Moon gazing: Introducing Claire’s Gardening with the Moon

This blog is published at the 2023 Winter Solstice and in the Northern Hemisphere this is when Winter starts, when we have the shortest days and the longest night. Not long after that, the Moon reaches fullness just after midnight on the 26th December - at 00:33 on 27th December. The December Full Moon is named the Full Cold Moon - though sometimes also the Singing Moon or Wolf Moon.

Gardening with the Moon in January 2024

Hi, my name’s Claire and I’m delighted to have been asked by the Earth Pathways team to write a monthly blog introducing you to ‘Gardening with the Moon’.

And my suggestion for gardening tasks for January? Wait a while yet for the air and soil to warm up. Tidy your potting shed and greenhouse, order your seeds and keep dreaming of all that you want to grow in your garden in 2024!

Let me introduce you to the rhythms of the Moon that form the basis of my blogs this year.

We all accept that the Moon has a huge influence on large bodies of water by moving the ocean tides twice a day, but it's perhaps less understood that she also influences the fluid element in all living organisms on our planet. The water in the soil, the sap in plants, the fluid in all animals from cellular life to humans is all affected by the movements of the Moon.

The Moon has lots of different rhythms but, in my experience as a biodynamic herb grower, there are four main ones we can work with.

The first of these is the Full Moon/New Moon rhythm. The week before a full Moon, when the watery forces are stronger, is usually the best time to sow your seeds for a fast and good germination.

Full Moon Third Quarter New Moon First Quarter Full Moon
27 Dec 0:33 am 4 Jan 3:30 am 11 Jan 11:57 am 18 Jan 3:52 pm 25 Jan 5:54 pm


Skies of Wonder by Tamsin Abbott

The next rhythm we consider is Apogee/Perigee. The Moon moves in an oval shape around the Earth, so once a month she’s at her closest to us and two weeks later she’s at her furthest away. There are some activities in the garden that really benefit from a closer Moon and some that benefit from her being further away (especially when there’s a risk of fungal growth due to too much water around).

Another rhythm we can work with is the Ascending/Descending Moon. For two weeks every month the Moon appears a bit higher in the sky every night, ascending until she’s reached her zenith; she spends the next two weeks descending, getting lower and lower in the sky. This is a great rhythm to work with if you want to optimise your plant’s connection with the soil (in descending Moon) or when you want to harvest your apple crop (in ascending Moon).

And finally, from our perspective here on Earth (a geo-centric view) the Sun passes in front of the twelve zodiac constellations through the year. However, the Moon is quicker, she passes in front of all twelve zodiac constellations every month as she orbits our Earth. The Moon acts like a kind of magnifying lens, capturing the guiding influences of the stars and focusing them down to the plants on Earth. Each constellation has an association with one of the four classical elements and each of these elements corresponds to an aspect of plant growth:

Virgo, Capricorn, Taurus Earth Roots
Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio Water Leaves
Aquarius, Gemini, Libra Air Flowers
Sagittarius, Aries, Leo Fire/Warmth Fruit/seeds


Gardening with the Moon isn’t a magic wand - you still need to consider the all-important Earthly influences like air temperatures and soil conditions, but it’s a wonderful way to raise your consciousness up to the heavens and become aware of the beautiful cosmic context that we all live and grow in.

If you have questions for me that relate to my blog - Moon and growing related - please send them to me using the Earth Pathways contact page. I would also like to direct curious readers to the UK Biodynamic Association website.

Thank you for joining me on this growing journey.

Claire Hattersley

Capricorn by Sarah E Wilson

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