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Planting Vegetables by the Moon Cycle

By Erin Maurer
Some vegetable gardeners use the phases of the moon to guide their planting activities.
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The principle of planting vegetables and other crops according to the phases of the lunar calendar is known as biodynamic farming. It is based on the idea that the moon controls gravity, which influences how soil and water act in conjunction with seeds. Each lunar cycle lasts one month, and so repeats 12 times during a year. The moon goes through a cycle of waxing and waning; each stage guides gardeners to do specific tasks. Determine the best days for planting in a particular month by consulting a lunar planting calendar.

New Moon

The new moon is the beginning of the lunar calendar and the phase in which the moon is not illuminated, making it invisible to the naked eye. During this phase the moon begins to wax, slowing forming a crescent and gaining strength. The new moon is an ideal time to maintain the garden, according to the Moon Grow website. Prepare for planting by pulling weeds and controlling pests. In addition to preparation tasks, some vegetables respond well to planting during the new moon phase, when gravity gains strength and draws water up for the soil. As a result, it is a good time for planting vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, celery, cucumbers, broccoli and cauliflower, according to the Gardening by the Moon website.

Second Quarter

After the new moon phase the moon becomes half full, reaching the second quarter phase. During this phase, the moon continues waxing and gaining strength. However, the gravitational pull becomes weakerd compared with the new moon phase. This phase is an ideal time for planting above ground crops, according to the Moon Grow website. The lunar energy produced during the second quarter phase helps produce healthy, vigorous crops such as beans, peas, peppers, squash and tomatoes. Many of these vegetables benefit from the strong leaf growth promoted in the second quarter moon phase, according to the Gardening by the Moon website.

Full Moon

The moon reaches it maximum strength during the full moon phase. Native Hawaiians considered the full moon to be the pinnacle of lunar gardening and an ideal time to plant any crops, according to the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. During the full moon, soil conditions promote healthy growth of root crops. Some plants recommended for planting during the full moon include beets, carrots, onions and potatoes, according to the Gardening by the Moon website. Planting is not the only gardening activity to perform during the full moon. The full moon also is the best time to harvest matured vegetables.

Fourth Quarter

After the full moon, the moon enters it's waning phase as it moves toward a dark moon. During this time, energy and the gravitational pull go into a period of decline. The second half moon of the lunar calendar is known as the fourth quarter phase. This is a resting period for the garden and not a good time to plant vegetables. Instead, lunar gardeners focus their energies on transplanting, pruning and harvesting mature vegetables, according to the Gardening by the Moon website.