Moonlit Gardening

The Distance of the Moon – Ink on Paper by James Moore

“The moon looks upon many night flowers; the night flowers see but one moon.”- Jean Ingelow

One of the more fascinating things that we discovered lately is that for hundreds of years people have been planting their plants and vegetables depending on where the moon is in its cycle.

For example, they would plant annual flowers and fruit and vegetables that bear crops above ground (such as tomatoes, and courgettes, peas) during the waxing of the Moon, that is from the day the Moon is new to the day it is full. As the moonlight increases each night, they believe plants are encouraged to grow leaves and stems.

During the waning of the Moon – from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again – gardeners would plant flowering bulbs, biennial and perennial flowers, and vegetables that bear crops below ground (such as onions, carrots, and potatoes – the kind of plants known as the nightshade family). As the moonlight decreases night by night, it was believed that plants are encouraged to grow roots, tubers, and bulbs.

The thinking behind Gardening by the Moon is that …just as the Moon’s gravitational pull causes tides to rise and fall, it also affects moisture in the soil – drawing it up to the top of the soil when it is a waxing moon. This causes seeds to swell, resulting in greater germination and better-established plants. When it is a waning moon the gravitational pull of the moon is lessened. The Earth’s gravity has a slightly stronger pull on the roots of plants which helps their downward growth.

Although little scientific evidence has been found to verify such claims, it is known that moonlight affects the leaf orientation of certain plants at night. Scientist Isabella Guerrini who works in the department of agriculture at the University of Perugia in Italy, has observed that sap flow in plants confirm that, indeed, fluid flows are …fuller, faster… as the moon becomes full, slowing down as the moon wanes. This, she explains, has important consequences for plant growth and pruning.

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