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Deeper Into the Gardening Journey: The Lunar Method

Updated: Mar 27, 2022

Planting a garden means different things to different people. Some people are happy to plant a seed and watch it grow and that is an amazing thing! To me gardening is an evolving and learning process, but that is me. I love to learn and try to always take things that interest me to the next level. I always have self-sustaining thoughts behind most of my studies, but they always center around bringing the old and lost with the new.

In a previous blog I talked about winter sowing and how that has become a favorite for me. It not only gives me starts for planting in the spring, but it has so many other benefits. It is a huge space saver! When you plant and put outside you do not need them lined up inside under lights. It is an energy saver! No lights or fans needed to start and build strong resistance. No maintenance! You don't have to spend time rotating, watering and keeping them fungus free. The biggest one for me is it IS my winter therapy! Usually, January is when the long cold winter bears down and you just want to get your hands in the dirt, but the frigid temperatures and feet of snow say different. It is not a problem! Plant and put out in the snowbank and just work as you can. THIS is winter sowing!

Then my journey progressed into learning about Lunar gardening. This is an ancient method that is based on the idea that as the moon increases in light it also increases in its gravitational pull. The moon affects the tide visually, but also pulls water to the surface which helps the seed germinate and grow. Timing not only affects germination, but the whole process from germination, harvest and the storing for winter.

Here is a basic run down of what it entails keeping in mind that the lunar cycle is broke up into 4 weeks as it cycles from new moon to new moon.

From new moon to the first quarter (about 1 week) is the time to start seeds that you harvest the leaf or need a stocky plant. Things like your leafy greens like lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard.

First quarter to second quarter (another week) is the time to plant fruits, flowers and veggies that produce a harvest with the seed contained in the fruit. This would be things like flowers, peppers, squashes and tomatoes.

We now are entering the 3rd quarter which also is about 1 weeklong and is the full moon. This is the time that the pull is strongest, so the water is the highest, but it starts to weaken which allows the water to soak down into the ground deeper. This is the time that you want to plant root veggies and also is the time to harvest or transplant. This is because the water will be around the root and not up into the plant, helping it become better established. The idea with using this time to harvest is because the water is being drawn out of the fruit and into the root making the moisture content best for storage, both in root and above ground harvest. I have done this for a few years, and I think I notice a big difference in the longevity of storage. I have had people tell me that their squash for instance, is not storing well, while mine is fresh and firm as can be. I truly believe that this harvesting trick is why.

So here is my dilemma though... I LOVE to winter sow, but if I winter sow, I am not able to Lunar Garden because I no longer have control of the “day” the germination happens. Or do I?

I put a lot of thought and study into this and asked in various groups and anyone that I could find that might have information. The truth is... I seem to be blazing a trail that not many have been on. Big shocker ;) In lunar gardening groups, they had never heard of winter sowing and in winter sowing they knew nothing of lunar gardening. I was left to problem solving and spent hours scouring whatever sources I could find. My final conclusion came entirely based on logical reasoning and that is, it doesn't matter what day I winter sow on because they don't germinate until the soil gets warm enough for a certain number of days to signal growth. So, by pulling the containers at the phase needed for growing just prior to the starting date, I have control. This means that according to the garden calendar I will bring the specific containers inside the house where its warm, still closed and let them germinate. I now have just controlled the time period they germinate and got to play in the dirt early!

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