Planting with the Man in the Moon

Ruth Griffiths

Victoria Day weekend is traditionally garden planting time in this area. This year, the new moon is on May 19 so that should make it a great time to plant vegetables.

Some gardeners will already have early crops planted, but others will be waiting for the soil temperature to rise and moisture to fall, hopefully not as snow! Some people, like me, usually plant according to the calendar date, but for centuries, gardeners have planted according to the phase of the moon.

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 of tides that affect the oceans, 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 quickly. 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 (which was May 5). 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 in the soil, causing moisture to rise in the earth, which encourages germination and growth. Seeds will absorb more water at the time of the full moon.

The Victoria Day weekend is a good time to get root crops in the ground The three-day snowfall we experienced after Easter has me feeling a bit nervous about putting out tender plants such as tomatoes until the end of May. The next full moon will be June 3, perhaps a good time to set out your tomatoes and other tender plants such as cucumbers and squash that are easily damaged by frost. Our average last frost is May 21-31. 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.