The moon calendar

by M. Arjoca,

MoonThe men were always fascinated by stars, by the way life can depend on them. Ancient observatories amaze and make us curious. The Sun, the Moon, other planets and stars in correlation with the Earth played an important role over the time in the beliefs, religions, cultural and agricultural life of men.

In the world of plants the key elements for germination, growth, blooming and bearing fruits are: the light, the soil, the water and the air.

Because of the light and warmth it emanates, the Sun is the most important star in the green world. The Moon, the closest celestial body to the Earth, was considered a deity, a place of the good or of the evil, a place of the spirits, many fairy tales, superstitions and beliefs passed from old times to our days. Lately the people began to ask themselves if and how can the Moon influence the plants. Looking for an answer to this question, I found three opinions:

The Moon rotates around the Earth and together with the Earth rotates around the Sun. The Moon moves around the Earth in about 28 days, passing through 4 phases: new Moon, first quarter, full Moon and last quarter. These phases are caused by the position of the Moon, the Earth and the Sun and by the sunlight angle on the Moon. The period when the Moon's light increases (between new Moon and full Moon) has 2 phases, each of them lasting 7 days: first quarter and the second quarter. The period when the Moon's light decreases (between full Moon and new Moon) has also 2 phases: the third quarter and the fourth quarter.

In this photo posted by wikipedia, these phases can be seen.

Wikipedia MoonThe Earth and the Moon are attracted to each other and this causes phenomenons like tides, lunar winds and thunderstorms.

The gravitational force between the Moon and the Earth makes the ocean waters rise. When the Moon is closed to the Earth, the ocean waters tend to rise toward the Moon and the tides are formed.

The attraction force between the Sun and the Earth also causes tides but this force is weaker than the one between the Moon and the Earth. In the moment the Sun, the Moon and the Earth are on about same line (new Moon, full Moon), their gravitational forces combine and the tides reach the maximum height. During the first and last quarter the Sun and the Moon make right angles with the Earth and their forces don't combine so the level of the tides is low.

However not every sea or lake has tides. An immense quantity of water is needed to form the tides. In the case of some seas or lakes the height of tides has only few cm or few mm (not even an inch).

Those who sustain that the life cycle of plants is affected by the Moon, rely on the idea that the plants are very sensitive to phenomenons of the environment, the force between the Moon and the Earth affecting not just the oceans but the water from soil and plants too.

When the water from soil rises toward the Moon the seeds can absorb it faster and better, producing a successful germination. According to them the garden activities can be accomplished depending on the Moon phases:

New Moon waxingwaxing Full Moon WaningWaning New Moon
New Moon Waxing Full Moon Waning New Moon

Here is a link where you can find the current moon phase.


New moon - Full moon

- the light increases

-the water level rises

  • first week
- planting leaf vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, celery, cauliflower
  • second week

- planting vegetables with seeds inside the fruits: beans, pea, tomatoes;

- harvest vegetables;

- transplanting


Full moon – New moon

- the light decreases

- the water level decreases

  • first week

- planting root vegetables: potatoes, carrots, beat, onion;

- pruning

  • second week

- no seeding, harvesting or pruning;

- removing weeds and making other additional activities

Some of those who sustain the idea of Moon influence, base on Maria Thun's sidereal trigon theory who made, starting 1952, experiments which led her to the conclusion that the position of Moon in zodiac is important for the development of plants .

She divided the plants in 4 groups correlated to the classical elements:

Then she divided the constellations of the zodiac in 4 triangles, each of them corresponding to one of the four elements, so to one group of plants.

These triangles become important for plants if the seeding, the planting or the harvest of each type of plants is done when the Moon is in the corresponding constellation:

Moon's position
         Aries, Leo, Sagittarius


             Fruits, Seeds


        Gemini, Libra, Aquarius




        Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces




       Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn




Beside the position of the Moon, M. Thun says that the quality of soil and compost, the depth of tillage and the watering are also important for good results. Every year M. Thun's Moon calendar for gardening come out.

Different researchers tried to verify the Thun's sidereal trigon theory and mentioned some problems of her experiments:

Their results didn't confirm Thun's theory, on the contrary some of them denied it, her experiments presented in her annual Moon calendar are considered poor and without scientific importance.

Other researchers made also experiments to see if there is a Moon influence on plants and they found that there is a positive effect on germination in the full Moon phase. Unfortunately this type of experiments are low in number and a strong confirmation about a real effect can not be made.

So, it's up to us to decide if we garden by the Moon's cycle or just by our personal sense.