Lunar Gardening Practices to Maximize Your Growing Potential.
Have you ever wondered why some of your harvests resulted in better quality and higher yields, while others seemed to be less impressive? Even when you grew them in the exact same conditions and applied the exact same cultivation practices? While genetics play a huge role in the quality and yield of your flower, another factor you may be missing is implementing practices that are in alignment with the ebb and flow of the lunar cycle.
Circadian Rhythm vs. Circalunar Rhythm.
Lunar gardening is an ancient practice that’s been used by most, if not all, indigenous civilizations. It simply consists of carrying out specific tasks in your garden depending on the phase and position of our moon. While modern society would call it pseudoscience, it is a practice that has proven successful for centuries, perhaps even longer, and is now used in biodynamic agriculture*. Similar to the Circadian rhythm, which promotes organisms on Earth to wake and rest based on the cycle of our Sun, the Circalunar rhythm allows organisms to time reproduction. With that being said, growing with the lunar cycles will promote vitality and enhance the yield of your plants.
*Note that although Biodynamic Agriculture was coined and rooted in the work of philosopher and scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner, the practices and teachings have been known and used for centuries amongst indigenous civilizations on a global scale— without the scientific explanation that Dr. Steiner and other researchers have been able to provide to support for their findings.
How The Circalunar Cycle Affects Plants.
Phases of the Moon
Ocean tides are the most recognizable effect of the Circalunar rhythm. As we have learned in school, the gravitational pull of the New and Full Moon brings us high tides in our ocean and causes moisture to rise on our beautiful Mother Earth. In the same context, the gravitational pull of the moon affects the flow of sap through plants, and pulls on the subtle bodies of water in all living organisms, including seeds and soil. Sap is a nutrient-rich fluid that flows through plants like blood flows through our veins. It is the life force of all plants. During the waxing phase of the moon, the phase in which the moon is becoming fuller, sap moves vigorously up the plant through the leaves as the plant matures, through the flowers. During the waning phase, which begins right after the full moon, it becomes less and less visible as the sap pulls back down to the root system to flood it with nutrients. This means that timing germination, transplanting, pruning, and harvesting to be in sync with the phases of the moon is crucial for a top-notch grow!
Sap is a nutrient-rich fluid that flows through plants like blood flows through our veins.
Understanding The Phases of The Moon.
The Moon cycle has (2) two parts that have been broken down into (4) four quarters. The New Moon marks the beginning of this cycle. At the commencement of the cycle, the Moon appears completely dark and is not visible from our view on Earth. It’s from this stage that the moon begins to transition into the waxing or ascending phase. Day by day the Moon begins to illuminate little by little, making its way through the first two quarters, until it reaches the full moon. The Moon spends half of the month in the waxing phase and its gravitational pull encourages plant fluids to flow vigorously upwards through the stems, leaves, and flowers. This is why it is best to harvest right after the waxing phase on the full moon as it draws all of its energy into the flowers.
The Full Moon marks the second part of the Moon cycle, commencing the waning or descending phase. Day by day the Moon becomes less and less visible, transitioning through the last 2 quarters, until it goes completely dark and reaches the New Moon again. The Moon spends the other half of the month in the waning phase, and its gravitational pull becomes less forceful encouraging plant fluids to move back down into the soil and root system all through the 4th quarter. For this reason, it is best to begin germinating right after the wanning phase on the New Moon.
Position of the Moon.
The second thing you will need to put into consideration when lunar gardening is the particular constellation the moon is positioned in. There are (12) twelve prominent sets of constellations that have been recognized for thousands of years. Each constellation is associated with one of four elements: Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. The element in which the moon is positioned in, is the element that is strongest in your garden. Consequently, specific tasks should be conducted depending on the element the moon falls into.
The Four Elements in the Moon Cycle.
Fire Signs – Strengthen Germination
The Moon positioned in a fire sign promotes seeds to swell and bust. Germination should take place when the moon is positioned in Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.
Air Signs – Strengthen Flowers
The Moon positioned in an air sign is associated with strengthening the flowers of a plant, therefore, harvesting is best to take place during Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.
Water Signs – Strengthen Leaves and Stems
Leaves and stems swell and grow when the Moon is positioned in a water sign. Tasks that focus on the foliage like pruning, or the stems like plant training should take place when the Moon is positioned in Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.
Earth Signs – Strengthen Soil
The Moon positioned in an Earth sign is associated with the soil and roots of your plant. Tasks like preparing your soil before a new growth cycle, or adding fresh compost and microbes in the middle of a grow should take place when the moon is in Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn.
How to Implement Lunar Gardening
Now that we know how the phase and position of the moon affects our garden, let’s talk about when are the best times to implement practices that flow with this cycle.
It is best to begin preparing your soil during the Waning Moon in an Earth sign constellation. This is also a good time to add fresh compost and microbes to existing plants to boost your soil productivity.
The New Moon is the best time to start growing leafy plants, like Cannabis. When the New moon is positioned in a Fire sign, the germination process will be most effective up until the first quarter. You can relate this to the idea of sparking a new flame within the seeds during a time that flame will flourish most. The high moisture content and force of the New Moon will help the taproot pull down into the soil with the greatest vitality it can possibly achieve. The seeds are then able to absorb more moisture as the Moon waxes towards the Full Moon, when moisture in soil is the highest and, if growing outdoors, energy from the photons that begin to pour down onto the Earth from the moonlight.
When it’s time to transplant your young plants into the ground or to a larger container, wait for a Waxing Moon sitting in a Water sign constellation. This will allow your roots to expand and absorb moisture more efficiently.
Low-stress training techniques are best to be implemented when the Moon is waxing and sitting in a water constellation.
Pruning excess foliage should take place right after the full moon amidst the Waning Moon, while it sits in a water constellation. There is less sap pulling into the leaves during this time, and is considered a resting period. Allowing your plants to heal in the strongest manner possible. Keep this in mind for any tasks that focus on the growth and health of stems and leaves.
When it comes to supplying additional nutrients mid-growth, applying fresh compost when the Waning Moon is in an Earth sign will help enhance the intake of nutrients through the roots, or Water sign to enhance nutrient absorption through leaves with a foliar spray. Either way, both should be during the Waning Moon as sap moves down into the root system.
As mentioned before, the Full Moon pulls all of the plant’s energies into the fruits and flowers, and they are the most resilient while the moon sits in an Air constellation. Many cannabis growers argue that the flower is ripest and contains the most terpenes and cannabinoids during the Harvest full moon especially. Therefore, it’s suggested that the best time to harvest your fruits of labor is during a Full Moon and until the 4th quarter, while in an Air sign.
Important things to Note.
- Soil contains the highest amount of moisture during the full moon.
- Nutrient absorption is most prominent during the wanning moon.
- Water absorption is most prominent during the waxing moon.
- Photons that pour down from the moonlight promotes robust leaf growth the most during the waxing phase.
- The full moon encourages energy to flow into the flowers, but it also raises the moisture content. This means if you harvest on a full moon you need to be extra attentive during the drying and curing process.
Lunar Gardening Can Benefit All Farms & Gardens
Now that we understand how to implement lunar gardening to our Cannabis grow, it’s time to start putting it into practice. Not only can these practices be applied to your Cannabis grow, but you’ll find that the Circalunar Rhythm also effects flower, herb, fruit, and vegetable gardens as well! They all benefit in their own ways. Learning how each flows with the cycle of the moon will result in more robust, resilient, and flavorful yields.