Let the moon be your garden guide

by Ruth Griffiths

Victoria Day weekend is traditionally garden planting time. However, many people look not only at the calendar, but also at the moon, for gardening guidance.

This year, the full moon is on May 27 so that should make it a great time to plant vegetables.

According to Canadian Farmers’ Almanac, gardening by the phases of the moon is a technique that can speed the germination of seeds by working with the forces of nature.

The theory is that plants respond to the same gravitational pull that affects the ocean tides, which alternately stimulates root and leaf growth. Seeds sprout more quickly, plants grow vigorously and at an optimum rate, harvests are larger and they don’t go to seed as fast. This method has been practiced by many for hundreds of years and is a perfect compliment to organic gardening because it is more effective in non-chemically treated soil.

The lunar phase controls the amount of moisture in the soil. This moisture is at its peak at the time of the new moon and the full moon. The sun and moon are lined up with earth. Just as the moon pulls the tides in the oceans, it also pulls upon the subtle bodies of water, causing moisture to rise in the earth, which encourages germination and growth. Seeds will absorb more water at the time of the full moon.

I’ll get my root crops in the ground on the long weekend, but I’ll likely hold off planting hot weather crops such as beans and squash. The cold weeks we experienced after Easter have me feeling a bit nervous about putting out tender plants such as tomatoes until after the full moon on May 26.

Incidentally, the May full moon will be a Supermoon which means it is a full moon which occurs with the moon at or near its closest approach to Earth. The full moon in May is sometimes called the Flower Moon. 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 predicted at the Supermoon, so soil moisture should be adequate for seeding.

Besides looking to the moon, I also look to the native plants when deciding my garden planting. In this area, when the aspen trees are leafing out, it’s time to finish seeding the garden.

So get out there and get a little dirt under your fingernails. And while you’re planting, give a little nod to the man in the moon … he’s smiling at you.