Planting by the Phases of the Moon
by John Jeavons
Planting seeds and transplanting seedlings according to the phases of the moon.
Short and extra-long germinating seeds (which take approximately 1 month to germinate) are planted 2 days before the new moon, when significant magnetic forces occur, and up to 7 days after the new moon. Long germinating seeds are planted at the full moon and up to 7 days afterward. Seedlings are transplanted at the same time. Both planting periods take advantage of the full sum of the forces of nature, which are greatest at the new moon, including gravity, light, and magnetism. The lunar gravitational pull that produces high tides in the oceans and water tides in the soil is very high at the new moon. And the moon, which is dark, gets progressively lighter. (See sketches) The exact day on which you plant or transplant is not as important as generally taking advantage of the impetus provided by Nature.
If you place short germinating seeds in the ground 2 days before the lunar tide forces are greatest, the seed has time to absorb water. The force exerted on the water in the seed helps create a “tide” that helps burst the seed coat in conjunction with the forces produced by the seed’s swelling. No doubt you have wondered why one time beet seeds come up almost immediately and another time the germination process takes 2 weeks in the same bed under similar conditions. Temperature and moisture differences, pH changes, and humus levels may influence the seeds in each case, but the next time you note a marked difference in germination time, check your calendar to determine the phase of the moon was in when you sowed the seeds. You might find the moon does have an influence after all!
Looking at the sketches of the moon’s phases, you can see that there are both increasing and decreasing lunar gravitational and light force influences that recur periodically during the lunar month. Sometimes the forces work against each other, and sometimes they reinforce one another. When the lunar gravitational pull decreases and the amount of moonlight increases during the first 7 days of the lunar cycle, plants undergo a period of balanced growth. The decreasing lunar gravity (and the corresponding relative increase in Earth’s gravity) stimulates toot growth. At the same time, the increasing amount of moonlight stimulates leaf growth.
During the second 7 days of the lunar cycle, the lunar gravitational force reverses its relative direction, and it increases. This pull slows down the root growth as Earth’s relative gravitational pull is lessened. The moonlight, on the other hand, continues to a peak, and leaf growth is especially stimulated. If the root growth has been sufficient during previous periods, then the proper amounts of nutrients and water will be conveyed to the above-ground part of the plant, and balanced, uninterrupted growth will occur. This time of increasing gravitational, moonlight, and magnetic forces gives seeds that have not yet germinated a special boost. Seeds that did not germinate at the time of the new moon should do so by the full moon. Alan Chadwick said it is during this period that seeds cannot resist coming up, and mushrooms suddenly appear overnight.
During the third 7 days of the lunar cycle, the amount of moonlight decreases along with the lunar gravitational pull. As the moonlight decreases, above-ground leaf growth slows down. The root growth is stimulated again, however, as the lunar gravitational pull decreases. This is a good time to transplant, since root growth is active. This activity enables the plant to better overcome transplant shock and promotes the development of a good root system while leaf growth is slowed down. Then, 21 days later, when leaf growth is at a maximum, the plant will have a developed root system that can provide it with sufficient nutrients and water. This is also the time to plant long germinating seeds that take approximately 2 weeks to germinate; they will then be ready to take advantage of the boost from the high gravitational pull of the new moon.
During the last 7 days of the lunar cycle, the lunar gravitational force increases, and root growth slows down. The amount of moonlight decreases and also slows down leaf growth. This period is one of a balanced decrease in growth, just as the first 7 days in the lunar month is a period of balanced increase in growth. The last 7 days, then, is a rest period of new life. (Short, long, and extra-long germinating seed crops are listed here.)
A planted seed bursts its seed coat around the 28th day of the lunar month and proceeds into a period of slow, balanced, and increasing growth above and below ground, passes into a period of stimulated leaf growth, then goes into a period of stimulated root growth (getting ready for the next period of stimulated leaf growth), followed by a time of rest. This plant growth cycle repeats itself monthly. Plants are transplanted at the full moon so they may begin their life in the growing bed (or soil block) during a time of stimulated root growth to compensate for the root shock that occurs during transplanting. The transplanted plant then enters a time of rest before beginning another monthly cycle. The working of nature are truly beautiful.
Planting by the phases of the moon is an ancient scientific gardening process that improves the health and quality of plants. Anything we can do to improve our overall quality, health, nutrition, and abundance of our crops can all add up. As Eliot Coleman puts it , “What must be understood is that a biological (or, in this case, astrological!) system can be constantly be adjusted by a lot of small improvements. I call them “one percenters”. The importance of these one percenters is that they are cumulative. If the grower pays attention to enough of them, the result will be substantial overall improvement. And, best of all, these one percenters are free.
…Rather than not acting because we can’t be certain, I suggest we try instead to apply what we hope we know. The grower should try to take as many intelligent actions as possible to incrementally improve his crops and then be attentive to what happens. Given our limited knowledge about all the interrelated causes and effects operating in the biological (and astrological) world, this seems to be the most productive attitude.”