results, use the International Astronomical Union Zodiac not the Tropical Zodiac used by Astrologers.
See Planting by the Moon - Does it Work?

A note from Margaret - If you are seriously interested in experimenting with Moon Planting, you are strongly recommended to obtain a Biodynamic Planting Calendar.
ASTROCALENDARS - compiled and published by Brian Keats for both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres are now available online, by post, or through Anthroposophical Society bookshops, and some Biodynamic groups.
A new product is the BIODYNAMIC GROWING GUIDE, a sturdy six page A4 format, with three moving wheels, protection coated.
There is also much other relevant information on, or available through, Brian's website.
Since the great Isaac Newton complained that
trying to understand the numerous varying cycles and the motion of the Moon was the only thing which gave him a headache, Brian and Sandra do an excellent job at very reasonable cost.

                           AriesAries                            LeoLeo                           Sagittarius Sagittarius
When you plant in a FIRE sign, the Moon's influence is channelled into the fruit and seed of the plant. Wheat, corn, tomatoes, beans, squash, peas and all fruit.
Plant now to get quality seeds for next year. Harvest fruit and seed crops as well. The very best seeds are obtained from a Fire sign Full Moon. This is an excellent time for any cultivating, tilling or ploughing. Plant garlic, leeks, onions, peppers or chicory if you are looking for an exceptionally spicy crop.

                          GeminiGemini                          LibraLibra                           AquariusAquarius
When you plant in an AIR sign, the Moon's influence is channelled into the blossom growth. Plant all flowers and flowering plants (except cauliflower and broccoli which do better in a Water sign). Plant now if you want fragrance and beauty. The Moon in Gemini is good for flowering herbs, while the Moon in Aquarius is good for planting or harvesting hybrids (though hybrids don't respond well to lunar planting methods). This is also a good time for cultivation, weeding or eliminating pests. If you can't plant now, plant in Fire.

                          TaurusTaurus                           VirgoVirgo                           CapricornCapricorn
When you plant is an EARTH sign, the energy of the Moon is focused into the roots of the plant. Carrots, beets, turnips, potatoes, and all tubers. Plant now to produce strong, hardy well-anchored plants. Turn compost heaps. The Moon in Capricorn will produce an exceptionally hardy plant which will last through dry weather spells. When the Moon is in Virgo, put your garden in order; tie up plants, apply organic fertilizers. The Earth signs are considered to be extremely fertile, so if you can't figure out what sign you should be using, or can't possibly organize your time for a specific sign, then plant in an Earth sign or a Water sign. The best day to cut grass is in this sign in the waning moon.

                           CancerCancer                           ScorpioScorpio                           PiscesPisces
When you plant in a WATER sign, the energy will go into the leaves. Lettuce, spinach, grass, cabbage, cress, any leafy growth will thrive planted now. This is considered to be the most productive sign, even more so than Earth. Very good for fertilizing and irrigating. Start composts heaps. Sow pass. Don't harvest now, crops will decay too soon. Plant melons, grapes, any fruit with high water content will do well at this time.

Moon Planting - does it work?
Gardening & Weather Information for South Australia

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