Moon Phase Planting Experiment, wanna join me?

vgkg(Z-7)March 11, 2002

Hi Folks, as many of you may have noticed there have been several questions on the forums about "planting by the moon". Like "Has anybody done this?" or "Does it really make a difference?" etc.

So, this year I'm running a little test to see if there really is any difference when one plants by the phases of the moon? From what I've read on this topic, the main thrust of the "theory" is to plant seed for above ground harvests (like lettuce) right after the New Moon, and to plant seed for Root harvests (like radishes) right after the Full Moon.

This is what I have planned, a short and sweet experiment which really doesn't throw off my usual plantings at all.

This week, on Mar 15th (1 day after New Moon) I will plant 1/2 of my lettuce & radish seeds. Then 2 weeks later on Mar29th (1 day after Full Moon) I'll plant the other 1/2 of my lettuce & radish seeds.

Pretty simple (the way I like it ;o). It'll be the same general timing that I usually plant these seeds anyway so I have nothing to lose by doing these plantings to coincide with the prescribed moon phase plantings. I fiqure that both the lettuce & radishes will be well established by May and any noticable differences should be obvious by then. In the end, I'll compare the leaves of the lettuce and the roots of the radishes of each moon phase planting.

Would anyone else out there in gardening land like to commit some seed to this experiment in their own garden? Doesn't have to be lettuce/radishes. Any 2 of your preferred Fruiting and Rooting veggies would do just fine. I'm keeping it simple not to include indoor seed starting and just want to involve direct in-ground seeds. If you have a colder climate you could wait until the New/Full moon phases occur in April or May.

I will get my ball rolling this Friday, the 15th, then it's off to the races. May the best Phase win! vgkg

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I read somewhere else on the forums the suggestion that this how Moonflowers should be planted. Do you think this might be the case? If so, I'll join you and plant them on Friday. Does it matter if I'm sowing under lights?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2002 at 5:12AM
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Hi Lavatera, your theory sounds as sound as mine, ha. Since Moon flowers are not a "root" crop I would think that the 15th is good timing for them too. Planting the seeds indoors shouldn't make a difference from what I've read about it. Everything I've read has related to vegetable plants but flowers would seem to follow the same planting/moon phase pattern as fruiting veggies. Tomorrow is the Big Day and luckily the weather here will be perfect for outdoor sowing, esp since rain is predicted for Sat (at least I hope they're right this time, need that rain badly here). Good luck to you, updates to follow, vgkg

    Bookmark   March 14, 2002 at 1:14PM
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Maybe I'll try this with green beans and cucumbers. I guess if the theory is correct, the ones planted tomorrow should thrive and bear more fruit than the ones planted on the 29th? Do I have this right?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2002 at 9:28PM
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Hi Hunter, yes that's right. Tonite is the New moon which means that starting tomorrow the moon gets a little larger every day for the next 2 weeks. All fruiting (above ground) plants are to be planted tomorrow (from seed) and your cukes & beans fit the bill. The best way to make a good judgement is to replant the same cuke & bean seeds exactly 2 weeks from tomorrow (29th- 1st day after Full moon) and compare both sets of plantings when mature to see which set produces the best crop. If it works, then tomorrow's plants should do the best of the two plantings. Good luck, and thanks to both of you for joining this little experiment. vgkg

    Bookmark   March 14, 2002 at 10:01PM
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Phase I is started now. Had a Beautiful Day to plant some seeds. This is what I did:

Shaped up 4 rows, each row = 6' long, 2' wide
Divided all 4 rows in half
Planted 2 types of lettuce and 2 types of radishes in 1/2 of each of the 4 rows.

On the 29th I will plant the same seeds in the remaining half of each row so that the same varieties are in the same row (side by side).

Lettuce = Black Seeded Simpson & Tom Thumb Butterhead
Radishes = French Breakfast & Salad Rose

Both radish varieties are long root types (3" & 8") so a real "moon difference" should be esp evident with these.
Let the games begin, vgkg

    Bookmark   March 15, 2002 at 11:40PM
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Vgkg, how are you going to account for the different climatic conditions post-15th and post-29th? Unless, of course, it keeps raining (woo hoo!)

    Bookmark   March 20, 2002 at 5:35PM
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Hi Alfie, assuming the moon phase method actually "works" then the climatic conditions should fall into line, right, hehe. In April I may try something similar with other veggies too, like squash maybe. So far no germination seen of the 1st lettuces & radishes but I'm glad because it's hitting 24F tonite (and most of my fruit trees are blooming)Arrggg......vgkg

    Bookmark   March 22, 2002 at 8:47AM
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This is really bad science as Alfie suggests. There are way too many variables involved other than the phase of the moon unless you also believe that the phase of the moon controls rainfall and temperature among other things. If the phase of the moon does control rain and temperature, be sure to notify all the meteoroligists of the world. It will make their job a lot easier.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2002 at 4:48PM
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Oh ye have little faith Suzyq ;o). The whole point is to just see what happens. I don't know what to believe but I can't think of any better "test" than to try the plantings "in vitro" and let the chips fall where they may. If real scientists really wanted to test it they could easily use climate/fert controled greenhouses and just let the moon phases be the only variable. Anyone out there want to spare a greenhouse? Until then, this is the best that I can do and I'm not going that far out of my way to try. vgkg

    Bookmark   March 22, 2002 at 11:06PM
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byron(4a/5b NH)


The one I tried was tomatoes, I ran into this problem,
The phase before was a couple weeks before last frost.
Next pase was a couple weeks after normal plant out.

Didn't really fit my micro clim (the book is "Printed" just a few miles from here)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2002 at 11:12AM
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Hi Byron, about the tomatoes, were you talking about seed starting? as this is supposed to be the key not transplanting times.
You lost me on the book "Printed" part. vgkg

    Bookmark   March 24, 2002 at 12:18AM
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Melissa_M(10 So. Ca.)

Vgkg: My mother has told me many, many times that my great grandfather always used a modified version of this method of planting. He always planted the seeds in his huge garden on Good Friday. The date of Easter each year is about as mooned based as it gets . . . the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. I've always liked the idea of using Good Friday as my main planting date, even though I could usually plant earlier in my zone. Good luck in finding the answers to your questions through your experimentation.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2002 at 7:34AM
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Hi Vgkg,
I'm in and I didn't know it. I was doing a little lunar-planting on my own then, saw your thread today.
My mixed greens went in on the 16th. I'll do more on the 1st and again on the 15th of April for the scientist in me.
BTW, what got me started was I have a friend who always prunes her grapes on the dark of the moon in February.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2002 at 1:08PM
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Hi folks, well I started Phase II yesterday with the second planting of the identical varieties of 2 lettuces and 2 radishes seeds just after the Full moon.
The Phase I plantings are all up now but with only 2 leaves showing so far. More rain is expected today so both planting will have had good starts with a good natural soaking.
Updates to follow as time goes on. vgkg

    Bookmark   March 30, 2002 at 11:01AM
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byron(4a/5b NH)


I meant tomato plant out, as far as moon phases.

The Old Farmers Almanac was printed in Dublin NH for many years. I am about 30 miles from Dublin.

I use phenology instead.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2002 at 3:34PM
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What plant phenomenon do you use for tomato plant-out, Byron? I thought you used bottomology...

    Bookmark   March 31, 2002 at 2:58PM
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byron(4a/5b NH)


I use, when maple leaves first start to grow/bud. I start
my tomato seeds, Set them out when Dogwoods are in full bloom. (Peppers when peonies are in full bloom or Dogwood blossoms drop)

I also plant out root crops and set out cole crops based on maple leaf. A little later when the leaves are about the size of a mouses ear..


(Dogwood tip is in Nancy Bubels "New Seedstarters Handbook")

    Bookmark   March 31, 2002 at 4:06PM
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Aha! I thought the dogwood tip sounded familiar. So I looked it up in my garden journal, and it turns out that last year I planted out the tomatoes at least two weeks after the dogwoods were in full bloom, whereupon the next night it froze. Maybe my personal tomato phenology algorithm ought to be, plant out the tomatoes three weeks after the dogwoods are in full bloom.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2002 at 5:42PM
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taba(z5b MO)

Here's a nice Lunar Cycle Almanac in case anyone needs a printable reference. I pick one up each year at Earl May and try to plant by the dates, but weather and schedule usually thwart my good intentions. I do think it makes a difference based on stories from generations of farmers.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2002 at 12:23PM
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Jimw(z4 Wi)

good experiment -- i always try to plant during a
waxing moon in cancer - a water sign -- true for root crops the waning moon is better --- a good book is living by the moon by

    Bookmark   April 14, 2002 at 11:25AM
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An update of sorts. Frankly, I can't detect any differences in either planting thus far. The French Breakfast radishes are at picking size now but not as large as I was expecting from the photo on the pack. The largest ones are about an inch long, 1/2 inch thick but still it is early yet. No bulb formation on the Salad Rose radishes yet but these are a bit longer to maturity than FBs.
Also, both lettuces are coming along nicely but no differences there either other than plant size due to 2 week difference in timing. Once the second planting of each catches up to the first then I may detect some variations. If the second radish plantings have larger roots/bulbs than the first then that would "fit" the moon phase prediction, but more time is needed for fair comparisons. More to come, hope to harvest some lettuce this week. vgkg

    Bookmark   April 29, 2002 at 7:48AM
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Ok it's judgement day now that everything is about peaked out. Well from my observations it appears that both the later plantings of radish & lettuce varieties did better than the earlier plantings. This is positive for the radishes and negative for the lettuce (going by the moon phases).

The later radishes did have more and better shaped/larger roots then the earlier ones so planting them on the full moon worked best (as predicted).
But the later lettuces had much better germination than the earlier new moon phase planting so it didn't work like it was supposed to for the lettuce.
Of course it could be that the overall late planting weather pattern was best suited for both, so if this is the case then a climate controled green house is probably the best route for this type of experiment? All crops tasted equal, just that the later plantings on the Full moon grew best overall for all crops. vgkg

    Bookmark   May 25, 2002 at 11:34PM
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Planting by the phases of the moon requires working along with it for several years. As you do you begin to understand it all. For instance, over on the Hot Pepper Forum someone wondered if peppers would root in water. Well, I had never tried it. Popped off five pepper cuttings about five weeks ago. They have sat in water all this time, green and healthy with no sign of rooting activity. I checked them two days ago and figured if they had not sent out roots by two days after the full moon they probably would not root. This morning, day of the full moon, all five had sent out 2" roots overnight!

I root many plants from softwood cuttings in an unorthodox manner. I make the cuttings seven days before the full moons of May and June. These are set in a pot of soil, uncovered, in the all day blazing hot sun and kept watered. Three days after the full moon all the cuttings are well rooted in and thriving. If this is done during any other moon phase I have a very poor strike.

Keep playing around with the concept. It is interesting.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2002 at 7:22PM
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Thanks for the feedback Nandina, that's very interesting about your pepper rootings. I was wondering if maybe lettuce wasn't the best choice for the new moon planting. Perhaps I should choose a different "fruiting" vegetable next time. Corn might be a good choice since it's easy to direct sow in the garden, beans too. All my garden space is now tied up except for the late corn which goes in this week based upon staggered planting times. Oh well, there's always next Spring, or maybe fall crop, hummmm...
Hey Hunter, how's your cukes and green beans doing? vgkg

    Bookmark   May 26, 2002 at 11:25PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

I do a lot of transplant starts, nearly year-round and also market farm year-round. For 4 years, at the urging of one of my interns and later employee, we scheduled as many starts, seedings, and transplantings according the Kimberly Hills, Stella*Natura Biodynamic Agricultural Calendar. For 2 subsequent years, we ignored the calendar. For the 6 years we kept records of all plantings, their progress and harvests. Sorry to say we saw no pattern except with root crops and then that noticeable during their prime growing season.

I am back to using the calendar but mostly to id those rooting periods and those periods said to be negative for planting (or even any gardening activity.) The calendar is based on full astrological properties of the Zodiac and position of planets. I do not subscribe to astrology but have puzzled long over folk rules for gardening and farming.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2002 at 9:52PM
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Well, puzzling results to me. On the earlier plants that should have (if you subscribe to moon phase theory) done best, the opposite has occured. I planted the beans and cukes in close proximity (to their own species) 2 weeks apart. No difference in watering, soil, light. The later plants have been more vigorous, and produced better so far. Even without the moon phase factor, it doesn't make much sense. So much for my urge to hold onto old mythology!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2002 at 10:44PM
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Roney220(z5 IL)

I have planted by the moon since 1979. I use a book called Llewallyns Moon Sign Book. He is into astrology etc so the books are sometimes in the occult section. He actually has dates and times for planting, plus instructions for pruning and fertilizing. A beginner could learn alot.

I have become 100% certain this works...There are good days to weed...and on those days weeds can be pulled with two fingers....wait until the moon sign changes and they don't budge. Also grass can be cut to slow growing...though 5" rain can change that...(works on hair too...cut hair during full moon to make thicker, increasing moon to grow faster.)

I became a believer when I joined an African Violet club in 78. I was the youngest person there by 30 years and all of these older women swore by this book. I was pregnant at the time. I had a 20' concrete planter on the north side of my house which I filled with impatiens. I started on a good day for planting annuals, got tired and quit before the job was done. Finished the 2nd half the next day. The entire planter was fertilized with high phospherous fertilizer and the side planted by the moon was 10 x fuller and flowed over the edges.

If anyone is interested, here is an entry for June 1-2
Jun 1, 6:37 pm to June 2, 7:05 pm (EST)
Moon, 3rd quarter, in Pisces
Plant biennials, perennials, bulbs and roots. Prune
Irrigate. Fertilize (organic)

Also same for June 2 7:05 pm to June 4: 6:51 except the moon goes into 4th quarter in Pisces.

June 4th at 6:51 am to June 6 7:07 pm, 4th Q Aries, cultivate, destroy weeds and pests. Harvest fruits and root crops for food. Trim to retard growth.

If anyone has questions, my e-mail is "" (clematis the flower, not clem the man!)

Hope this helps

    Bookmark   May 30, 2002 at 9:55PM
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Hi Leslie, just wondering, but is that book an annual publication like the Farmers Almanac?
Also, I'd like to add that tonite I went out to pull radishes to take and give away at work (have loads of these) and there's just no comparison between the two planting. No doubt that the full moon planted radishes are Huge when compared to the earlier planted new moon radishes. Some of them are bigger than hotdogs - no kidding! The early ones have bolted and are in full bloom now but are still less than half the size of the later ones which show no sign of bolting yet. Also the later oes had more roots to fill out as compared to the earlier ones.
Have to admit that the 2 variables were the weather and the moon phase. vgkg
Still, both the lettuces have now gone bitter and show signs of bolting. No real differences here other than stated in above post.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2002 at 11:04PM
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I planted by the prescribed date,as printed in the OLD Farmers almanac, in April and March for my tomatoes and I'm amazed at how well they are doing.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2002 at 4:04AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)


From the Kimberly calendar: June 1, midnight to 3 pm EDT highlighted for rooting and root crops.

June 1, 3 pm through Monday June 3, 1 pm EDT, lists flowers and working with flowers.

Leaf days from June 3, 3 pm onward to June 6, 5 pm, lists leaf crops EXCEPT for two negative periods: June 3, 1 to 3 pm and June 4, 4 am to noon EDT.

Days on the New and Full Moons are no-no periods.

I am going back over my records on transplant starts and transplanting dates for the past year to see if I find some correlations.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2002 at 7:36PM
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I love growing plants from seed but have had varying success with germination. This year I started some seeds inside according to the best moon phase and so far, I have had the best germination ever. I prefer sowing seeds directly in the ground and did that a week and a half ago. I still have more to plant but I don't want to wait until the next best phase so I think this will be a good opportunity to see if there is any difference.

The following link has an good calendar and further explanation of how the moon forces effect plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening by the Moon

    Bookmark   June 2, 2002 at 7:55AM
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Thank you all for your feedback during this humble and limited experiment. This week I'll be pulling up all of the remaining radishes and lettuce as both are at/past peak and the space is now needed for the nearby expanding watermelon vines. I may leave a few radishes in place to flower (too attract beneficial wasps) and a little lettuce (getting bitter with the 90+ heatwave here). These will make a fine compost pile addition.
Great to see you lurking about over here Marshall! Good gardening to you All, vgkg

    Bookmark   June 3, 2002 at 8:33AM
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The last couple of days were suppose to be the best time to plant whatever .............thats why planting by the moon doesn't always work out everywher i know right now is flooded.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2002 at 9:16PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

There oughtta be a cosmic "hold that thought" button when circumstances interfere with planting on schedule.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2002 at 9:31PM
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Probably the truest test would be to do side-by-sides under greenhouse controled conditions. Eliminate every variable except the moon. vgkg

    Bookmark   June 12, 2002 at 10:50PM
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if you dig a post hole on the dark of the moon, you arenÂt going to have enough dirt to fill that hole back in

Here is a link that might be useful: Farmers Almanac - dates to plant

    Bookmark   June 13, 2002 at 10:59PM
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I want to report my first sucessful moon planting experiment. Today a Livinston Daisy (Mesebrenanthemum-sp?) opened. I tried growing these years ago but not a single seed germinated. I planted all of my seeds according to the moon phases this year, so not having any real contols, it could just be a fluke.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2002 at 2:19PM
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We used sprouts in our diet for years and noticed a difference in sprouting time and sprout vigor based on waxing and waining of the moon. The sproutings were done under fairly controled conditions of the kitchen and with many different types of seed.

Try an experiment for your own satisfaction with alfalfa since they are about the easiest and quickest sprouters.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2002 at 12:03PM
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psychomom(z6 PA)

my dad used to do it - worked for him!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2002 at 10:59PM
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