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Gardening with Laurie: Try gardening by the moon

By By Laurie Garretson
March 14, 2013 at midnight
Updated March 13, 2013 at 10:14 p.m.


With the popularity of vegetable gardening increasing, so has the practice of moon gardening, sometimes known as lunar planting. As long as there has been agriculture, there have been humans who gardened according to the different phases of the moon.

Those first beings were the first of the organic gardeners. They understood the importance of working with nature. Watching the sky, the insects and all animal life was all they had to go by. Planting with the moon is much more effective in organic soils.

The basis of moon gardening pertains to the moon's gravitational pull on the flow of water on our planet. Ocean tides are usually what's thought of when we think of the moon's gravity, but the moon affects all water on our planet.

The moisture in our soils and our plants, plus the light from the moon is what influences moon gardeners. Moon gardeners plan their garden chores to coincide with the rise and fall of the underground water tables. Plus, the light from the moon can help break the dormancy of certain seeds and start the germination process.

The moon has four phases. The first two quarters are known as the waxing or time of increasing moonlight. The third and fourth quarters are referred to as waning or a time of decreasing light.

First quarter or new moon is when the moon's gravity pulls water up. This along with the increasing moonlight will cause seeds to swell and break open. This is a time to plant above ground crops that produce their seeds outside the fruit such as broccoli and grains.

Second moon quarter is when the moon's gravitational pull is less. This is a time to plant crops that produce above the ground but their seeds are formed inside the fruit: tomatoes, melons and peppers. Mowing the lawn during the first or second will increase the growth.

The third quarter starts after a full moon. This is a time when the moon's gravitational pull is high, which creates more moisture in the soil. The moon's light is beginning to decrease, which puts more energy into roots. This is a time to plant your root crops, such as carrots and beets. Also, it's a good time to plant perennials and bulbs.

The fourth quarter is when there is decreasing moonlight and gravitational pull from the moon. This period is considered a resting time. It's the best time to cultivate, transplant, harvest and prune. Mowing during the third and fourth quarter's will help to retard growth.

Today, we are in a waxing phase. Time to plant beans, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers plus others mentioned in the first and second moon quarters.

The old Farmers Almanac is a good place to get current info on moon gardening dates.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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