Moon Gardening

Gardening by the moon can bring a very satisfying unity to your gardening and magical work.  It used to be common practice to garden by the moon’s phases, with the idea being that when you sow has an effect on the plant: “If a tree be planted in the increase of the Moone, it growth to be great; but if it be in the wane, it will be smaller, yet a great deal more lasting.” [1]

While the moon is a constant presence in the night sky, it is ever changing.  As she waxes and wanes, pulling with her the tides of the sea, she influences all that is living.  Generally speaking, as the moon waxes the energy flows upwards into the leaves and stalks of the plant, as it wanes the virtue travels to the roots.  Plants to be harvested for their roots should be planted and gathered at the waning moon, and plants required for their flowers, leaves and fruits should be planted and gathered at the waxing moon. 

Waxing Moon

The waxing moon is a time for new beginnings, things that will grow to fullness in the future.  As the earth breathes out, sap rises and growth above soil is favoured.  A waxing moon is the best time to sow and plant anything which yields a harvest above the soil, including flowers and blooms.   In the first week following the new moon sow leafy vegetables and plants whose flowers and seeds are the edible part.  Lawns also grow well when planted at the waxing moon.  Do not prune during the waxing moon, as the sap is rising in plants, and they will ‘bleed’ heavily.  Re-pot plants during the waxing moon, as they will recover and grow better than if done at the waning moon. 

Full Moon

The full moon is a good time for positive magic – healing, blessing and so on.  Growth above soil reaches its peak.  The concentration of active ingredients in herbs and plants is highest at full moon, when they should be picked.  Yule trees which are felled on the traditional day – the third day before the eleventh full moon of the year – will keep their needles for longer than those felled later. 

Waning Moon

The waning moon is a time of winding down, relinquishing old relationships and situations.  It is the time to perform purifications and cleansing magic.  As Mother Earth breathes in with the waning moon, her receptivity increases.    Strenuous physical work is easier now than during a waxing moon and any injuries sustained by overdoing it will heal quicker.  This is a good time to prune trees and shrubs – they will ‘bleed’ less and recover more quickly.  It is also a good time to weed and hoe to banish unwanted plants and pests.  The energies of the waning moon are good for root crops.   Sow root vegetables such as carrots and turnips just after the full moon, along with lettuce, which seems to respond better to waning moon energies.  Do not sow flowers at this time.  Do not plant anything in the week before the new moon.   Cleaning out the greenhouse and clearing beds is best done at the waning moon. 

The Dark Moon

If possible, do no work in the garden during the dark moon.

© Anna Franklin, The Hearth Witch’s Garden Herbal forthcoming Llewellyn, 2023

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[1] Quoted in Robin Page, Gardening the Country Way, Silent Books, Cambridge, 1991


Author: annafranklinblog

Anna Franklin is the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, which runs teaching circles, a working coven, and the annual Mercian Gathering, a Pagan camp which raises money for charity. She regularly speaks at conferences, moots and workshops around the country. She is the author of many books on witchcraft and Paganism, including the popular Pagan Ways Tarot, Sacred Circle Tarot, The Fairy Ring, Herb Craft, Magical Incenses and Oils, Personal Power, A Romantic Guide to Handfasting, Familiars, The Oracle of the Goddess, Hearth Witch, The Path of the Shaman and The Hearth Witch’s Compendium. Anna’s books have been translated into nine languages.

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