Posted by: Donna Cunningham | June 12, 2013

A Guide to Gardening by the Moon

Donna asks, Are any of my Skywriter readers out there raising a garden this year?  I’ve been hearing for years about how much gardening according to the current Moon signs helps in getting better crops, but haven’t tried it, not being a gardener myself. (I live in a high rise, after all!) My dear blogging buddy, CJ Wright of Auntie Moon is an expert on the Moon and also a long-time gardener, so she’s created a helpful and informative guide to this year’s growing season, which she’s written about below.

 Guest Blog by Cj Wright, a.k.a. Auntie Moon

If you’ve ever tried gardening by the Moon, you may have discovered you needed several different reference books. Most almanacs use the constellations rather than the zodiac signs in their daily listings, so you’d need something to convert the constellations to the Moon signs you read about in astrology books and magazines. If you’re relying on your favorite astrology blogger for the daily Moon sign, you need a calendar that shows the lunar phases for the month. Who’s right? Your almanac or your astrologer?

Moon signs don’t change magically at midnight. How can you be sure when the Moon changes from one sign to another? Is a time zone the same as a hardiness zone? Is parsley a plant of the Sun or Mercury?

Since I’m an old hand at gardening by the Moon, I’ve created a month-by-month guide for the 2013 summer season ~ every day from the summer solstice through the autumnal equinox ~ which covers:

  • The fertility of each sign and whether it’s a 1, 2, or 3 Moon day
  • Root, leaf, flower and fruit days
  • Dates for each Moon sign and its related gardening activities
  • Gardening duties for when the Moon is waxing or waning
  • Bringing the Moon Indoors ~ Home and self-care tips based on my personal experience of tracking the astrological Moon for many years

Each Moon sign has a page devoted to it that has all the above info on it. There’s no flipping back and forth or through various reference materials. I’ve put it all in one place for you.


Since this is the summer guide, Cancer, Leo and Virgo are highlighted with:

  • The astrological characteristics of each sign
  • The Cancer, Leo, and Virgo garden
  • Lists of plants associated with each summer sign, with a recipe using one of their herbs or veggies
  • Suggested activities and projects for the New Moon in each of the three summer signs

There are also checklists for your garden, home, and self-care for the summer months and other good stuff, too, like the annual cycle of waxing and waning Moons.

One of my favorite things about this guide is that the times the Moon is in a sign are all on one page. You can see at a glance all the opportunities to garden during each sign throughout the season.

Waxing Virgo Moon

July 11, 6:12pm – July 14, 3:40am
August 7, 11:58pm – August 10, 9:08am
September 5, 7:31am – September 6, 3:13pm

Waning Virgo Moon

September 4, 6:45am – September 5, 7:29am

See how the Moon went from waning to waxing in September? It’s all laid out for you.

If you’re new to gardening with the Moon, this guide will be a great aid to you through the summer months. If you’ve been gardening with the Moon for a while, you’ll love the ease of finding everything you need in one place.


Once you’ve ordered your guide, I’ll receive a notice from PayPal and will email the guide directly to you.

commentsgreatdiscussionDonna asks:  Have any of you readers had experience garden by the Moon?  What can you tell us about it?  Leave your answer in the comment section.


  1. I am an avid gardener and astrology student. I have played with gardening by the moon with mixed results and feel that there are so many variables involved it is hard to separate them out. I did an experiment where I planted kale seeds indoors to see which moon phase in which they would germinate quicker. Aries won hands down, lol- in a waning dark of the moon phase. I enjoyed Auntie Moon’s post, and look forward to more comments here.

    • Thanks for sharing that, Cathy. That experiment is interesting, and I’d love to hear what Cj has to say about it. Aries Moon, huh? As an Aries Moon person, I can sure relate to things/ideas sprouting fast. Donna

    • Hi, Cathy.

      Thanks for sharing your results, Cathy. It’s important in astrology and gardening to hear different experiences.

      Did you let the plants grow to full size, or were you just seeing which ones germinated the fastest? I’ve had some seeds start off like gangbusters, but poop out on me in the long run.

      After trial and error, I finally discovered the best spot in my yard to start cuttings and seeds. I’ve had great luck with both following the signs and phases…and having them in the right place with the right light and water. And that’s critical for lunar gardening.

      It’s not just gardening with the signs and phases. The basic principles of gardening have to be observed first. If a plant is in the wrong kind of soil, with the wrong light and water requirements, it won’t matter when you plant it. It’s not going to do well, and will probably not survive. I make this very clear in my guidebook.

      What lunar gardening does is increase the hardiness, abundance and fragrance of flowers, and yield of food crops. That’s a nice payoff. I use it as a big boost to my hard work and a companion to lighten the load since I garden alone.

      I encourage you to try this method again. It gives me great joy.

  2. I teach science as well, so limited my experiment to germination under indoor conditions only. The idea that quick germination may not necessarily grow the hardiest or result in the most abundant crop yield certainly makes sense. Furthermore, one can’t say Aries is really the best for germination-only experiments like mine until the results are repeated by many other people as well. What a waste of kale seedlings!

    I also agree with Cj in that there are many things that go into growing plants well. Anecdotally, I have had several positive moon gardening experiences, but also a few that didn’t seem to make a difference. It is true that the latter were timing issues, where I held back planting because of the moon signs and my fellow community gardeners had a better yield for planting earlier.

    I will certainly continue to work with the moon! Time slips away all too easily, and it helps to have that as a life and gardening guide:)

    Thank you!

  3. I’ve been gardening by the moon for years. What I notice especially is that weeds are much easier to pull up intact – including those devil dandelions that tend to break off and leave the root in the ground – when I weed during a waning moon when it’s in an infertile sign. I’ve also had bad luck with some (not all) plants planted in infertile signs and the moon’s last quarter. I do try to plant flowers when the moon is in Libra, and I’ve had some wonderful flower gardens – but I haven’t compared results carefully enough to say for sure that planting in Libra is what does it.

    • My favorite lunar gardening author is Louise Riotte who said that Libra was made for flowers. I think it’s probably the reason why this masculine air sign is given a 1 Moon (semi-fertile) standing in lunar gardening. (I rate the days as 1, 2, or 3 Moon days or a Sun day.)

      Thanks for sharing that tip about the weeds and the waning, infertile signs with Donna’s readers, Margaret. It really works, doesn’t it?

  4. I find this post very interesting, as I’m both into astrology and gardening. However, I am curious — what timezone are the phases specified for? (Of course I do know it is pretty simple to adjust these in my head. 😉 And, perhaps more importantly: how much does it matter where one is living and gardening in the U.S., as I assume this guide is oriented mostly, if not exclusively, to the U.S., but perhaps more to certain areas than others. I live now in the Southwest U.S. where gardening is VERY different from the Northeast, where I used to live and garden. I’d appreciate input about these 2 questions. Thanks very much!

    • That’s an excellent question! Where you live is of utmost importance.

      I’m in Zone 8, KathyAnne, in Georgia. It’s a very warm zone with an extended summer season. Time zones changes and adjustments are explained in the guide, as well as hardiness zones.

      If climate is questionable during some of the planting days, especially for fall plantings, I make every effort to point out what may be too cool or too warm in certain zones. A Vermont September is very different from a Georgia September, and there are things we can’t do at the same time. Even though you say you’re in the southwest, your zone could vary from 5 – 11. The mountains or desert make a huge difference.

      Stick to native plants as much as possible in any zone, but especially if you’re in an extreme hardiness zone.

      I hope that helps.

      • Dear CJ,

        Thank you so much for responding! I’m glad you cover, in your book, some of these other topics. I’ll definitely check it out now!

        I am living in Tucson, an area known for many “microclimates”! I am north of the city and close to mountains, so, yes, it’s desert and it’s also an area with some characteristics of its own.

        Outside my walled garden area, for the most part, I have only native desert vegetation, that lives completely on its own. Within my garden walls, I have only desert-adapted plants in the ground, with a drip irrigation system. In pots, from small to large size, and again with drip irrigation, I grow some plants I’m in love with (like my “dinnerplate” hibiscus), some other flowering annuals, and my vegetables, which latter type of gardening I began doing here only 2 years ago. Veggie gardening is a big challenge, due to heat and critters (and soil, although that’s why I chose containers). My seasons of gardening are extended beyond the Northeast, for sure, starting earlier/ending later, although at least in my area we do experience winter and even most of the winter crops I try “stall” for a while.

        Will you be producing a guide that addresses beyond Cancer, Leo and Virgo?

        Sending much gratitude!

  5. Dinnerplate hibiscus send me over the edge, KathyAnne. Containers are excellent for growing veggies. I have a shady back yard and have to grown veggies in containers, too — on my deck or in pots on my driveway which gets all the sun.

    I’m planning to do a guide for each season, with the autumn guide available in early September or late August.

  6. I have done this my whole life, I also harvest according to Moon and plant associations to days of the week. My Grandmother did this when she set to do the garden every year and passed it down to us. Good Gardening

  7. Hi, i have just read with interest the above comments, i have my sun, moon, mars and mercury all tucked tight in cancer and have been a farmer of livestock and vegetables for the last 15 yrs, whilst it is clearly beneficial and very interesting to read and study what effects the moon might have on your gardening and indeed the care of young animals, take a moment to just “feel” it, this knowledge is your birth right and is buried inside to greater or lesser degree.
    In the coming years we will need it, love to all x

  8. You’re lucky to have learned moon gardening from your grandmother, Ariana. I imagine she gave you some outstanding gardening tips.

  9. Great galloping Green Man this is a fascinating thread! I have a degree in botany, forestry minor. I’ve read (the poet/philosopher/scientist) Goethe’s rather esoteric work on plant morphology and Rudolph Steiner’s Biodynamics. Heavy astrology, that. I’m about to move somewhere in Seattle that will allow me to have a small garden plot. I plan to do some experiments with several species. Of course this won’t be absolutely perfectly controlled research, but good enough to compare results..

    • Great discussion! Okay, now that we’re on the subject of research into esoteric influences on plants, I HAVE to go a bit off topic and mention some research on how a certain important flower remedy (called Rescue Remedy, available in health food stores) positively influences the growth/sprouting of plants, as documented in photographs. This research was done by Dr. Deborah Bier, my colleague and co-editor of Vibration Magazine, an online flower essence magazine. You can see it here: IMAGINE if you planted by the Moon AND added Rescue Remedy? Why not give it a try? Donna Cunningham

    • Great galloping Green Man is right, Rafi! Congratulations on having your own garden plot soon.

      Biodynamic farming goes beyond the rules for lunar gardening, but uses lunar gardening principles. You can be a lunar gardener without being a biodynamic gardener, but not a biodynamic gardener without also being a lunar gardener.

  10. When I decide to have a garden, I definitely use Lunar Astrology and it works! We even did an experiment planting radishes during the proper time and the not-so-great time and there was a noticeable difference. What I have been doing for well over a decade is using the Moon for cutting hair! In a way, it is like a “garden” too – the scalp is the soil and the hair are the plants if you will 🙂 Have used Llewellyn’s Moon Sign Book for this, and recently found another great system (although it is Mayan, not Western, Astrology: (and I use henna too and love this guy’s videos!) 🙂

    • Other than gardening, the summer guide has lots of other tips for staying in sync with the Moon in each of the signs.

      Times of the Moon sign changes are included, too, because that can make quite a big difference in the types of activities in gardening, home, and self-care. For example, the Moon is in Scorpio on the morning of the summer solstice, but changes at 4:31am (EDT) to Sagittarius. (12:31am Pacific and 9:31am Greenwich) That’s essentially the whole day if you’re out in the garden.

      Listing Scorpio as the Moon sign for the entire day is misleading. That’s what happens with lots of almanacs on the newsstands. They only list the first Moon sign of the day, if it changes on that day, and not the second.

      A gardener can do lots of things during Scorpio that they wouldn’t think of doing during Sagittarius. So what happens is that people follow their almanacs and, because they’re doing Scorpio activities during Sagittarius, they don’t get the results they hoped they would.

      Following the Moon for hair care is the same. I like what you said about the scalp being the soil and the hair the plants. And, naturally, we can use some great Venus aspects to our ascendants, too. 🙂

  11. I garden by the moon but using the sidereal zodiac (I use tropical for astrology). When I first learned about this (through Biodyamic Agriculture), I was so confounded. I thought it meant all my astrology knowledge was useless but I have come to terms with the differences. Sidereal seems quite fitting for all things tangible whereas tropical suits the psychological/emotional nature of astrology.

    For those who are curious to know, a woman named Maria Thun did research for 50 years on the moon (and other planets)’s affects on plants. She started out using radishes as they are known for their fast germination but what she came to understand was that it was not the sign the moon was in *at the time of germination* but rather when the soil was cultivated. So, for example, if you were to work a bed, turning manure into the soil etc. on a day when the moon was in Taurus (actually within the constellation of Taurus in the sky), then wait several days and perhaps later when the moon was in Cancer, sow radish seeds (without disturbing the soil), the roots would still be the most prominent part of the plant (whereas if you’d worked the soil on that day, and sowed the seeds, the leaf would be most abundant). Time and again, her experiments showed the plant parts related to the element (leaf for water signs, root for earth, fruit for fire, flower for air) of the sign the moon was in at the time of cultivation to be more productive/abundant/pronounced. So it became irrelevant whether they were quick-germinating radishes or something like parsley that takes FOREVER to sprout! The assumption is that the cosmic energies are worked into the soil and “feed” the plant.

    This is counter to the age-old (think Farmers’ Almanac) moon planting guides where any fire sign is considered barren and should not be planted in. I have planted tomatoes, peas, beans, squashs, melons etc. etc. for 10+ years during fire moons with great success. People were astounded at what came out of my tiny backyard garden (I’ve now moved to a proper farm, yay!).

    • Wow, that’s interesting, Tara. This discussion is turning out to be very informative. Donna

  12. It is a fascinating discussion- thank you Donna for starting it! FYI, radishes are the base for most of my anecdotal evidence. Planted in waning cancer, they don’t seem to get woody as they grow larger.

    Thank you also for the flower essence article. I am studying Bach at the present, but loved the “Flower Remedies Handbook” you wrote years ago.
    And Cj- your name seems so familiar. Have you written a book pertaining to gardening by the moon besides your growing guide?

  13. Planting by the signs is a fairly straight forward operation. You plant aboveground crops (lettuce, peas, tomatoes, etc.) when the moon is waxing (growing) from New to Full Moon. Underground crops (beets, radishes carrots, potatoes, etc.) are planted when the moon is waning from Full to New Moon. However, true gardening by the signs is a bit more complicated.

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