How to Schedule Your Plantings by the Moon

The seed catalogs are starting roll in and with it comes the need to organize and figure out what next year’s garden is going to be like. So with that, I think right now is the prime time to repost some of my garden planning techniques. This first one is how to create a schedule for your plantings. You don’t have to plan according to the moon cycles but you’ll find other helpful information about frost dates and such. I live in a very mild climate with an extraordinary long growing season. I used to just plop things in the ground as needed but nothing ever blew me away production-wise. Then I started reading about growing by the cycles of the moon. It made sense to me. The gravitational pull of the moon effects so many things, why not also plants? Also the moon offers reflective light that can be absorbed by plants. The first thing you will need to do is determine your area’s average first and last frost dates. Almost all plantings are first based off of these dates. There are several resources online to help you find this, but the most inclusive list can be found here through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s website. You want to choose the dates under the 10% columns. The next thing you want to do is figure out when your seeds will need to be planted. Johnny’s Select Seeds has a spreadsheet that you can download that will help you determine the dates. The downside of this spreadsheet is that it only works for summer vegetables. Now that you have your planting dates for your plants it’s time to determine when during the moon cycles you should start them. For transplants that will be planted indoors or in a greenhouse you can choose the closest corresponding moon phase either before or after the given date on the spreadsheet. If they are direct sown seeds you’ll want to choose the closest moon phase after the date. To find out the moon phase dates you can check the Farmer’s Almanac moon phase calendar. So what gets planted when?

After the Full Moon

Moonlight is decreasing, but because of the strong gravitational pull, there is more moisture in the soil. Transplanting and planting root crops is favorable during this time. What to plant:Beets, Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Parsnips, Turnips, Rutabagas, Potatoes, Peanuts, Celeraic, Leeks, Radishes, Salsify, and any other root crop. Bulbs, perennials, and biennials are good to plant now too.

 

After the 4th Quarter

Decreasing moonlight and gravitational pull make this a resting period. It’s a good time to cultivate, harvest, transplant and prune.

 

 

 

 

After the New Moon

Increasing gravitational pull and moonlight create equal root and leaf growth. This is a good time for planting above ground crops that produce seeds outside the fruit. What to plant: Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Chard, Spinach, Grain crops (including corn), Artichokes, Bok Choy, Cardoon, Celery, most Herbs, Greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, etc. Cucumbers also like this phase though they are an exception to the rule.

 

After the 2nd Quarter

The gravitational pull is lessening but the moonlight is increasing. This is a good time to plant above ground fruiting crops. What to plant: Beans, Peas, Squash, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Tomatillos, Berries, Melons, Gourds, Okra, Peppers, etc.

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Discussion

  1. Urban Dirt Girl says:

    This is a great article and I found it fascinating when I discovered the moons influence on plants. My friends Dad has always planted that way and the Farmers Almanac is his bible, and a very interesting read I might add. Thanks for the article….M

  2. Thanks! How productive is your friend's Dad's garden? I'm always interested to see how others are doing with this type of gardening.

  3. HI: LIZA and JOHN'S GARDEN Enjoyed our first visit to your blog today. You have a good blog. Come on over to our place for a Visit. Say Hi when you do.

    Have a Wonderful Day,
    John

  4. Urban Dirt Girl says:

    Hey Rachel, My friend's Dads garden is bountiful to say the least. It really works for him. Apparently there are good days to get your hair cut too (according to the FA) and he adheres to that also. He's what I'd call a small farmer and if he says it works, I go with his opinion for sure! UDG

  5. THE OLD GEEZER says:

    I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

    God Bless You :-)

    ~Ron

  6. It is so annoying that you have right-click disabled. I want to open the link to the zone frost dates without leaving your site. If you’re afraid of thieves, people can easily look at the code and take everything, not to mention there is software that will rip your whole site in a second with no manual labor. In short, you’re not protecting yourself and are only annoying those who are genuinely interested in your site.

    • Sorry to annoy you Emily, but I have a whole security plug in that does that. I’m less worried about professionals than I am with less scrupulous bloggers ripping off content, which has happened. Is it fool proof? No, but it does make them less likely to rip it off if they can’t just copy and paste.

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  1. [...] for most of California and similar climates. Not in our area? Never fear. You can find out how to plan out your growing times and create your own calendar. Here’s the moon phase calendar if you need [...]

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