Gardening Heritage Planting By The Moon Signs

Planting By The Signs

Full moon ghost stories

Do you plant your garden by the signs? Do you know what planting by the signs means?

Man has looked to the heavens for answers since the beginning of time. Ancient Astronomers figured out the phases of the moon in relation to the paths of the planets and the sun. This led to the development of the Zodiac. The 12 signs of the Zodiac were named after living things and became identified with various parts of the human body. Soon afterwards, the signs of the Zodiac began to be used to predict various outcomes of both human life-and nature. Zodiac predictions have been found as far back as 1300 B.C.

The Foxfire Book explains the Zodiac like this:

Every day of the month is dominated by one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Each of the twelve appears at least once a month, and then for a period of either two or three days. All good planting calendars label each day with the sign that rules over it (depending on which constellation is foremost in the sky at the time), the part of the body and the planet associated with the sign, and the element it is most closely akin to. The following chart summarizes this information.

The rules for planting by the signs take into account the sign of the day and the moon phase of the time as well.

Pap never planted by the signs-and still doesn’t-not necessarily because he doesn’t believe in them-more that he always said “you just have to plant when you can plant” meaning-the time it took to plant a huge garden had to fit in with the time it took to have full time job, coach baseball, and coincide with agreeable weather conditions for planting.

The Deer Hunter and I haven’t ever planted by the signs either-I wanted to perform my own experiment this year-plant a row by the signs-and a row not by the signs and see which grew better. I got the “not by signs” row planted but trying to get the “by signs” row planted has been impossible due to the rainy spring we’ve had. But I’m still going to try it-if the weather cooperates.

So-do you plant by the signs? Did your parents or grandparents?

Tune back into the Blind Pig for tips and rules related to planting by the signs in the next few days.


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  • Reply
    william allen
    June 9, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Which parts of the body are you supposed to plant certain vegetables? Example, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, etc.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2009 at 8:37 am

    In some ways I am glad that school is over but in a bunch of other ways I am not. I think about how Chitter, Chatter and I have known each other since we were divas in diapers and all of the memories we have. We have had our differences but in the end we are still best friends.We are definetly going to have to get together this summer. I am really going to miss them next year.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 29, 2009 at 11:11 am

    J have not planted by the signs but have made pickled things by the signs. That would be pickles, kraut, and chow–as my grandmother called it. Chow is green beans, corn and cabbage mixed together and salt pickled.
    My grandmother followed the signs on when to slaughter, when to plant, when to pickle, when to cut hair, and when to do a number of things that I no longer remember.
    Now I wish I had paid more attention. These are now almost lost arts!

  • Reply
    May 29, 2009 at 5:08 am

    I think they did plant by the signs when I was growing up. I think people still do around here. We kind of plant by the signs, if we look up and it’s not raining and the garden’s not so muddy you can’t walk in it, we plant.All kidding aside, I think it is best to plant that way. Someone told me that when she was young they had to plant potatoes on Good Friday no matter what the weather. I can’t remember when we planted our potatoes, but the signs must not have been very good, because last week we had to till them all up and plant again.

  • Reply
    May 28, 2009 at 9:59 am

    We absolutely plant by the signs. My wife’s grandfather swears by it esp and will not, under any circumstances, go against the signs. I am more pragmatic…

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    May 28, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Morning Tipper! Looking forward to the results of your experiment!
    p.s. And what a welcome back on Whose Role! I think we come from the same cheerleading squad, Tipper! 😉
    Have a wonderful weekend! :))

  • Reply
    Matthew Burns
    May 28, 2009 at 9:06 am

    We’ve always planted by the signs. My granddaddy always insisted on planting most things in the sign of the crab. We always had good gardens. It never was an option for us not to plant by the signs because most of the older folks would flatly refuse to waste their time planting in the wrong signs, and it was customary for the older folks to lay out the garden every year (i.e. rotate crops).
    Everyone I knew growing up planted by the signs, and it was quite a shock for me when I moved off the mountain to see folks planting willy nilly according to the weather! Silly folks…and they wondered why their onions were all tops and their corn only yielded little nubbins.
    I was reading an article in “Hobby Farms” last month or so, about planting by the signs, and they did comparative studies over a period of 10 years, and (as I recall) the harvests that were planted by the signs produced approximately 15-20% more than the harvests planted by conventional, modern agricultural methodologies.

  • Reply
    May 28, 2009 at 1:47 am

    I wish my grandmother were still alive so I could ask her if she ever did this. Maybe my mom will remember. I’ll ask her next time I talk to her!

  • Reply
    May 28, 2009 at 12:07 am

    We plant here in Ontario by the signs…either May 24th weekend or after the first full moon in May. Before that, we can get hard frost.
    This year, the boys and I planted after the full moon, which was on the 9th. I think we planted about the 15th and then had to cover everything two different nights because of frost warnings.
    I think my great-grandfather planted and harvested by the moon.
    Enjoyed your glimpse into the book.

  • Reply
    noble pig
    May 27, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    I have never used the signs but yes people swear by them!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    My stepdad always planted by the signs. He thought it was sacrelige to do it any other way. Especially his potatoes and he had the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen. You could almost dig them up with your bare hands and they kept all through the winter.
    Me? I don’t have a clue. We just do it when the weather permits and when we have time.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2009 at 11:42 am

    My Daddy always had the most amazing garden. He never did actually like to admit that he planted by the signs, but if he should have something to fail (which was rare), he could be heard to say that he had not planted it by the signs!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2009 at 11:32 am

    On my spit of land I really don’t have enough room to grow a proper garden but, I will say growing up on a small farm that my mother I think used to use the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” a lot to help her planting. So I guess you can say she planted by the signs because that is what the almanac goes by.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I too plant by the signs. But my sign is the one that tells me my husband is willing to do it on whatever day that might be!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2009 at 7:42 am

    We plant by the signs. The signs at Wal-Mart and Lowe’s advertising a sale on tomato and bell pepper plants. Our garden is a collection of terra cotta pots and the flower bed under the window in our kitchen area. The pots hold a variety of herbs and the flower bed has tomatoes and bell peppers. We also grow fair sized tomato worms. Pappy

  • Reply
    May 27, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Whose signs do you use and what almanac? Those almanacs make me crazy!

  • Reply
    May 26, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    This was very interesting and informative. I have heard about planting by signs….but no….the weather is here is harsh and unpredictable. I usually plant on Good Friday only if the weather is agreeable. And most of the time I am having to replant. Loved this post! blessings,Kathleen

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    May 26, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    I don’t remember if Grandpop or Grandmom planted by the signs, but I remember seeing boxes on the kitchen table and Grandpop saying, ‘These gotta be in the ground today,’ so they might have. xxoo

  • Reply
    May 26, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    That would be neat. I don’t think I have the brains for it, though.

  • Reply
    Rick Morton
    May 26, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Annie’s comment on waxing or waning moon was how my grandfather on my moms side did. My Dad and his dad and I do like your Dad when you get time plant it. But I still love to read the Farmers Almanc. And Foxfire books are some of the best reading.

  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    May 26, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    I haven’t planted by the signs, but my parents would plant according to the farmer’s almanac.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    May 26, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    This year I planted in container, and not by the signs. My people always did, though. It has rained so much this past week , that the potatoes grown locally are not gonna make it. Even some of my little piddly garden may have to be replanted.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    I usually plant by the sign. My Dad amost always planted by the sign. I have found from year to year that if I plant by the sign, my yield will be more when planted by the sign. I am curious to see how your experiment works out.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    I plant by instinct and weather report, just like Grandpa and Mom did. All of the vegetable seeds were planted on the same day (April 5th) and are very robust now. The radishes are the size of pingpong balls!

  • Reply
    May 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    My Grandmother planted by the phases of the moon. Mom and Dad didn’t. I remember Grandma’s gardens always flourished.
    Grandma taught me something about the moon when I was little. She said that the moon is waxing (increasing) when its tips are pointing to the left or east, and it is waning or decreasing, if its points are pointing to the right or west. She planted seeds that would bear above the ground on a waxing moon. Bulbs and vegetables that produced underground were planted on a waning moon or the day after a full moon until it was a new moon again.
    Whew! That might be too much information!
    I love Grandma’s thoughts and have, on occasion, planted by the waxing or waning moon.

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    May 26, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Not really signs, just have to wait for the frost to stop coming to the ground! I put in a few things this weekend that don’t mind the cold 🙂

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    May 26, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    This is a great posting. My mama plants everything by the signs. She always checks with the calendar to see if the signs are right before she plants any of her vegetables. She made blackberry jelly this morning and checked with the signs to see if they were right. She has always planted her vegetable garden using the signs. She really believes in them. This was a great posting and I enjoyed it a lot.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I plant by the dates. The sign planting has always intrigued me.
    A friend recently planted potatoes during a waxing moon and was told his potatoes wouldn’t produce. Apparently you’re supposed to plant potatoes in a New Moon. They are eating potatoe
    fingerlings now. hmmmmm…..

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    May 26, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    My grandparents and great-grandparents did EVERYTHING by the signs. We had the best garden. My dad could never match what they did. I just would like a garden, signs or no signs. LOL

  • Reply
    May 26, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I’m laughing hysterically at the idea of me trying to plant by the signs! I have a hard enough time planting by the calendar, frost dates, and water table. I can’t deal with another factor! But I sure could be someone’s control for not planting by any good idea other than, “quick, it isn’t raining and this was supposed to be in the ground last month!”

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    May 26, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Tipper: I agree completely with Pap, I plant by the season and when I feel I have gotten past the last frost. My neighbor planted thre expensive tomatoe plants, the kind that have blooms on them. I told him to wait but they went into the ground. They were replaced after the frost took them. I plant the little plants and watch them grow.

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