History Behind the Harvest Moon

Most of us might look at the moon and not think much of it, perhaps noticing a full moon or the rare blood moon. However, for Native Americans and farmers throughout history, the Harvest Moon represented something special: a time when their summer crops were ready for harvesting.

The Harvest Moon is the full moon nearest to the start of the autumn equinox. It usually coincides with the September full moon, but occasionally can fall closer to the October full moon. In 2018, the Harvest Moon will rise at approximately 10:52 PM on Monday, September 24.

The Harvest Moon received its name from the Native Americans who used the moon to determine when it was time to harvest their corn. Since the moon-rise of the Harvest Moon follows shortly after sunset, there is period of time with an abundance of moonlight shining bright at the start of the evening. This extra light acts as an extension of daylight, allowing farmers and their crews to continue harvesting their summer crops well into the night.

Common Moon Phase Gardening Myths

The Harvest Moon isn’t the only unique moon phase gardening technique recognized. The age-old practice of performing farming duties based off the moon and its positioning, stems from the simple belief that the moon governs moisture. History points back to first-century Romans stating that the moon “replenishes the earth when she approaches it; she fills all bodies, when she recedes, she empties them.”  

Throughout history, the moon phases have been used as markers or helpful reminders for different stages of the planting and harvesting process. Moon-rise occurring in the evening brings fair weather, and the New Moon in the first quarter is a time when the ground is fertile and wet, and good for planting above-ground crops, putting down sod, grafting trees, and transplanting. The full moon through the last quarter is the best time for killing weeds, thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops.

With many of our nation’s farmers beginning to harvest this month to reap the benefits of the summer crops, AgAmerica Lending understands the work put in by our farmers, growers, and agricultural workers throughout the country. If you have a question or are looking for ways to leverage the value in your ag land, call us today. Our team of professionals want to make sure you have everything you need to keep your agribusiness successful and are willing to put in the work to get the job done, just like you.