The moon and your garden….
Because the moon has such a strong influence over crop yields, for hundreds of years farmers, agriculturists and gardener have all used their traditional knowledge of the lunar phases when planting, tending and harvesting crops. This is done by observing the correct phase of the moon for a particular activity, and also by adhering to the sign of the zodiac through which it is passing.
As a general rule, the moon’s first and second quarter are the most auspicious times for planting and tending cereal crops, leafy crops and annual plants and flowers. The third quarter is good for root crops and bulbs, trees, shrubs and rhubarb. The fourth quarter is the best time for garden maintenance: for weeding, cultivation and the removal of pests, especially when the moon is in Aries, Gemini, Leo, or Aquarius.
Start a compost heap during the darkmoon time, or harvest and dry herbs and everlasting flowers, especially if the moon is in a fire sign. A water moon is the best time to irrigate fields and gardens.
Each zodiac sign is most auspicious for a particular range of activities in the garden. You will need to consult a lunar calendar to find out when each one falls. However, if to begin with you find it a little too complicated to check the appropriate signs for your gardening tasks, you can simply follow the moon’s phases of waxing and waning to reap some of the beneficial effects.
Seeds of plants that flower above the ground should be sown at the new moon. This is the time for farmers to sow cereals such as barley, and for the garden to be planted with asparagus, broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, melons, cauliflower, celery, courgettes, cress, horse-radish, kohlrabi, leeks, peas, peppers, parsley, spinach, squash and tomatoes. This is also the time for fertilizing, feeding and cultivating anything that you wish to flourish and grow.
Around the full moon is the time to plant watery or fleshy plants like marrows and cucumbers. The moon is at her most influential at this time over the water element. This is also a good time for harvesting leaves, stems, or seeds of herbs for drying, especially when the moon is transiting a fire sign.
Pick your herbs on a dry day, so that the parts to be harvested will not rot when stored.The best time to harvest is just before midday. String the stems together and hang upside down in an airy but dry atmosphere, until ready for use.
Waning and Dark Moon
The waning moon is the time in the moon’s cycle for root vegetables, peas and beans, and garlic. Anything undertaken during this time will benefit underground development or retard growth. This is therefore an excellent time to mow the grass, when its return growth will be slowed, or to plough and turn the soil.
Gather and harvest crops during the waning moon, especially in late summer, the traditional harvest time. This is an excellent time to prune trees, roses and shrubs, and to water the garden. Making jams and pickles should also be done during a waning moon, for best results. Establish a compost heap, preferably when the moon is in Scorpio, to increase the fertility of the Whole garden.
Crops that are particularly well suited to planting during the waning moon are endive, carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, radishes, beetroot and strawberries.
All flowering bulbs, biennials, and perennials should be planted during this time, especially when the moon is in a water sign. Saplings also benefit from being planted during the waning moon, when she is in Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces or Virgo.
The principles of lunar gardening take a while to adjust to, but after a while, you will begin to find that your flowers bloom more brightly, your crops grow more succulent and flavoursome and your trees have stronger roots. In fact, your whole garden will benefit from this ancient way of gardening.
A Water Garden Offering to the Moon
The moon goddess Diana’s festival days fall upon the May and September full moons each year. At one of these times, you may like to perform a simple water ceremony in your garden or beside a local waterfall, well, stream, lake or river, or possibly on the seashore.
The form of this offering is inspired by the ancient art of well-dressing, still practised in some places, when communities “dress” their local source of water with a plaque decorated With symbols, flowers, corn, rice, stones and twigs, placing it by the water as a way of giving thanks.
Perform the ceremony two days before the full moon. As you place your plaque next to the water, you may like to say a prayer to the moon, asking for her blessing and protection for the year to come. Use your own words, as they come.
You will need
• Potter’s clay
• Rolling pin
• Wood, cut to shape
• Stick or skewer
• Petals, leaves, twigs, shells, flowers, corn, rice, and pebbles
1) Roll out the clay. Use the wooden template and knife to cut the shape from the clay.
2) Press the clay down firmly on to the wood, then mark out your design on the surface.
3) Fill in the design, pushing petals, leaves and other elements into the soft clay.