Planting by the moon is nothing new. Ancient tradition claims that planting times should correspond to certain phases of the Moon. This belief has been passed for generations. There are many firm believers who will not plant anything unless a favorable moon or sign is indicated.
Just as the moon's gravitational pull influences the ocean's tide, it is theorized that it also influences the movement of fluids contained in plants. Moon gardening is based on this belief.
Planting by the signs is an astrological system of agriculture and gardening. This rural lore was once widespread. Each day of the month is said to be ruled by one of the twelve signs of the zodiac. Each sign appears at least once a month for a period of two or three days. To each of the twelve signs there corresponds a part of the human body. The signs always appear in sequence, beginning with Aries (the Head) and continuing through Pisces (the Feet). Then the cycle begins again. The signs are described as fruitful or barren, moist, watery, dry, earthy, fiery, hot, or airy.
Planting is always done in one of the fruitful signs. There are fourteen fruitful days in a month. The best signs for planting are the water or earth signs of Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, or Taurus, Planting should not be done in one of the barren signs; they are only good for trimming, killing, and destroying. No planting should be done on Sunday, as this is a barren, hot day (the Sun's day). Never transplant in the Heart or the Head; it is said that this will cause the plants to die.
The signs are as follows:
- Aries - is good for plowing, tilling, or cultivating. Though a barren sign, it can be used for planting onions or garlic.
- Taurus - associated with the neck, this is a earthy sign and is especially favorable for root crops.
- Gemini - a barren sign, good for cultivating and weeding, the cutting of grass and pinching buds.
- Cancer - is a watery sign. It is said to be the most fruitful sign. It is excellent for all planting and transplanting. Seeds sown under
Cancer will germinate quickly, growth well and yields will be abundant.
- Leo - tied to the Heart. This sign does not favor planting or transplanting. It is good for weeding.
- Virgo - a barren sign, good for cultivating and weeding.
- Libra - is a strong, fruitful sign. Flowers should be planted in Libra. This sign is also thought to be favorable for planting crops
that bear above ground.
- Scorpio - ranks next to Cancer in fruitfulness. Favorable for planting crops that bear above the ground, root crops, and fruit trees.
- Sagittarius - a barren, fiery sign, although said to be good for planting onions.
- Capricorn - a moist, productive sign. Tied to the knees it is favorable for planting root crops.
- Aquarius - an airy, barren sign, useful for cultivating and weeding.
- Pisces - a watery, fruitful sign, good for planting all crops, especially fruits and bulbs.
The phase of the moon is also consulted in conjunction with the dominant sign. All things which yield above ground should be planted during the waxing moon, and all things which yield below ground (root crops) in the waning moon. Planting should not be done on the first day of the new moon, or on a day when the moon changes quarters.
Plant seeds or transplants of leafy plants, and plants that carry their seeds on the outside of the fruit (i.e. strawberries and corn) when the Moon is between the new and first quarter. When the Moon is between the first quarter and full, sow or transplant plants that produce seeds inside their fruit. Plant bulbs and root crops between Full Moon and last quarter. Do not plant anything
between last quarter and New Moon.
For example, it is said to be best to turn sod, kill trees, and destroy weeds in the fourth quarter of the moon in the barren signs of Gemini, Leo, or Virgo. The week before the New Moon is a good time to pull weeds.
Harvesting most crops is best done in the old of the moon; this will cause them to keep better and longer. Pick fruits picked during a waning moon will cause any bruises to dry up rather than rot. Fruit, grain, and vegetables should not be gathered in the watery signs or the new of the moon as they will decay and sprout. It is best to gather root crops in the last quarter of the moon when the signs are in the Knees or the Feet.
While none of this has been conclusively proven or disproved by modern science; many folks claim success using these methods. Should you wish to try planting by moon and astrological signs, most farmer's almanacs include planting calendars which display lunar phases as well as the signs on the days in which they appear in a given month. Good luck and good gardening.