Picture for a moment a wise old farmer sitting on a mountaintop at night, overlooking a valley of green and purple Kush plants. He is studying the shape of the moon and its place among the stars, and sees that it is full and in the sign of Leo. Reaching down, he touches and inhales the strong sweet aroma of a large bud just in its prime. Time to harvest.
That is how it was in the days before clocks, calendars, and readily available computer technology. Farmers relied on their intimate knowledge of the phenomena of the moon, stars and seasons. The sun is the dominant influence on crops, with its life-giving rays causing vital photo-
-synthesis in all plants. The sun and its relationship with the orbiting planet Earth is the reason for the seasons, which mark crop planting, growth, harvest and dormancy. The lunar harvesting theory attributes Earth’s orbiting moon with a subtle yet important role in the life and vibrancy of our plants.
Moon farming is not a new idea, but is based upon ancient wisdom passed down through the generations. In mainstream culture, technology has replaced these old ways. Lunar gardening is part of a movement that has its roots in organic farming, permaculture (renewable and sustainable resources), and biodynamic farming (traditional, spiritual, no pesticides and non-chemical fertilizers). The benefits of
farming marijuana with methods employed through knowledge of the moon cycles include healthier plants, tastier buds and increased yields. Farming with the moon works just as well if you have an indoor garden or a greenhouse as it does outdoors. Being aware of what phase the moon is in and the astrological phase it is moving through will assist you in choosing when to plant seeds, take cuttings, when and how much to water and fertilize, and the right time to harvest.
How does this all work scientifically? The predictable orbit of the moon influences the ebb-and-flow of colossal bodies of water around the earth, including the oceanic tides. Plants are composed of mostly water, and thus are affected by the waxing and waning of the moon (as are people, and women in particular with their own monthly cycle). In addition, the soil in which the plant resides will either retain water better or dry out more quickly, depending on the gravitational pull of the moon. Seeds also respond by sprouting sooner and creating more robust plants when the moon is waxing. The effects of the moon’s position in the zodiac and its influence on life here on earth can be explained by differences in electromagnetic currents given off by each planet.
The first thing one should know when farming ganja is which phase the moon is in. It takes 29.5 days for the following eight phases to complete the four stages of the lunar cycle. The moon phases appear the same to observers everywhere on Earth.
1) New Moon
When the moon is roughly in the same direction as the sun, its illuminated half is facing away from the Earth, and therefore the part that faces us is all dark and not visible: we have the New Moon. This means that the sun, Earth and moon are almost in a straight line, with the moon in between the sun and the Earth.
2) Waxing Crescent Moon
As the moon moves around the earth, we see more of the illuminated half, and say the moon is “waxing” (increasing or growing larger). At first we get a sliver of it, which grows as days go by. This phase is called the Crescent Moon.
3) First Quarter Moon
A week after the new moon, when the moon has completed about a quarter of its turn around the Earth, we can see half of the illuminated part; that is, a quarter of the moon. This is the first quarter phase.
4) Waxing Gibbous Moon
During the next week, we keep seeing more and more of the illuminated part of the Moon, and it is now called waxing Gibbous (humped).
5) Full Moon
Two weeks after the new moon, the moon is halfway through its revolution. Now the illuminated half coincides with the one facing Earth, so that we can see a full disc, a full moon. At this time, the moon rises when the sun sets, and sets when the sun rises. If the moon happens to align exactly with the Earth and sun, then we get a lunar eclipse.
6) Waning Gibbous Moon
From now on, until it becomes new again, the illuminated part of the moon we see decreases and we say it’s waning (decreasing or shrinking). The first week after the full moon it wanes Gibbous.
7) Last Quarter Moon
Three weeks after the new moon we again can see half of the illuminated part.
8) Waning Crescent Moon
Finally, during the fourth week, the moon is reduced to a thin sliver. The phase repeats with the New Moon following the waning Crescent Moon.
The lunar cycle sees the moon move through four quarters, which includes the previous phases one through eight.
1) First Quarter
(New Moon to First Quarter Moon)
The first quarter begins with no visible moon moving into new moon, marked by a small crescent. Moisture is at its peak, so this is generally a fertile time, good to take cuttings and to plant. Growth of the roots and the leaves are in balance.
2) Second Quarter
(First Quarter to Full)
The second quarter begins approximately seven days after the new moon, and ends with the full moon. From the new moon to the full moon is a time of waxing, characterized by increased, sometimes
rapid, growth and fertility.
3) Third Quarter
(Full to Last Quarter)
The third quarter of the lunar cycle begins with the full moon, a time of completion. Celebrate the fruits of your labor by harvesting under the sultry glow of a full moon. While the full moon brings a peak in moisture levels similar to the new moon, it is generally not recommended to plant on the full moon, as the subsequent waning in light and gravitational pull diminishes growth in the leaves.
4) Fourth Quarter
(Last Quarter to New)
During the fourth quarter of the moon’s cycle, energy is waning. The growth energy is pulled down into the roots. Planting is not recommended, but general maintenance is. This is an excellent time to give your girls a little extra water, fertilize organically, thin plants and employ natural pest management if needed. The waning time of the third and fourth quarters is also a time of rest and reflection.
Applying the lunation cycle also takes into account the planets and the 12 zodiac signs. The moon spends approximately two-and-one-third days in each sign, going through all 12 signs every 28 days. Each sign holds qualities of one of each of our four earthly elements: earth, air, fire and water. Each element is also given masculine or feminine characteristics: dry, hot, barren attributes are considered masculine while moist, cool, fertile attributes are feminine. The following is a brief description of each zodiac with its corresponding qualities and growing advice.
Aries is a fire element, a masculine attribute. When the moon is in Aries it is a good time to check the plants for bugs, mold or yellowing leaves. This is not a recommended time for planting or starting seeds. Even more barren and dry is the fire-sign Leo. Harvesting is a good thing to do when the moon passes through Aries. Sagittarius, the third fire sign in the zodiac is also not a recommended time for planting, but it is fine to cultivate and harvest your marijuana.
Taurus has feminine qualities as an earth element. With the lunar movement in this sign, plants are fertile. Leafy plants respond especially well to planting. While Virgo has moist and feminine earth qualities, it is a relatively barren time better left to removing pests than planting seeds. Capricorn, the final earth sign, is more productive but not so much as Taurus.
Gemini is dry and barren due to its airy and masculine qualities. Transplanting or planting is not recommended, but general maintenance is fine. Though primarily dry and barren, Libra has enough moisture to encourage fertility and strong root growth, and is a good time for transplanting. Aquarius, while not fertile, may be a good time to harvest the crop.
The water signs: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are all feminine signs. These three are happy times for successful ganja growing. Some believe that when the moon is in Cancer, it is the best time to take cuttings, plant seeds and transplant. Scorpio is also a productive and abundant time. For indoor gardeners, taking cuttings in the sun sign of Scorpio during a Scorpio moon will produce stable growth and potent medicine. Pisces is a watery and fertile time as well, so take advantage of starting seeds when the moon passes through this sign.
But does it work?
Knowledge of the influences of the moon and astrological positioning of the stars is common among ganja farmers in Northern California. One such gardener, who has been working with a professional astrologist, claims he takes his best cuttings when the sun, the moon and the rising sign are all in Scorpio. Even if it is three o’clock in the morning, he’ll wait for the precise moment to take cuttings. He attributes this method for the increased vigor in his young plants once they root.
Roots and Harmony Farms, a medical marijuana establishment for some twenty years, has been applying these ancient farming ideas to everyday practices since 2003 and developed quality nutrient products that dovetail with the natural lunar rhythms. Blue, the master grower at Roots and Harmony Farms (R&H), keeps a daily log in his moon calendar and says it is easy to apply astrological gardening techniques to his outdoor and greenhouse gardens. However, it has been more of a challenge to work by the phases of the moon and its placement in the zodiac indoors due to the needs of various strains and the more frequent harvests. But Blue still encourages indoor farmers to give it a try. “If you miss optimal times or most preferred times to do an action, then continue in the next best way. Not all books or references agree, including ones on lunar gardening. What is important is keeping that intuitive con-nection between the plants and the moon.”
Blue started germinating seeds in Spring 2006 when the moon was transitioning into Libra – a time of strong root growth – and stayed on schedule with the zodiac by thinning, releasing, transplanting, applying Neem oil, fertilizing, etc. at appropriate times. He scheduled the harvest time for just after the full moon in Gemini, but due to an unseasonable rainstorm it was done before the full moon in the sign of Aquarius. Despite the early harvest, the yields proved to be one-third larger than previous calculations because it was done during a very good harvest time.
All situations are unique, of course – the grower, soil, location, weather, and unforeseen events produce an outcome that may or may not be predictable. Through understanding moon farming and applying the basic principles of cycles and rhythms, your marijuana garden should be brilliant in color and life force. Purchase a calendar or almanac that includes the moon cycle and signs of the zodiac, and keep a journal for times, methods employed, consequent results and observations.
Further research with the aid of books and websites is highly recommended. I believe that with knowledge of the moon, sun and earth and their relative positions in the sky, you can improve your harvest and develop a stronger spiritual kinship with the incredible cannabis plant and the natural world around you.
• “Planetary Planting: A Guide to Organic Gardening by the Signs of the Zodiac” by Riotte Louise, Simon and Schuster, 1975
• “How To Grow More Vegetables: A Primer on the Life-Giving Biodynamic/French Intensive Method of Organic Horticulture” by John Jeavons, Ten Speed Press, 1982
• “Gardening By the Moon” by Caren Catterall, www.gardeningbythemoon.com
• “National Geographic: Age Old Moon Gardening Growing In Popularity” by John Roach, July 2003
• “Lunar Organics”, www.lunarorganics.com
• “Growing by the Stars”, www.plantsandplanets.com
• “Lunar Gardening”, www.planetfusion.co.uk/pignut/Lunar_gardening.html
• “Gardening and Farming by the Moon”, www.home.earthlink.net/planthow7/lunargardening.htm
• Electromagnetic Fields in Space”, http://what.gi.alaska.edu/ao/msp/chapters/chapter3.pdf
• “Astrology, the Guidepost of Your Life”, www.under-one-roof.net/spiritual/astrology.html