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Gardening by the Moon

  1. Jan 1, 2010 #1
    I've had it with so much "gardener's wisdom" that claims that certain moon phases are propitious for growing certain crops. I see statements like: "The first quarter moon is the ideal time to plant blackberries." or the like. This must be a crock. What does a plant care about the moon? Does anyone disagree? If so, please explain.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2010 #2
    Well, technically, there is some light reflected by the moon. However, even on a full moon with now clouds, the total energy per unit area is insignificant compared to even a cloudy day.
  4. Jan 2, 2010 #3
    I have no idea whether there is a correlation between moon phases and the growth behavior of plants. However sometimes such irrational beliefs are actually true, but the correlation is rarely due to direct causation. So we shouldn't be too quick to dismiss unfamiliar ideas (though ideally we should do some systematic data collection and then do statistic analysis on it), just as we shouldn't blindly accept them.

    Some ideas:
    Maybe the moon phase affects the gardener's mood and therefore his observation of the plants, and perhaps how he handles them. Maybe it affects the behavior of insects (due to increased light at night). Maybe it affects the social behavior of humans and therefore their car usage, which may affect the air near the plants.
  5. Jan 2, 2010 #4
    I tried googling 'biological triggers in flora" and came up empty. What key words should I use?
  6. Jan 3, 2010 #5


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    Well, with a name like Helios, you're obviously biased! :wink:

    (or is just because you have a squeaky voice? :biggrin:)​

    Hi Helios! :smile:

    I don't know whether any plant behaviour is affected by the moon, but I would expect it, on the following basis …

    Plants are light-sensitive, so they certainly could behave differently on moonlit nights.

    Also, there might be an advantage to being seen at night (so that night-creatures can distribute their seed), or a disadvantage (because night-creatures just destroy their seed).

    (For some planting rules, without scientific explanation, see Keith Cooley's http://home.hiwaay.net/~krcool/Astro/moon/moongrow.htm" [Broken] :wink:)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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