Appalachia Appalachian Food Gardening Planting By The Moon Signs

Pickling By The Signs

Coming in at number 12 in the most popular Blind Pig & the Acorn posts is Canning By The Zodiac Signs. I published the post on July 16 of 2009 (Pap’s birthday!)

I frequently get questions from folks about the correct time for making kraut or other types of fermented pickles. Even Granny has called me 3 different times this summer to see if I’d ask The Deer Hunter if the signs were right for what she’s wanting to make. After the second call, I said “You have the same calender we do and no it’s not in the right signs.” She said “I know I just wanted to ask you anyway.”

Pickles in the Jar


We’ve already talked about how the Zodiac Signs dictate the time to plant your garden-but what about telling you when to can all that garden goodness?

Granny only worries about the signs being right-if she’s making Kraut or fermented pickles (pickled beans and corn). The same for The Deer Hunter’s family.

The Deer Hunter and I go by the zodiac signs for pickling/fermenting too. Sounds like it’s all hunky dory and settled right? Actually-not so much. Choosing which sign is the right sign is where it gets confusing.

Our families agree-the Zodiac Sign should be in the head for the best results when pickling or fermenting-and you can still have a fairly good chance for success as long as the sign is above the heart-but never ever below the heart or all your hard work will be for naught cause the produce will rot-or never pickle. But other folks see it totally different.

Just this week I’ve had 2 people tell me their preferred sign for pickling/fermenting is the feet-and if you do pickle when the signs are higher in the body-your produce will rot or be slimy. So who is right? I tried researching online to see what the general consensus is-but there isn’t much information available.

After seeing the lack of information available on the Internet-I know when folks search for details on pickling/fermenting by the Zodiac Signs in the future-they will find this post. Please help me-answer the questions they’ll be looking for:

  • Do you follow the Zodiac Signs when canning everything-or like us just when you’re pickling/fermenting?
  • What sign do you think is the best for pickling/fermenting? For canning?
  • If you don’t know-does anyone in your family have information about preserving by the signs?


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  • Reply
    September 6, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Pamela-good to hear from you! I did a quick google and couldn’t find a calendar online either! In my area, the funeral homes and banks give out free almanac calendars each year and that’s what I use. I did find a link to where you could buy one online here: Hope this helps! And if you need to know the signs right now for something you can email me at [email protected] and Ill look on my calendar for you : )

  • Reply
    Pamela Roop
    September 5, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    I’ve been looking for a site that tells me the signs on certain dates. I can’t seem to locate one. Would be happy if you could tell me where to look. Don’t have a calendar with signs listed. Tried almanac and couldn’t find it.
    When my grandfather pickled kraut, he said knees, thighs, head chest. Never in the feet nor the bowels and never when a woman was having her “monthly” said the kraut would turn dark and rot.

    • Reply
      Nettie Mullins
      July 15, 2019 at 5:21 pm

      My Mother and I were just pickling corn today and I used the following. My Grandmother always said that if the signs are above the waist you’re all good.

    • Reply
      Grace Bowen
      January 12, 2022 at 3:53 pm

      My WV Grandmother always taught to not pickle/ferment in any sign that smells, ie: Stomach, Intestines, Armpits, and Feet.

  • Reply
    Sondra Guire
    July 6, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I used to scoff at the notion of starting kraut in the correct sign, that is until I lost 2-20gal crocks full of cabbage. 🙁 Now I only make it when the signs are right. The head is best but can be made through the head and chest. Never below the heart…NEVER in the bowels or lower.
    Everything else is done as needed and weather/time permitting.

  • Reply
    Jaime Booher
    April 6, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    Hello there 🙂 I too am a child of the Appalachian mountains (WV) My grandmother did all of her work by the signs as do my mother and myself. I would like to help answer your questions. Your family has a nice rule of thumb as going with not pickling below the chest. However, pickling during Cancer, the breast, will cause a milky color to be seen in your brine. Aries, Taurus, and Gemini are all good. Leo is okay. Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio are ALWAYS avoided! Then you can start in again when the sign is in Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius. Do not pickle during Pisces! It will cause your goods to smell like dirty feet 😛 I do all my work by the signs 99.9% of the time. I also follow the new and dark moon rules. After writing this out I noticed that all your good pickling signs seem to be barren ones, and all the fruitful (water) signs are a no no. My husband loves to watch and see what happens when I warn someone not to plant during the barren signs. I sewed my lettuce, kale, and onions this March during the Pisces in the new moon and I have great looking babies all coming up now <3 I'd be happy to help you answer your 'signs questions'. You have my email and can find me that way on FB (just mention who you are). Take care and have a great time!

    • Reply
      Stanley young
      June 19, 2020 at 9:04 pm

      Do you kraut in the old or new moon

    • Reply
      Stanley young
      June 19, 2020 at 9:12 pm

      My mom canned her kraut it would be crisp and white for 2 years after she made she only canned by the old or new moon but I don’t remember which one and she died in 2005 can you help me

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 13, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    I just told a big black lie. I love sweet pickles which uses vinegar which is fermented. And I’m sitting here shaking a jar of soured milk, hoping to make some real butter and buttermilk. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I don’t remember anyone going by the signs to churn buttermilk. The little symbol on my calendar says the signs are in the feet. Reckon I will get stinky buttermilk?

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 13, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I try to plant, harvest, and can
    by the signs above the heart. My
    aunt Toots use to make kraut in a
    churn, had this plate and pretty
    creek rock to hold everything down.
    She could make Kraut so sour it’d
    make a pig squeel! Loved all the

  • Reply
    eva nell wike, PhD
    August 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Tipper, We like to eat pickle anything but never tried to pickle anything. Dah! Eva Nell
    p.s. WANT TO SHARE A NOTE- later. ew

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 13, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Having never had a particular penchant for pickled or otherwise fermented preserves, I have never put much thought to when the process commenced or how it proceeded. I know precious little of the culinary expertise of my paternal pedigree. However my mother and her mother professed to be purists in the study of all things Luna.
    Gramma Breedlove didn’t do anything without consulting the Almanac unless she already knew. I think she had the dad blamed thing memorized. “Ain’t no use of goin fishin today. The signs ain’t right!” She was almost always right. Of course, when the signs were right and I still didn’t catch any, it had to have been the bait.
    Gramma planted, harvested, canned, pickled, jellied, krauted, killed and cured by the signs, along with a myriad of other everyday occurrences. Mommy tried to follow her but never reached pinnacle of purity that Gramma did.
    Personally I think the reason people who live by the signs achieve a greater degree of success is that every day their attention is forced to what needs to be done now and what needs to wait. To those who believe that to live by the signs is heresy may I ask, Who hung the stars? Who hung the moon?

  • Reply
    b. Ruth Mamma
    August 13, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    There were certain times that my Grandmother would not make kraut. I assume it was by the signs, she let hers work in the jars.
    I know my Mother would not can tomatoes at a certain time of the month, due to the horror stories told her by her Mother.
    Neither of them would put up any produce, tomatoes, beans, pickles or kraut in a number #13 jar. Known in many areas of the mountains as bad luck. Neither would moonshiners use a #13 jar, a lot of times they were broke on a rock and left in the mountains.
    I used to can a lot and canned when the time was right, vegetables were ready and I had time, never by the signs.
    In other words, before the vegetables spoiled or when I had enough cucumbers to make a run of pickles. I tried kraut once, not good, I worked mine in a crock back then, I think there was some curious peeks by kids…so I gave up the process as we didn’t eat much kraut anyway when he kids were small. Now a days we love the stuff, cooked with pork, homemade Rueben sandwiches, hotdogs and pinto beans, used much like a relish. I buy mine in glass jars, but of course homemade is the best.
    My Dad said his Mother kept her pickles in large barrel type crocks in the cool cellar as well as kraut, never canned in jars until later years when my aunt canned for just the two of them….They were German extraction so knew the ropes of keeping it that way!
    Love this post,
    thanks Tipper,
    PS..I could eat a big old all beef grilled hotdog with kraut and a side of pickles about now.
    It is lunch time!

    • Reply
      Aaron Melhorn
      September 6, 2021 at 10:38 am

      You made this comment in 2014 so I hope you see it and are well.

      I’m not a purist when it comes to doing things by the signs. Yet, I have experimented with things. I have a large step bank that needs cleaned off a minimum of twice a year. I’m no longer able to weed eat the bank. So I watched for the right sign (there are two days a year that are excellent for clearing brush) I waited until one of those days (can’t for the life of me remember what they are, but I can find them) I cleaned the hill off on one of those days. I didn’t think it would ever grow back. I’ve set a few fence post with the signs in the head, they never set solid. I’ve done the same with the signs in the feet. Almost don’t have to tamp them in and the seem to never loosen. I’ve tested other things also.

      I’m a country pastor. I’ve pastored small churches my entire adult life starting when I was I believe, 24. In one of those churches we studied the first six chapters of Genesis. Not the actual creation, but what each thing God created represents spiritually in the Bible. It was an amazing one year Bible study. Anyways back to my point of my comment….

      Genesis 1:14 the sun, the moon and the stars are for times, seasons and years. There is a time for every purpose under the heavens. A time to plant, sow, pluck up that which was planted, a time to build, kill etc ect.

      Yes. Doing things by the signs is BIBLICAL. The Bible is a big book and everything in it is connected together and each and everything in God has a thread that runs throughout the Bible front to back. God’s ways (the one that hung the stars in the heavens) are beyond our finding out. He is a great God and gave us a tremendous book of instruction for life.

  • Reply
    August 13, 2014 at 10:14 am

    I have never pickled by the signs, but will have to give it a try. Thanks for a great post that has got me thinking!

  • Reply
    August 13, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Tipper, I do believe I found your site while googling for pickled veggies. I have become a believer in the signs after a couple of failed attempts and a few successes. I only use signs with pickling, and usually plant anything according to weather. I have great success with planting seeds before rain forecasts and plants on cloudy days. This assures I don’t end up with sad droopy plants. It amazes me that while growing up, we just went to a huge garden with hoes, water, fertilizer, and bare rooted plants. The garden was always a huge success!
    If I ever start having trouble with garden, I will surely be checking your site for hints or dragging out the almanac.

  • Reply
    August 13, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I can’t be of any help. You and your information have been my lifeline for canning. Thanks for the info you were able to gather.

  • Reply
    Morris Edmonds
    August 13, 2014 at 7:39 am

    My Mother,Father and Granparent’s alway’s went with the zodiac sign’s for farming . The farmer’s almanac was an important guide for them and now also to me. I now pass it on to my Son. For pickling bean’s corn,etc and puting up sour kraut in the churn the best time is when the sign’s are in the head and above the heart. I love sour kraut right out of the churn and also pickled ramp’s.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 13, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Tipper, those are excellent questions, have you received any answers to them? I think fermenting may also be affected by the moon phase. We use salt to pickle/ferment. The function of the salt is to draw the liquid out of the vegetable you are pickling. The moon affects the water on the earth and therefore the water in the vegetables.
    It is said that the full moon is the time w3hen most babies are born. The Deer Hunter was born a few days before his due date. The moon was full that night.
    I figure that it’s the moon’s effect on water is the reason it prompts the birth of babies, since babies are floating, and sometimes swimming, in their own sea of water.
    So back to the vegetables. Which phase of the moon would facilitate the extraction of water from the vegetables?

  • Reply
    August 13, 2014 at 7:22 am

    As much as I do things as in days of olde I have never heard of Pickling by the signs—so I await your new on the findings—but perhaps that is why sometimes the kraut taste better than other times—always blame it on the cabbage.

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