Let the moon be your garden guide
by Ruth Griffiths
Victoria Day weekend is traditionally the time for planting gardens. However, many people not only look at the calendar, but also at the moon, for gardening tips.
This year, the full moon is May 27, which should make it a great time to plant vegetables.
According to the Almanac of Canadian Farmers, gardening by the phases of the moon is a technique that can speed up seed germination by working with the forces of nature.
The theory is that plants respond to the same gravitational pull that affects ocean tides, which in turn stimulates root and leaf growth. Seeds germinate faster, plants grow vigorously and at an optimal rate, harvests are larger and they do not go to seed as quickly. This method has been practiced by many for hundreds of years and is a perfect addition to organic gardening as it is most effective in untreated chemically treated soil.
The lunar phase controls the amount of moisture in the soil. This humidity is at its peak at the time of the new moon and the full moon. The sun and the moon are aligned with the earth. Just as the moon pulls the tides in the oceans, it also pulls the subtle bodies of water, causing moisture in the earth to increase, which promotes germination and growth. The seeds will absorb more water at the time of a full moon.
I’ll be putting my root crops in the ground for the long weekend, but I’ll probably delay planting hot weather crops like beans and squash. The cold weeks we experienced after Easter made me a little worried about planting tender plants like tomatoes until the full moon on May 26th.
Incidentally, the full moon in May will be a super moon, meaning that it is a full moon that occurs with the moon at or near its closest approach to Earth. The full moon in May is sometimes called the moon of flowers. The technical term for a supermoon is perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. In astronomy, the term “syzygy” refers to the straight line configuration of three celestial bodies. Higher tides are forecast at the Supermoon, so soil moisture should be adequate for seeding.
Besides looking at the moon, I also look at native plants when I decide to plant my garden. In this area, when the aspens are leafing, it is time to finish seeding the garden.
So get out there and put some dirt under your fingernails. And while you’re planting, give the man on the moon a little nod… he’s smiling at you.