The principles of gardening by the moon

Method supported by some gardeners, gardening according to the moon declination follows some particular rules. Whether you are in favour of this method or not, it offers at least the advantage of good reference points.

Gardening by the Moon calls for a real organisation and specialized calendars!

Gardening by the Moon calls for a real organisation and specialized calendars!

The declinations of the Moon, basis of the method

The declination of the Moon is its position in the sky in relation to the horizon. For approximately ten days, the Moon goes up in the sky, and then goes down thus alternating rising and descending declinations (also called "waxing" and "waning" of the Moon). When the Moon is at the highest in the sky, gardening by the moon recommends to start gardening activities who call for water going up the stems and buds, so the aerial parts. On the contrary, the descending Moon calls for jobs for which we want the sap to direct itself towards the ground: sowing and planting. Ideally, a vegetable plot grown according to the Moon must follow this cycle basis. So sowings are done during descending days as the proverb "One must sow during the waning" says. On the contrary, pruning and maintenance jobs on aerial parts are to be done on an ascending Moon. One must not mistake the Moon declination with the Moon phases, which are not used in the gardening by the Moon principle.

Finally, it is recommended not to do any gardening during the hours which precede and follow a lunar node. This is the moment when the Moon trajectory cuts the Sun trajectory in the sky. This particular time is considered unfavourable to gardening.

According to this method, one has to sow and plants during a descending Moon

According to this method, one has to sow and plants during a descending Moon.

Pruning, if determined by the Moon declination, has to be done on an ascending Moon

Pruning, if determined by the Moon declination, has to be done on an ascending Moon.

With the constellations

Some gardeners complicate the method in taking also into account the movement (visible) of the Moon in front of the Zodiac constellation. Classed in four categories, they allow dividing the working time in the vegetable plot between the different types of vegetables. So this is a good system if you do not want to forget any important jobs. Be careful though, the dividing up of the tasks is variable in a Lunar month!

Is it to be believed?

There are gardeners who scrupulously obey the method of gardening by the Moon. This method does not rest upon scientific basis but offers good pointers which can be very useful to gardeners who need help in organizing themselves. However, market gardeners do not rely on the Moon to sow their vegetables and this does not prevent them from getting good harvests. Many more, adapt themselves to it a little bit, especially if they have missed the right moments. It is true that sometimes, time slots offered by the constellations or lunar nodes are short. Depending on your experience, you will be able to determine if following scrupulously the calendar is right for you, or not. Only you can decide if you are a Moon orthodox or rather a moderate one!

M. Jean-Michel GROULT
 
Pépinières PLANFOR
RD 651
40090 UCHACQ - FRANCE
Tel : (020).7660.0178
Fax : 0033 558 064 854