In the past people used “signs” to tell them when to plant garden and farm crops, and I have kin that still hold to them. One form involved using the 12 astrological signs of the Zodiac, such as Virgo or Leo. Another used signs representing body parts, such as the bowels or head. Another used the moon phases to tell not only when to plant but also when it was a good time to kill unwanted vegetation.
In researching the subject I have found no scientific backing for using the Zodiac or body signs, but planting by the moon may have something to it. The moon exerts strong influences on the earth, such as light, gravitational pull, and magnetism. The ocean tides are just one example of the moon’s power. Less easily explained is the fact that violent acts reported to police stations seem to increase during a full moon.
According to some scientists the light and gravitational pull of the moon does affect the soil and plant life in such a way as to support planting during certain times. During the first quarter phase (new moon to half moon), the moon’s gravitational influence is more downward and this tends to stimulate root growth. This is a good time to plant above ground plants.
During the second quarter phase (half moon to full moon) the moon’s gravitational influence is more upward, and this tends to slow root growth. Moonlight is also increasing to its brightest, which stimulates leaf growth. This appears to be a good time to plant above ground vegetables, especially those with a lot of leaves.
During the third quarter phase (full moon back to half moon) moonlight is decreasing and leaf growth tends to slow down. The moon’s gravitational pull is shifting towards the ground, which means the earth’s gravity can pull harder and stimulate root growth. This is a good time to plant root crops and set out transplants.
During the fourth quarter (half moon to new moon) the gravitational pull of the moon shifts back upward and root growth slows down. The amount of moonlight decreases to its lowest and leaf growth also slows down. This is not a time to plant but a time to kill unwanted vegetation.
Many scientists will contend that planting by the moon is nonsense, but these beliefs have been around a long time: “… Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” Genesis 1:14.