I’ve been doing it for four years and it’s made my life easier.
Wait! The lunar ingress is not the same thing as the moon phase. But it is old folk wisdom, a part of biodynamic farming, and it’s very worthy of your consideration.
So sure, either you believe the moon is cradling your plants in her arms, or you don’t – but even if you think it’s baseless pseudoscience, it still offers a practical and realistic schedule for the garden that will make your life easier.
So Let Us Pls Forget Moon Phases FTM
Don’t pay any attention to gardening by the four quarters of the moon right now. It’s not that this isn’t meaningful, and it’s not like I didn’t try that already – it’s just that I found it wasn’t practical and sometimes really stressful.
If you’re running your own small farm or even a semi-productive small garden, you know as well as I do that waiting for the one window from four moon phases until you can take important action is a tad nope, not happening.
I’ve learned it’s more helpful and results happen when you follow the lunar ingress for garden chores – you can always incorporate the phases later on.
What is Lunar Ingress?
Lunar ingress is the movement of the moon through the twelve signs of the zodiac (STAY WITH
ME), and the moon changes signs every 2-3 days. So the moon is in Aries for two days, moves to Taurus and stays there for two days, then Gemini, then Cancer, and so on. It goes through every zodiac sign in one month give or take some doubles.
Know what else changes about every 2-3 days in the growing season? The weather. Low pressure and high pressure cells move over the same spot of land at about this rate. Coincidence?
I think not.
Because multiple zodiac signs offer fertile conditions, this means you could have 4 x 2-day windows to sow seeds on in one month. That’s a two-day planting window once a week! Now we’re talking about reality.
This is not only realistic and practical, it’s the ideal garden calendar. Two or three days is the perfect amount of time to start and finish weeding, fertilizing, or transplanting or any project. It means you’re switching up your physical activity, which stimulates your mental activity. Also, this schedule allows you to plan ahead and catch up if you fall behind.
LET THE GODDESS GUIDE YOU
Ever walk around your landscape freshly dressed to get dirtay and just stand there overwhelmed? Like, the quack grass grew six inches overnight, the tomatoes look thirsty (do they need some fertilizer?), speaking of fertilizer how is the corn, and shouldn’t I sow another round of lettuce, too? And I’m groaning because compost needs turning…
Ever since I started letting the moon decide, I’m not waffling in the yard trying to figure out the highest priority. The moon is asking me to surrender to the flow, yo, follow the rhythm.
Most gardeners have noticed sometimes the weeds come out like a charm, sometimes they make you wanna quit your life. I have the face of that Ancient Aliens Guy meme right now and I’m not saying it’s aliens, but the lunar ingress.
Weeding on a fire sign is phenomenal. Weeding on an earth sign is sheer hell. Sounds like rubbish ’til you try it.
You can access the lunar ingress from Moontracks.com here. It only takes a few minutes to copy out the signs on your calendar.
THE FOUR ELEMENTS: In General
There are four elements in the 12 signs of the zodiac: Earth, water, air, and fire. Each of these elements has a fertile or barren, and wet or dry quality. Each of the four elements favours different plants and garden chores.
Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn): Best for root and soil work. Good for fertilizing, compost turning, mulching. Good for planting below-ground crops (onions, potatoes, beets, bulbs, corms, tubers, etc.). I find there’s higher humidity and lots of various floral and forest-y scents in the air on earth sign days.
Water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces): Water signs are the best for planting and transplanting. There’s lots of comforting overcast keeping transplants chill, and then scattered showers to tuck them in nice and softly. Pisces especially tends to bring those lingering, light rains for two days straight. Since I won’t sow and water with a hose, I definitely pay attention to these days, and I only sow and transplant pre-rain.
Air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius): Often has the bluest skies and prettiest wisps of clouds. Can have higher winds or randomly-changing conditions (oh hi Gemini). Air signs are best for harvesting. Weeding is good too. These are my favourite signs for flower flower harvesting and arranging (esp. Libra). Vines are a part of this element because they grow into the air.
Fire Signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius): It’s often blazing hot on fire sign days. These are the signs most associated with passion, bravery and anger, so why not obliterate your enemies? This is the best time to weed and destroy pests. Fire signs good for harvesting stuff you want to dry out for long-term preservation: seeds, garlic, onions, potatoes, pressed flowers, dried herbs, etc. Sun-dry some berries and tomatoes. Make sun-tea and stay hydrated. Hack at some quack and light a bonfire to torch the resulting rhizomes.
THE TWELVE SIGNS: A Bit More Specific
Each sign is going to have its own qualities, too. And it’s not so hard to start to assimilate these signs with their chores to remember them. You might have to get creative in your associations, but it’ll start to stick.
For example, my Taurus friend grows epic root crops and is a wizard with salad greens, but
she also just grows everything well, then cooks the hell out of it. She once served me parsnips pan-fried in coconut oil (after letting them sweeten in the soil all winter) and I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. So it becomes a bit reactive for me that root crops = Taurus.
Aries: Arid and barren. Weeding/pests. Harvest for dry storage. Pruning, especially fruit trees.
Taurus: Productive and moist. Plant root crops, tubers, bulbs, salad greens, okay to transplant perennials too (Taurus embodies long-term stability). Make jam, preserves, and ferments. Also, eat. Have a nap. Be gorgeous.
Gemini: Dry and barren. Good for sowing annual, quick growing flowers. Weeding is good. And because Gemini is kind of genius/inexplicable, melons apparently do well? (My Gemini husband is super into melons. Melons of every kind.)
Cancer: Very fertile and moist. The best planting day. All above-ground crops do well planted now. Transplants, too.
Leo: Arid and barren. For weeding and pest control. (Kill, pussycat, kill!)
Virgo: Barren and moist. Tend and transplant flowers and medicinal plants. Cultivate soil.
Libra: Semi-fruitful and moist. Plant pretty flowers, vines (including beans) and fragrant things. Cut flowers and arrange them. Weeding is ok too, but don’t get too dirty, because Libra would rather not, thanks so much.
Scorpio: Very fruitful and moist. Best for sowing and transplanting corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash (i.e. plants that require tenacity). Pinching back foliage to encourage new growth is also very Scorpio.
Sagittarius: Arid and barren. Seeds are potent in Sag so save seeds for best viability. Harvest crops. Especially when their seeds are also the crop: beans, corn, onion sets, garlic, potatoes.
Capricorn: Productive and dry. Good for pruning, mulching, tree care (grafting), installing fenceposts, working compost, fertilizing, and just… ugh, work. But mostly with woody things.
Aquarius: Dry and barren. Tackle weeds and pests. Harvest for storage. Work on your irrigation game. Need rainwater barrels? Ever-made compost tea? What needs fixing for the future? Do you have shrooms and some free time? Maybe do some daydreaming.
Pisces: Very fertile and moist. Second best sign to plant and transplant under. Applying your fish and/or seaweed fertilizers makes sense now too.
HOW TO MAKE IT WORK
Once you have your calendar made up from the Moontracks Lunar Ingress (colour coding each element in blocks helps to see the month’s “planting windows”, “weeding windows”, etc. at a glance), and your cheat sheet above, when you find yourself thinking about all the chores that need doing, you can sit down and break it up. Slot it in. You can sow corn in Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces or even Sagittarius, in a pinch. This is flexible gardening by the moon.
It’s a bit eerie how well you’ll see everything unfold in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling behind, rushed, or overwhelmed.
Somehow, the weeding days happen right after the weeds explode, but not too soon. Or you’ll go and sow seeds on a Pisces day in clear blue skies and the rain (sure enough) will come in the night.
Like all things in life, especially with gardening, this method takes a bit of faith.
But even if you’re not a total looney like me, give it a try anyway – the pace of this schedule with its rotating selection of garden chores just might keep you sane.