Farming, gardening and planting are not new, nor is the idea that doing so by the moons phase is beneficial. They have always hoped in magic, gravity or light that the plants would grow. Today even with science in abundance, many people still believe it is important to work in harmony with nature and thus the moon.

It is believed that when the moon is dark, that the plants will turn towards their roots which allows the sap to move downwards and because of that, this is a period when you should be planting root crops and transplanting other crops.

When the moon is showing light, the plants will pull upwards, which allows the sap to move upward and thus this is a good time to be planting those things that grow well above the ground

One other theory has to do with gravity. It is thought that the moon draws ground water up from the earth, just as it makes tides rise, and so the plants in the ground will get more nutrients and thus grow better.

Of course gardening and farming can not be done without the aid of centuries of advice, myths and folklore, which to be honest there is a plethora of. From when and how to grow them to when and how to harvest them. At the end of this article I will list every single one that I found while doing my research.

So let’s look at some of the basics of the moon

Cycles of the moon

Synodic cycle – Waxing and waning – 29.5 days
Waxing is when the moon grows from new to full and is called the first and second quarter.

Waning is when the moon gets smaller and is called the third and last quarter

Ascending and descending – 27.3 days
This is the height of the moon above the horizon that you can see

Sidereal cycle – 27.3 days
This is astrology and the zodiac and how the moon passes through the 12 constellations.
The moon spends 2-3 days in each constellation
Links to four elements: Earth, Fire, Air and Water

Apogee-perigee cycle – 27.2 days
Affects the tides
Apogee – Furthest point from the earth
Perigee – Closest point to the earth

The picture above demonstrates the growth of the moon from new to full and back to new moon. Lunar gravity is strongest at new and full moon and obviously light is brightest at full moon.

So how does farming by the moons work? Well there are two easy rules to follow overall:

Plant crops that produce above the ground during the increasing light of the moon (from new moon to full moon)Plant crops that produce below the ground during the decreasing light of the moon(from full moon to new moon)

Just a bit more detail on that

New Moon To Full Moon
Sow, Transplant, bud and graft.

Full Moon To New Moon
Plow, Cultivate, weed and reap.
pull weeds, cultivate, destroy pests, turn sod, apply compost

New Moon To First Quarter
Good for Planting above-ground crops with outside seeds, flowering annuals.
asparagus, cabbage, celery, endive, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, corn, broccoli, brussel sprouts, barley, cauliflower, celery, cress, kohl rabi, leeks, oats, onions, parsley also seeds of flowering plants.

First Quarter To Full Moon
Good for planting above ground crops with inside seeds.
beans, peas, peppers, squash, eggplant, muskmelon, pumpkin, tomatoes and watermelons

Full Moon To Last Quarter
Good for planting root crops, bulbs, biennials, and perennials.
onions, potatoes, rhubarb, grapes, carrots, artichoke, beets, carrots, chickory, parsnips, radish, rutabaga, turnip,potatoes, bulb flowers,winter wheat and berries.

Last Quarter To New Moon
Do Not Plant

Having a lunar calendar up on your wall like this one is important so you can keep track of the dates.

Hay is better quality if cut on a waning moon as the sap content is less due to the reduced gravitational pull.

Moonrise occurring in the evening brings fair weather, says one proverb, harking back to the belief that the waning Moon (full and last quarter, which rise in the evening) is dry.

The New Moon and first quarter, or waxing phases, are considered fertile and wet.

The new and first-quarter phases, known as the light of the Moon, are considered good for planting above-ground crops, putting down sod, grafting trees, and transplanting.

From full Moon through the last quarter, or the dark of the Moon, is the best time for killing weeds, thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops.

The time just before the full Moon is considered particularly wet, and is best for planting during drought conditions.

The diagram shows the four elements and their related zodiac signs. It also shows the associated plant for each element

If you plant using the sidereal cycle then the following will show the element linked to what crop

Earth element – root plants like beetroot, carrot, potatoes, onions and turnips.

Water – leaf plants like cabbage, brussel sprouts, lettuce and spinach.

Air – flowering plants like artichokes, cauliflower and broccoli.

Fire – fruit-seed plants like blackberries, beans, peas and tomatoes

Once you know your crop and which element it is linked to, then simply use a lunar calendar and match the day to the element day.


Cancer is the most fruitful of all the Zodiac

Leo is a barren sign

Planting is best done in the signs of Scorpio, Pisces, Taurus and cancer; all fruitful signs

Never plant anything in the barren sign

Barren signs are only good for grubbing, trimming, deadening and destroying noxious growths

Libra sign is known for its beauty and is an air sign, best time to plant flowers

Flower seeds should be planted in the first quarter of the moon

If you want flower seeds from the plant then plant between the second quarter and the full moon

Avoid the first day of Moon for planting

Avoid the days on which it changes Quarters

Best time to plant seed is Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces

Next best times are Taurus and Capricorn

Pick apples and pears during the old Moon and the bruised spots will dry up

Pick apples and pears in the new Moon the spots will rot

Harvest all crops when the Moon is growing old; they keep better and longer

Dig root crops for seed during the Third Quarter of the Moon. They will keep longer and are usually dryer and better.

Grain intended for future use or seed should be harvested at the increase of the Moon

Fruit and vegetables gathered just before Full Moon in the Second Quarter will stand shipment well



Plant potatoes during the “dark of the moon” is an old adage.

Plant your seeds within 48 hours before a full moon.

Do not plant on the day of the New Moon or Full Moon.

Good Friday is the best day for planting because it is the only day of the year when the devil was thought to be powerless.

Pour boiling water over the soil before planting to deter the devil

Tea made from willow stems would enable cuttings to root fast.

If you can sit on the ground with your trousers down, it’s safe to sow your seed”.

Rail fences cut during the dry, waning Moon will stay straighter.

Wooden shingles and shakes will lie flatter if cut during the dark of the Moon.

Fence posts should be set in the dark of the Moon to resist rotting.

Ozark lore says that fence posts should always be set as the tree grew. To set the root end upward makes a short-lived fence.

Dig your horseradish in the full Moon for the best flavor.


Don’t begin weaning when the Moon is waning.

Castrate and de-horn animals when the Moon is waning for less bleeding.

Slaughter when the Moon is waxing for juicier meat.

Crabbing, shrimping, and clamming are best when the Moon is full.

Set eggs to hatch on the Moon’s increase, but not if a south wind blows.

Pound a nail into the northern side of your fruit trees to bring a higher yield come harvest time.

If you want your hot peppers to grow really hot, then plant them when you’re good and mad about something.

For maximum growing potential, have a pregnant friend help you plant beans, and the beans will flourish.

Never plant vegetables that sound alike together. Think potato and tomato

One for the cutworm
One for the crow
One to rot and one to grow

Plant squash in May they run away
Plant squash in June there will be plenty soon

Plant pumpkins on the first of June
You will have pumpkins soon

Plant cucumbers on the sixth of July
You will have cucumbers wet or dry

Rainbow in the morning, farmer take warning
Rainbow at night, fisherman’s delight

A pale moon doth rain
A red moon doth blow

If a redbird calls pretty, pretty, pretty
The weather will be pretty

The moon replenishes the earth
When she approaches it,
She fills all bodies,
While when she recedes,
She empties them”

“Snow on Christmas means Easter will be green”
“A green Christmas means a white Easter!”

“Red Sky at night, Shepherds Delight.
Red sky in the morning, Shepherds warning”

“A wet May makes a big load of hay;
A cold May is kindly and fills the barn finely”

“Oak before Ash in for a splash
Ash before Oak in for a soak”

“If the first of July it be rainy weather
Twill rain more or less for four weeks together”

“If the first week of August be warm
The winter will be white and long”

“If St. Michael brings many acorns,
Christmas will cover the fields with snow”

“When berries are many in October
Beware a hard winter” “

When birds and badgers are fat in October
Expect a cold winter”


Calendula – Attracts the hover fly which kills aphids

Garlic – Used to protect plants from insects and to keep aphids away from rose bushes.

Wild Garlic. In old lore, rabbits refuse to cross a boundary planted with wild garlic.

Catnip – Will keep cats out of your garden if you plant them on the outside of it

African Marigold wards off eel worm in root crops such as potato.

Nettles have the benefit of giving ladybirds an early supply of aphids, thus encouraging them to remain in the garden all year

A small amount of nettles, planted between currant bushes are said to aid growth, help fruit production and improve
pest resistance

Where nettles grow it is a good indicator abundant nitrogen rich soil

Chives planted near an apple tree will prevent the dreaded scab

Plant in orchards, to prevent lightning from striking

Fennel flowers attract the hoverfly

Leeks planted in a row next to your root crop will keep them pest free

House leek planted on or near the house will surely cast aside all lightning


Black-eyed peas – A bringer of prosperity and good luck

Parsley seeds sown on Good Friday, will bring happiness and fortune

Fennel attached to a gas mower or power tool will start first time, every time.

Bamboo will enhance positive energy


The Summer does not start until the Elder is in flower

Look to the heavens for low, black foreboding clouds

As it rains in March so it Rains in June

If early April is foggy, rain in June will make lanes boggy

Watch the swallows and martins. If they are flying high, then it will be clear. If they are flying low, then rain is surely on the horizon

If the October moon comes without frost, expect no frost until the moon of November.

Mist in May; Heat in June. Makes harvest come right soon.


Medieval English folklore says that if you plant daisies, they’ll help keep the fairies out of your yard.

Plant tubers like yams to increase lust and fertility.

White yam has been linked to high birth rates in West Africa, particularly that of multiples such as twins.

Women who are menstruating are not permitted to harvest okra, because it might spoil when they put it up for canning.

Pickles won’t be crunchy if canned by a woman having her period.

Mustard, collard, and other greens planted near your bedroom window will help prevent conception of a child.

In Slavic countries, wild roses are said to keep away vampires.

Garlic in Central Europe is used to ward off the “evil eye.”

Never eat tomatoes off a silver platter, or you might die.

If a girl found a blood-red corn cob among the yellow ones, she was sure to marry before the year was out.

To keep crows from bothering your garden, kill one and hang it nearby.

To keep crows from bothering your garden, kill one and hang it nearby.

Trees that bloom twice in one year will have a bad crop.

Don’t plant your garden until the oak leaves are the size of mouse ears

Anything planted on the first day of Spring will live

Bury nails around the roots of Hydrangea to make the blooms blue.

Grass won’t grow where human blood has been spilled.

Flowers which bloom out of season are evil

Dreaming of thorns is bad luck

Tomatoes should be planted on Memorial Day

After planting a hill of beans, press the soil with your foot for good luck

If 2 people’s hoes hit together, they will work in the same field next year.

Eat sugar before planting fruit trees to make the fruit sweeter.

Apples with red spots inside means that the tree’s root grew into the body of a murdered person.

Drive a rusty nail on the north side of the tree for better yields.

The number of seeds in an apple will be your lucky number.

Whip a poor yielding tree and it will bear better the next year.

Plowing on Good Friday will cause the ground to bleed.

Seeds planted on St. Patrick’s Day grow better.

Gardens do better if seeds are planted on even-numbered days of the month.

Don’t thank a person who gives you seeds or roots, or the plants will never grow.

Plant potatoes at night so the eyes don’t see light.

If you burn potato peelings, your crop won’t grow the next year.

If you laugh while planting corn, the kernels will have big gaps in them.

Parsley is notoriously slow to germinate, and very often gardeners would make three sowings—two for the devil and one for the gardener—before getting a crop to come up.

Pour boiling water over the soil before planting to deter the devil

Place banana peels in a planting hole to bring up healthy roses.

Planting peppers when you are mad makes the peppers grow hotter.

For a good crop of watermelons, crawl to the patch backwards on the first day of May.

Pluck the petals on a daisy, and if the number counted comes out even, you will have good luck.

Seeds: If a pregnant woman plants seeds, everything in the garden will thrive.

When planting peas and beans, the rows should always run north and south

Sage: Sage thrives in the garden of a woman who rules her household, and her husband firmly.

Red and white flowers in the same vase is unlucky

Caraway placed in your husbands pocket will keep him from wandering to another.

Old Welsh tradition is to rub themselves with leeks before going into battle to bring extra strength and power while providing protection from injury.

The Romans used the lettuce plant as a powerful aphrodisiac and to prevent drunkenness.

No two similar vegetables should be planted in the same place on the following years.

Beans with Cabbage. It makes perfect sense for beans to have a positive effect on the production of a leaf vegetable, purely by the virtue of nitrogen storage in the root structure.

Lettuce and Chicory – It is said plants will taste sweeter if their seeds are first soaked in rose water.

It does not matter whether you garden and farm by myth or science or sun and moon. Whatever works for you and your life then that is how it should be. So slide that lucky charm into the soil, nail that fence or pray, just make it fun and interesting and never stop learning or growing.

Filed under: Living in Kentucky

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