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Vegetable Gardening 101: 2. Planting Dates


Planting Dates

No doubt your region has some old lore about planting dates. You’ll also find advice in the not-so-well-researched pagan books. I would listen to your 90 year old neighbor rather than Fairy GreenGoddess or Aspen MoonGlow who lives in a different climate than you (gee, I’ve always had the hardest time thinking of magical names and now I can just spout them off the top of my head!).

Many county extension agents (in the US) have planting calendars to get you started on the right track. This is quite important as different regions have vastly different growing seasons. For instance, here in Texas, you’d better get your lima beans in the ground between March 15th and May 15th. In Wisconsin, they don’t even start planting them until May 25th! If you need help finding your extension agent or another resource for a planting calendar for your area, feel free to contact me (by PM) and I will do what I can to help!

Once you have the general guidelines for planting dates, you can work with other factors. Many people plant by moon phases or astrological signs – even good ol’ country boys who don’t know what a pentacle is. I struggle with this. I have tried planting with moon phases but it doesn’t work for me. Not because I think it doesn’t work in general – I just can’t do it! It probably works better for the full time farmer. If it’s a busy weekday when I work and need to cook dinner, I have a full schedule from sun up to sun down. Planting happens on the weekends around here whether it’s a full, gibbous, new moon or if the whole thing has flown out of orbit. But I do know the principles and have attempted to follow them!

Planting by the Moon

First some basics and general science. I’ll explain with tides as they are easy for most people to visualize as we all know they exist! The tides are created by the position of the earth, moon and sun (as well as being affected by geometry of the shoreline and some things going on in the deep ocean). When the Sun – Moon – Earth all line up together (either in that order or Sun – Earth – Moon), the tide is the largest (the ‘spring’ tide). This occurs twice a month, on the new and full moon. When the Moon and Sun are at 90 degrees from each other, the tides are lowest (the ‘neap’ tide). This is true of any source of water on the planet, including the water in your soil. So when the tide in your area (or the hypothetical tide for us landlocked folks) is highest, the water table in your soil is highest too.

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New Moon – Waxing – First Quarter:

The New Moon is drawing moisture up in the soil, meaning it is a good time to plant. Over the next 4 weeks, prime seedling growth time, the light of the moon will be increasing. It is said then that the New Moon is a good time to plant annual crops that produce edible portions above ground. I’ve read that it makes a difference where the seeds are – this is the time to plant crops that have seeds on the outside of the fruit (lettuce spinach, celery, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, grains) *personal note - I challenge the idea that any of these vegetables produce seeds outside their fruits…in fact, botanically speaking, this is impossible – I’m not even sure what is being suggested here of these vegetables though!*

First Quarter – Waxing – Full Moon:

The moisture is low now but the moonlight is strong, encouraging good leaf growth. This is the time to plant annual crops that produce edible portions above ground, but with seeds inside the fruit.

Full Moon – Waning – Third Quarter:

The gravity of the Earth-Sun-Moon system is again enhanced by their alignment and the moisture level is highest in the soil, but now the moonlight will be decreasing as your seeds begin to germinate. This is a favorable time to plant root crops as well as perennials, biennials and bulbs as the plant will focus on root production for this longer term plants.

Third Quarter – Waning – New Moon:

Not only is the moisture content at its lowest, but the light is also fading. This is a resting period and not a good planting time. However, it is ideal for other garden tasks including cultivating, harvesting, transplanting and pruning. *personal note: only harvest during this week long period? Hmmm…*

************

Farmers’ Almanac

Just a note about the Farmers’ Almanac. It includes moon phase planting ideas as well. It is “determined by our age-old formula” and I believe they combine moon phases with astrological signs. Ah…good segue!

****************

Planting by the Signs

Ahem. I can’t start this section with a science background. But I can tell you at least what is meant by ‘planting by the signs’. The astrological bodies that make up the 12 signs of the zodiac are evenly divided in the sky. Meaning if you see all the heavens, 360 degrees around, you could see each of the signs in order (along the line we call the ecliptic) and the sky would be divided into 12 equal parts according to their boundaries (*side note – this is actually not true – Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer, crosses the ecliptic but is not included in the 12 sign zodiac, thus its boundaries are ignored*). The moon moves through the heavens quickly (a full rotation in a month), spending only just a little over 2 days in each of the 12 signs. Thus we can complicate things by planting by the sign the moon is in as well! Since I can’t even seem to get planting by the phase right, I haven’t even attempted this. The theory is simple – it’s the application that eludes me. Because I have no ability to discern good from bad advice in this area, I will simply copy and paste one that I like.

Appalachian Traveler ([sign in to see URL])


Aries: Good for cultivating the ground, planting beets and onions, and hunting. Bad for planting and transplanting other crops.

Taurus: Good for all root crops and above ground crops, hunting and fishing.

Gemini: Good for planting all crops, also for preserving jellies and pickles.

Cancer: Best for planting above ground and root crops. Good for cooking and fishing.

Leo: Good for sports, romancing, job hunting, and hunting. Bad for planting or transplanting.

Virgo: Good for trading. Bad for planting.

Libra: Good for planting above ground crops and flowering plants.

Scorpio: Best for flowers and above ground crops. Good for all other crops, fishing and hunting.

Sagittarius: Good for hunting jobs, trading, baking and preserving. Bad for transplanting.

Capricorn: Best for root crops. Good for flowers and above ground crops.

Aquarius: Good for above ground crops, social events.

Pisces: Good for planting and transplanting above ground crops, trees and shrubbery. Good for fishing and weaning babies and animals.


2/6/2012, 4:36 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
Saijen SilverWolf1 Profile
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Re: Vegetable Gardening 101: 2. Planting Dates


Wonderful information! There is, however,a fun twist to 'planting by the sings' and it has more to do with where the moon is in the body.

It still follows the zodiac, but like this...

Aries is: The Head

Taurus is: The Neck

Gemini is: The Arms

Cancer is: The Breast

Leo is: The Heart

Virgo is: The Bowels (kind of speaks for itselt. Not a good time to plant, as stated in Texas' information)

Libra is: The Reins

Scorpio is: The Secrets (the Loins)

Sagittarius is: The Thighs

Capricorn is: The Knees

Aquarius is: The Legs

Pisces is: The Feet

So, if you ever hear someone, especially an elderly person, talk about waiting until the moon is in the knees to plant potatoes or carrots (root crops), this will help you understand what they're talking about. Nothing different from what Texas posted, just some added fun stuff to what is already there... emoticon


Last edited by Saijen SilverWolf1, 3/11/2012, 9:27 pm


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2/7/2012, 9:14 pm Link to this post Send Email to Saijen SilverWolf1   Send PM to Saijen SilverWolf1 Yahoo
 
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Re: Vegetable Gardening 101: 2. Planting Dates


Let's take this a bit further...

The Earth Signs:
Taurus- transplant; sow seeds; plant root crops; prune to limit plant growth.

Virgo- cultivate/till soil; turn compost; pest and weed control; prune for plant shaping.

Capricorn- prune for good growth; plant seeds; plant bulbs, tubers, rhizomes (root plants).

Fire Signs:
Leo- prune to shape shrubs; cultivate/till soil; weed and pest control.

Aries- weed/pest control; cultivate/till soil; harvest crops.

Sagittarius- cultivate/till soil; plant onions; weed; prune to limit growth; harvest crops for best keeping.

Air Signs:
Gemini- cultivate/till soil; harvest herbs and root crops; weed.

Aquarius- cultivate/till soil; weed control; harvest crops for maximum keeping.

Libra- plant annual flowers; plant vines; flowers picked last longest; pruning retains shape longer.


If a sign is not listed above, that means that days those signs fall in are not good days for anything at all, and best not to do any flower or veggie gardening of any type.

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3/11/2012, 9:36 pm Link to this post Send Email to Saijen SilverWolf1   Send PM to Saijen SilverWolf1 Yahoo
 
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Re: Vegetable Gardening 101: 2. Planting Dates


So the water signs are not good for gardening?

I'm surprised.

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3/12/2012, 11:44 am Link to this post Send Email to Firlefanz   Send PM to Firlefanz Blog
 
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Re: Vegetable Gardening 101: 2. Planting Dates


Firle, apparently not, and that surprised me, as well.

DH has had me doing some research on the dates, because our calender with the planting days seemed to be off. I had him buy a Farmer's Almanac, and the days on it are one day off from the calendar we have. He seems to think it's because this is a leap [sign in to see URL] we've got that extra day from Feb.

He called his baby sister, to ask what she had, and she called back yesterday and I talked to her. She and the Almanac were the same, so we'll go by that.

The above post information was taken from a website I came across in my research.
According to some of my other [sign in to see URL] 'Good' days are any with
Aries; Taurus; Gemini; Libra; Scorpio; Sagittarius; Capricorn; and Pisces. "VERY good" days are with Cancer and very BAD days are with [sign in to see URL] Leo and Aquarius pretty much blank.

I think, perhaps, you'll find as many interpretations as you find sites. Probably the best information to use is something like the Farmer's Almanac. It's been in publication for decades, and is based on the history of what has, and has not worked previously.
Sometimes, there's a lot of truth in those old wives tales!!!!

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3/12/2012, 10:19 pm Link to this post Send Email to Saijen SilverWolf1   Send PM to Saijen SilverWolf1 Yahoo
 


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