Plant Growth is Closely Linked to the Cycles of the Sun and the Moon
Centuries ago, as people started growing their own food they have come to the realisation that plant growth is closely linked to the cycles of the Sun and the Moon. The Sun giving us our seasons as it travels between the Southern and Northern hemisphere and the Moon giving us our months and weeks as it travels around the earth relative to the Sun.
It takes the Moon about 29 days (a lunar month) to circle the earth and this is the period between successive new moons. There are four stages of the Moon, each about 7 days in duration, giving us our weekly periods.
The changing Sun-Moon angles cause changes in the moisture levels in the soil and in the atmosphere, influencing rainfall and temperature, all the factors that is necessary for seed and plant growth. The tradition of predicting the weather by the Moon has been a reliable reference for farmers for centuries as they are wholly dependent on the weather. This practise is rightfully gaining popularity in long term weather forecasting.
Gardening has always been a way for people to get closer to nature, to have some time to marvel at the beauty of a newly opened flower or having the pleasure of biting into a juicy home grown tomato. It is our own safe space, away from the stresses of life where we can relax and be social with family and friends.
Following the Moon phases will help to improve plant growth and increase production and vitality, making gardening pleasurable and fascinating. You will start to realise how your garden goes through its own cycles of growth, with more flowers in bloom during the waxing phase and harvesting juicier carrots during the waning phase.
The Phases of the Moon in a Nutshell
Waxing & Waning
The Moon circles around the earth in about 29 days, giving us our month period starting with the new Moon and followed by the waxing phase as it increases in light every night up to full Moon. The waning period starts after the full Moon and it decreases in light up to the new Moon.
The monthly movement is divided in four periods and gives us our weekly 7 days.
The waxing phase, as the Moon grows in light from New to Full Moon, is a period of increased activity that will stimulate seed germination and seedling development.
It is also during this phase that the above ground parts of the plant are stimulated to improve: leaf, flower, fruit and seed development. Upward movement of water in the plant is stimulated, carrying with it the nutrients and phyto-chemicals necessary for growth.
Seed germination and growth can be improved and supported by synchronizing it with the Moon phases. The germination of a seed is the cycle of activating metabolic activity in the seed (waxing moon), followed by the first root development for absorption of water and nutrients (waning moon) and then the first leaf growth (waxing moon).
The waning phase, as the Moon decreases in light from Full to New Moon, is a period of contraction for the above-ground growth while the growth of the root system is given priority. It is during this phase that the root mass will increase, as well as the absorption of nutrients from the soil. This is the assimilation phase, absorbing more nutrients and establishing a bigger root system to ensure the proper growth of the above-ground parts of the plant during the following waxing phase.
There is always a balance between the quality of the root system and the quality of the foliage, flowers and fruit. The better the roots the more lush the foliage, the higher the yield of flowers, fruit and seed.
The last quarter, running up to the new moon, is the phase that signifies rest and you should focus more on garden maintenance, transplanting and harvesting of root crops for optimum taste and quality.Harvesting fruit, seed and other leaves for processing (drying and preserving) is best done during the fourth quarter as the water content above ground is reduced and it aids in keeping the produce from spoiling or rotting.
Planting By the Moon Phases
So, to Summarize:
The waxing moon is a good time to sow seeds and do activities that will stimulate plant growth,
The full moon is a good time to make root cuttings and the rest of the time the waning phase is a good time to plant root crops, transplanting seedlings and do divisions,
The last quarter is a fallow time in the garden, but ideal for composting, fertilizing, maintenance and pruning of plants to reduce growth.
This article was taken from: http://www.healthyliving-herbs.co.za/index.php/moon-gardening/741-moon-gardening-introduction