Monday, April 18, 2011

IT'S A FULL MOON - Gardening with La Luna

It is a full moon!

La Luna influences the tides. Most of us are aware of that.

But did you know that the moon also influences the groundwater tables, the movement of fluids in plants, and elevation of continental land masses? And astrologers will tell you that whenever a big earthquake hits, La Luna was somehow involved in the alignment of the heavenly bodies. Midwives will tell you that on a full moon more babies are being born than on any other day in the month. And many hairdressers swear that cutting or coloring hair on a certain day will have a different outcome.

Per Sir Isaac Newton the tides are affected by the gravitational pull of the moon, which is stronger than the pull of the sun because it is closer to the earth.

Somehow, gardeners have put this to good use: The National Geographic reported that more gardeners today are planning their garden chores after the moon. This practise is called moon or lunar gardening and is based upon the moon's gravitational effect on the fluids in soil and plants.

But this is nothing new! Back in the day, everything including agriculture was planned in accordance to the heavenly bodies.

So, how does gardening by the moon work?

The moon moves through a complete cycle in 28 days, has four phases or quarters which each last about seven days. In the first two quarters, between the new and the full moon, light is increasing every night. The third and fourth quarters, after the full moon is when light is decreasing.

New Moon (Dark Moon) to Full Moon (Quarter 1 and 2)

In the first quarter, the lunar gravity pulls water up, causing seeds to swell and burst, plus the increasing moonlight creates balanced growth of root and leaves.

In the second quarter the gravitational pull is less, but the moonlight is strong. This makes for strong leaf growth. Plant two days before the full moon!

Q1/2 - Now it is time to:
  • seed plants that grow above ground, preferably annual crops that produce their seeds outside the fruit, i.e. beans, melons, peas, peppers, squash, and tomatoes, but also lettuce, spinach, celery, brokkoli, cabbages, cauliflower, grain crops as well as cucumbers like this phase
  • repot and groom houseplants
  • fertilize
  • graft fruit trees
  • plant evergreen and deciduous trees
  • mow lawns in the first or second quarter to increase growth.
Full Moon to Dark Moon (Quarter 3 and 4)

La Luna shrinks from the full moon down to the new moon or dark moon. In the Third Quarter, the energy is drawing down, creating more moisture in the soil; energy is being focused on the roots.

Q3 - Now it is time to:
  • plant, transplant and harvest root crops (bulbs, peanuts, onions, beets, carrots, potatoes) as growths goes into roots
  • plant biennials and perennials because they need strong roots
  • prune plants as the water table is diminishing and so less sap will flow out of the cut ends.
In the Fourth Quarter we have decreased gravitational pull and less moonlight; it is a dormant or resting period.

Q4 - Now it is time to:
  • weed
  • eliminate slugs (let's send out the ducks!)
  • prune plants as the water table is diminishing; less sap will flow out of the cut ends.
  • mow lawns; it won't regrow as fast
"Nature never says one thing and wisdom another." Decimus Junius Juvenalis

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