UNDERSTANDING THE MOON
Gardeners and farmers have been using moon phase gardening for ages! Best of all, it’s a fairly simple process. Just as the moon’s gravitational pull causes tides to rise and fall, it also affects moisture in the soil. Therefore it is said that seeds will absorb more water during the full moon and the new moon, where more moisture is pulled to the surface. This causes seeds to swell, resulting in greater germination and better-established plants. The moon also impacts plant growth through geotropism – which is how plants grow in response to gravity. Roots grow downward in the direction of the gravitational pull and stems grow in the poolside direction.
New Moon to First Quarter (waxing crescent) – SEMI FERTILE: This is an ideal time to plant crops that produce their seeds outside the fruit. It is also most suited to sowing or transplanting leafy annuals (we eat their leaves, flowers or stems).
First Quarter to Full Moon (waxing gibbous) – FERTILE: The success rate of seed germination increases a few days before a full moon. This phase is most suited to fruiting annuals where we value or eat the fruit or seed bearing part of the plant.
Full Moon to Last Quarter (waning gibbous) – SEMI FERTILE: As the moon wanes, it is beneficial to those plants who rely on strong root systems, things that grow underground or plants that are decorative or fruiting perennials.
Last Quarter to New Moon (waning crescent): As the moon decreases night by night, plants are encouraged to grow roots, tubers and bulbs. Not the best time to sow seed.
UNDERSTANDING CLIMATE ZONES AND MICROCLIMATES
Climate zones are the general weather conditions averaged over a series of years usually found in a particular place. These include the average temperature, air pressure, humidity, rainfall, sunshine, cloud and wind directions throughout the year.
A microclimate is a smaller area within a climate zone that has its own unique climate. This can be caused by the slope or aspect of an area, living near water, living in a heavy urban area, climate change or the use of a greenhouse. If you are growing in an uncommon climate, use a combination of the monthly given climate zones to suit your planting needs.
UNDERSTANDING COMPANION PLANTING
A wonderful principle of planting your vegetables and herbs in either a far off or close proximity of each other for many useful reasons including pest control, pollination, providing a habitat for beneficial insects, maximising use of space and to increase your crop productivity.