If you’re reading this, you’re not high. This is just a really trippy topic. The concept of ‘Moon Gardening’ seems utterly ridiculous but there are centuries of methods behind this madness.
Gardeners have been cultivating crops following the moon cycles very successfully for potentially thousands of years. It is a practice that has largely been forgotten but is making a huge resurgence within small circles of cannabis growers. Including us at The Long Leaf Cannabis Co (Spain).
The thought process ensures that moon grown weed has increased vitality, superior yields and finer quality cannabis. It’s not just a labour of love – or hiding in the moonlight to grow your buds – but about flavours and cannabinoids too!
Chapter 1: Intro To The Moon & Growing Cannabis
Tell Me About the Moon?
The moon is every lunatic’s favourite glowing orb. It is so much more than a massive rock flying around our earth; it affects our earth in a plethora of interesting ways. Firstly, the Moon is a source of light that illuminates our midnight world, but also feeds plant life and accelerates growth.
Secondly, the moon has its own gravitational pull on everything that is close (exactly why we have sea tides); this draws the sap from the stem of our favourite plant into the leaves and the flowers. When the plants leave the Moon’s gravitational field, the rich nutritious sap is drawn back into the roots system.
How the moon Affects growth?
The idea behind moon growing sounds counter-productive. I don’t blame you if you’re reading this and think we’ve been tick-toked.
The whole point of moon grow weed is to increase productivity, increase plant health and an easy to follow schedule for farmers to follow during the growing seasons.
There are two periods in the moon cycle – the Descending Period – and Ascending Period. Both will be explained a little later. Moon gardeners know that during the ascending cycle the sap is drawn up into the leaves bringing all its energy with it. The energy is exactly where it needs to be while the leaves, stem and flowers are bathing in wonderful moonlight. On the descending cycle, the moon sinks lower and draws the sap back into the growing which gives the roots all the energy and nutrition back into the roots of the plant.
In theory, the sap (energy and nutrition) is exactly where it needs to be when the plant needs it most. If you consider conventional cultivation methods, the opposite is true.
The effect of Moon growing increased yield, a shorter growth time and a healthier plant. When that comes to cannabis, a happier plant always makes for better medicine.
How To Moon Grow Cannabis
The process of producing some Moon grown weed is all about timing. The natural lunar cycle is really important to follow and it takes a lot of dedication.
A good example is transplanting cannabis plants into the ground during a descending moon is going to help your plants get off to the right start. It helps to grow a strong root system and most of the energy they require, to flourish, will be found in the ground.
A very fascinating aspect of planting by moon cycle comes from syncing with the constellations; it can enhance the crop but also adds spirituality into the mix. Things get weird, unexplainable and clever.
Chapter 2: Moon Phases & Cycles (The lunar timetable)
MOON PHASES TO NOTE
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the best time to plant and harvest moon grown weed, it is valuable to detail the 2 phases of the moon and what they mean for your cultivation. The two halves of the full month’s cycle are broken down into: The Waxing Moon (Growing Moon) & The Waning Moon (Shrinking Moon).
THE WAXING MOON
The first concept to cover is what is called a ‘waxing moon’. The term ‘waxing’ simply refers to ‘growing’ and explains a period where the moon becomes increasingly illuminated over the first half of the lunar month (15 or so days). There are 4 stages of a waxing moon; New Moon, Crescent, First Quarter and Gibbous.
A New Moon is the beginning of the lunar cycle, when the moon is positioned directly between the sun and our earth. The side of the moon that is facing us is completely dark. As the days progress a thin sliver of light starts to appear as the moon starts to reflect light from the sun.
A recent is roughly 1/4 through the waxing cycle, and presents as a fully developed crescent. As the moon moves further out from between the earth’s shadow, an iconic crescent moon appears more and more full.
The First Quater
This is the first quarter – halfway through the waxing phase, and a full 1/4 through the full month’s moon cycle. this is when 50% of the moon is illuminated by the sun. The first quarter shines in a bright D.
The final stage of Waxing a waxing moon is named Gibbous – when 75% of the moon is now illuminated by the sun. The light shines on the moon in the shape of a lemon – leaving a crescent of darkness.
THE WANING MOON
The term waning simply refers to a ‘shrinking’ moon. It is the second half of the monthly lunar cycle, and like the Waxing moon, takes roughly 15 days to complete. It’s the phase of the moon becoming less, and less illuminated. There are 4 stages of a waning moon; Full Moon, Disseminating, Third Quater and Balsamic.
Awwwooooooo! The full moon is when the moon is at it’s brightest, and blasts photons down to the earth’s plant life. This stage plays a huge role in the growing of moon cannabis. When the moon is full, you can’t miss it.
A disseminating moon, much like its Waxing brother Gibbous, illuminates the surface of the moon in the shape of a lemon. It is the end of the full moon and the start of the cycle of waning illumination from the moon.
The moon returned to a state of half and half. The moon is illuminated in a huge backwards D in the sky. Oi. Not that kind of D
The Balsamic phase of the moon is the final stage of the moon’s waning cycle before we return to a ‘new moon’. This is a reverse crescent when only a slither of the moon is visible.
The second cycle to be aware of, completely independent of the Waxing and Waning phases, is the cycle of ascending moon and descending moon. We spoke about this briefly above but it is important to think about it before starting your cultivation cycle.
The moon moves its position over a period of just over 27 days (27 days, 7 hours and 43 minutes if you want to get all accurate and that).
In very basic terms, the moon spends half of the month in the ascending phase (draws the sap up to the leaves and flowers) where the moon is higher in the sky, and in the descending phase (sap goes back to the roots) when it appears lower in the sky. As long as you can keep track of the moon, you will be able to understand where the nutrients are in the plant and when is the best time to prune, leave or harvest. It is the waves of your cultivation timetable.
Constellations and Star Patterns
Not only is the process of moon growing cannabis about the patterns in the sky, but there is an element of spirituality added into the equation.
If you’re into your star signs (or Zodiac signs) you’re going to love this.
There are 12 major star constellations in the sky, each have their own star sign which are categorised into 4 groups to represent an element in nature. Moon growers believe that as the moon covers each constellation, it makes each element stronger and dictates which activities they should be completing.
They are as follows:
Fire: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius (time to plant seeds).
Air: Gemini, Lebra and Aquarius (time to give the flowers of the plant attention).
Water: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces (the time when leaves and stems grow).
Earth: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. (time to focus on the soil and roots of the plants).
If you’re not spiritual, then you may like a scientific explanation. The elements are code for the seasons followed by more conventional farming theories. We will go into more detail in the next chapter about how to actually achieve a successful moon grow.
Chapter 3: How To Moon Grow Cannabis
Ok, so by now you should have a rough idea of how the lunar timetable affects the stages of growth, cultivation and harvest. So we will walk through all of the steps you need to take and when the best time to do them is.
Step 1: Starting your Fire and Germinating your Seeds
The best way to germinate your seeds is by putting them into a damp cloth or paper towel indoors. You should be doing this in February – when the full moon finds itself over the fire constellation of Leo.
This is right in the middle of the Fire element’s cycle.
Step 2: Prepare your Land
The quality and health of any crop comes from how healthy your soil is. After-all, it is the soil that feeds your plants. Your soil should be rich with life (like worms, and insects, pro-plant microbes and organic matter for them to break down into plant food. As the old saying goes: ‘Don’t feed your plants – feed your soil’.
Step 3: Moving your Crop (Transplanting)
As we trundle into the warmer weather at the tail end of spring, your seedlings will need more room to grow. Transplanting is the process of moving your small seedlings into a bigger container (or plot) that allows space for your crops roots to expand, gather nutrients and cement itself into the earth.
This process should be done when the waxing moon sits over the water signs of Scorpio. Pisces and Cancer. While you’re transplanting your crop, you should also make sure to keep an eye on the weather. If your transplanting moon cycle lands in march, you should still be wary of a surprise frost which may harm the plants. It may be better to wait until early April to be sure the weather is safe.
Training your Crop
Imagine a rocky training camp for your crops. No, you don’t need to lead them around the camp but there are a few things you can do to increase the yield of the plant.
There are many, many ways to train your crop (like bending, pruning, tying etc…) These are Low-Stress raining, ScrOG and main-lining methods. You can learn everything you need to know about training your plant here.
The best time to start training your crop is while the waxing moon sits over the water signs. This will be at least once a month and will be between March and June.
Pruning Your Beauties
When the waxing moon sits over the water signs in the later months of the summer (July to September) it is all about maintenance. The aim is to keep your plants tidy, free of infestations and molds. It also increases the plant’s vitality, and can hugely increase the yield you expect from your crop (when the flower heads split into two).
Back To Your Soil….
Between the months of growth, pruning and training, you should always make sure the soil is topped up with nutrients and healthy levels of bioactivity. You can do this by adding some more fertiliser, compost and other fertilisation techniques.
This should be done as the waning moon is descending over the water constellations. That is between March and November usually.
Ready for Harvest
To know when the best time to harvest takes some practice, and experience. Harvesting under a moon cycle makes this process a little easier to judge as you should wait for a full moon while the moon hovers over the air constellations. Also preferable to harvest during an ascending moon while the sap is in the leaves and flowers.
The idea is that the moon in this position draws up the nutrients to the buds.
During the air constellations, moon growers suggest that there is less moisture in the air which means when the crop is harvested, there is much less chance of there being molds or infestations during the drying and curation process.
Harvest can take place (under the correct moon conditions) between June and Novemeber – so long as the moon is over a air constellation or it is a full moon.
Chapter 4: Frequesntly asked Questions
WHY HARVEST UNDER A FULL MOON & When is the best phase to harvest moon grown weed?
It seems there are two ways of looking at this but generally the answer is that it is best to harvest under a full moon.
The reason for harvesting under a full moon is down to the fact that the sap is drawn up into the buds and leaves which gives them more flavour, and healthier cannabinoid content. Some suggest this is how you achieve a higher terpene content and a riper crop.
Others say this process makes the curation process more difficult as it is when the crop is fullest with water. This can cause your crop to mold – which you want to avoid at all costs.