Monday, March 13, 2017

Planting By The Moon & Signs

There are still plenty of people who hold to the old ways and plant by the moon and signs in Appalachia. This is nothing new and has been passed on for generations. 


A shot we got of the Harvest Moon - September, 2016.

Some believe that if the moon can effect the ocean's tide, it can also effect seeds and plants. This method states that you should plant above ground crops when the moon is waxing (getting bigger). Above ground crops consist of things like green beans/peas, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, greens, etc. Below ground crops (carrots, potatoes, radishes, etc.) should be planted when the moon is waning (getting smaller). 

Learning about the signs is a little more complicated. Each month, the moon passes through each sign of the zodiac. These signs can be divided into four elements:
  • Water - Cancer, Pisces, Scorpio
  • Earth - Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
  • Fire - Leo, Ares, Sagittarius
  • Air - Gemini, Aquarius, Libra

The fertile elements are water and earth while the barren elements are fire and air. For the most part, you want to plant during the fertile signs and prune and harvest during the barren signs. You'll also want to combine the phase of the moon with a fertile sign. Example: You should plant your tomatoes during one of the fertile signs (water or earth) while the moon is waning (getting smaller). 

You should always avoid planting while the moon is full, new, or in a quarter phase. It's also important to check to see when the last frost date for your area is. 

The first Foxfire book is a wonderful source for more about planting by the signs. You can order a copy for yourself HERE. They are a great resource for learning more about the old ways and homesteading. Here's a description of the first book that I found at the Foxfire webpage:

"This volume, the original anthology, celebrates the home life and creative history of Appalachia, featuring sections on hog dressing, log cabin building, soap making, basket weaving, planting by the signs, preserving foods, making butter, snake lore, hunting tales, faith healing, and moonshining."

Another great place that has all of this figured out for you is The Old Farmer's Almanac. You can find the moon's phases and when the signs are in the perfect stage for planting. They also have great gardening tips! You can also check out a recent post at The Blind Pig & The Acorn where a fellow blogging friend of mine shares her recommendations for planting by the signs. It's also a great source if you're if you're interested in learning more about Appalachia. She's been doing this blog stuff much longer than I have! (Simply click on the red words & it'll take you there.) 

Do you follow the signs when planting?