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Moon Gardening – Mumbo Jumbo?

By Michelle Wilkinson, Seed Savers Albury-Wodonga

A few years ago I was inspired by some magazine articles and fellow gardeners to purchase a ‘moon gardening’ guide (also known as a lunar gardening guide) and give this system a try.

Being a bit of a skeptic and not really following ‘star signs’ or similar,  I had a bit of a secret desire to see this system, as a bit of a ‘whacky new age’ idea,  fail!

The charts are printed annually and detail the best times of the month to plant, harvest, weed etc in the garden, based on lunar cycles. 

So, after managing to salvage this rather large chart from my toddlers curious (and destructive) grasp, I finally got around to planting some broccoli.  So, wanting to put some more ‘science’ into this I planted half the broccoli punnet in an “ideal” week and the other half in a week which the chart stated “Do not plant”.  I used the same garden bed and other similar conditions that I could manage, thinking very much that there would be a nice crop of 10 or so broccoli plants from the dozen that I planted with no differences.  WAS I WRONG! 

I don’t think there could have been two groups of more different plants!  The group planted under the ‘ideal’ period of the moon chart were virtually disease free, had barely been attacked by the many pests that love brassicas and had the fullest, healthiest looking heads of broccoli that I may have ever grown!  Contrasting this were some pretty pathetic looking neighbours with much smaller main heads with many small side shoots (which is fine if your intention is to grow brocollini).  Needless to say I was eating humble ‘broccoli’ pie and as sweet as those moon planted broccoli were they were also a little bittersweet in the realisation that there might be something in this lunar planting lark!

I must admit that it is difficult to keep track of (and remember to buy a new moon planting guide each year) but there are some simpler guides also on the internet.  When I do use this system I am impressed with the results.  Of course – it’s not a gardening guarantee (all the other essentials are still required) but with climate variability, pests, disease and the lack of time I seem to be able to spend in my small patch, why not give this system a try to improve your chances of a better crop?