Astrological Gardening: Voodoo or Cool?

Some gardeners scoff at the idea of planting by the moon signs, while others claim the natural rhythms help make their crops more prolific. My feeling? Why not play around with it and see what happens?
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Personally, I think it's very cool! Astrology has played an important role in gardening since our ancestors first began planting seeds in the soil to grow food, medicinal herbs and flowers. In ancient times the sun, moon and stars were critical because they were constants in our ancestors' lives. Today we have the internet, iPhones and cable TV to remind us that the astounding celestial world outside is still spinning on schedule! Some gardeners and farmers may scoff at the idea of planting by the moon signs and phases while many others claim the natural rhythms of the universe helps to make their crops more prolific. These gardeners found that crops fared better when planted at certain times of the moon's phase. My feeling is why not play around with it and see what happens? Take a small section of your garden and do a test run of planting crops according to the cyclical movement of the planets. (I wish I could tell you that I have tried planting by the moon but, sigh... I am just a fickle, impatient and impulsive gardener from New York City so I have not.)

Here's How It Works:

Get yourself a copy of an almanac or calendar that lists the exact time and date of the moon's phases and its passage from one zodiac sign to the next. There are four main moon positions.

New moon to first quarter moon is when the moon appears to grow from nothing to a crescent. This is the time to plant above ground crops with seed you can see. Good examples would be asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, lettuce, parsley and spinach.

First quarter to full moon is next. This is when the crescent moon grows to a full moon. This is the proper time to plant above-ground crops with seed you can see and those that contain a fruit, pod or flower. Some examples of these are beans, melons, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and peppers.

Full moon to last quarter moon is a waning or decreasing phase. Gardening lore suggests planting underground crops now such as bulbs, root crops, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, radishes as well as perennial non-edible plants.

The final phase is the last quarter to new moon phase where the moon is on its way back to the new moon. This is not a good time to plant! Instead weed or cultivate the soil or undertake a pest control issue that's been bugging you and your plants!

The moon's path is divided into twelve sections of 30 degrees. Each section has a zodiac sign from the constellation. For example, "The moon is in Taurus" means the moon is in the same part of the sky as the constellation Taurus. The moon moves into a new sign every 2-3 days.

There are also fruitful or barren signs of the zodiac to consider in your planting. As the introspective moon makes it monthly journey around the earth watching us, probably wondering why we still haven't created 'peace on earth', it passes through constellations that contain the 12 zodiac signs.

Here are a few to look out for:

Fruitful Zodiac Signs:

Cancer and Scorpio: This is a great time for planting, transplanting, budding and grafting.
Taurus: A semi-fruitful time. Better for root and leafy crops.
Capricorn and Libra: Semi-fruitful Better for root crops, tubers and vines.

Barren Zodiac Signs:

Leo: This is the most barren sign. Go back indoors!
Virgo, Gemini and Aquarius: This is a good time for weeding, cultivating and solving pest problems.
Aries and Sagittarius: Plant onions and garlic. Continue weeding.

For the best crop results, plant when the moon is both in the correct moon phase and fruitful Zodiac sign. Good luck on your celestial science experiment. At least now we'll have another excuse for our fancy heirloom tomatoes going bust as the guy next door, who knows nothing about gardening, grows gorgeous, healthy "Martian Giant" tomatoes. We may have found the perfect scapegoat. Just blame it on the moon. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

For more reading on Astrological Gardening, see Louise Riotte's two informative books on this topic: Planetary Planting and Astrological Gardening.

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