I should start out by defining what I am talking about when I bring up "gardening by the moon." Gardening by the moon is not the same thing as gardening by moonlight. Although now that I've thought about it, this could be a fun or romantic way to spend an evening, with the right company. But in this case, we are talking about gardening by the moon phase, meaning that whether the moon is full, new, or somewhere in between will determine when you plant, when you kill pests and when you till ground.
For a long time I thought this was kind of a "vegetable astrology," fun to read about, but not really having an actual impact on much. But then Big Ag told me that in professional farming, he and his fellow farmers do schedule pest control according to the phase of the moon, as certain pests (tomato worms, cabbage worms, etc.) hatch at the full or new moon and if you spray at the wrong time, you will miss killing them.
So that lent at least a little credence to our great-grandparents' tendency to consult the Farmer's Almanac in search of a lunar planting guide, which I did online this afternoon. Here is how the month of September is shaping up, but you can check out any upcoming dates at: http://farmersalmanac.com/calendar/gardening/:
So judging by how next month looks, the first of September appears to be one of the best days for me to plant my fall seedcrops of lettuce and carrots, which strikes me as a light and pleasant way to spend Labor Day even if it is doing labor. It's a labor of love, right?. As no onion bulbs are in our stores yet, I will have to wait to get those in the ground, but you can rest assured they will go in when "Old Grandma" -- the Farmer's Almanac -- says it's a good day.
It's hard to believe it is already time to get back to those beds I fallowed last May to put in a new crop that will take us into the colder months. It's also a very welcome reminder that autumn is on its way, even if it is still at least 6 weeks away for us here on the Central Coast. The important thing is, it's coming, and the anticipation is half the fun.
In the meantime, the moon will wax and wane as she dances in synchronicity with earth in their monthly rumba. Honestly, I'm not positive the moon phase affects seed sprout or bulb growth, but since it affects the tides, worm hatch, our female reproductive cycles and even our mood and sleep patterns, I can't rule its influence out. So why not give yourself the best shot at getting things to grow and give at least a passing nod to the phase of the moon?
It might even inspire you to get out there with the one you love (or maybe would just like to know better) for some crazy, moonlight gardening.