Appalachia Gardening

Planting by the Signs for April 2018


I started trying to plant by the signs about 9 or 10 years ago. Pap and Granny always grew a garden when I was growing up, but they never tried to plant by the signs.

It wasn’t that they didn’t believe in the signs. Pap was just so busy with work, music, church, and coaching baseball that he had to plant whenever he had time and the weather was cooperating.

The first year I planted by the signs I kept it simple and tried to plant in the most fruitful sign of Cancer or under the crab as I heard an elderly lady phrase it. I saw a marked increase in the success of my garden that year.

The following year, with the success of my sign planted garden fresh on my mind, I became so involved in trying to follow the exact sign that I felt like I was playing a mean game of Mother May I. I was totally obsessed by the waxing and waning of the moon as well as trying to figure out which zodiac sign I should be planting under. My garden didn’t do well that year.

The theory behind planting by the signs in a nutshell is: You should plant above ground crops under a fruitful sign while the moon is waxing/increasing. You should plant below ground crops under a fruitful sign while the moon is waning/decreasing.

There are 12 zodiac signs which correspond to the position of the moon during the month. Each sign is represented by a symbol, a part of the human body, and an element of nature (fire, earth, water, air) and has distinct characteristics. For example, Leo-Lion-The Heart is fiery, dry and barren. While Cancer-Crab-The Breast is watery and fruitful.

After my Mother May I year of being obsessed with following the exact sign, I decided to simplify my attempt at gardening by the signs by concentrating only on the zodiac sign like I did that very first year. Over the years, I’ve found the signs that work best for my garden are Scorpio, Pisces, Taurus, and Cancer. Those are the days I note on my monthly planting calendar.

My favorite sign to plant under is Cancer, but if it doesn’t work out to where I can plant under Cancer, I aim for Scorpio, Pisces, or Taurus.

  • Taurus: good for all root crops and above ground crops
  • Cancer: best for planting above ground and root crops
  • Scorpio: best for flowers and above ground crops
  • Pisces: Good for planting and transplanting above ground crops, trees and shrubbery

If you plant by the signs-please tell us about it!



If you’re as anxious to get started in the garden as I am then you’ll be glad you’re reading this post. Due to the generosity of Quinn (Blind Pig Reader) and Sow True Seed (Blind Pig and The Acorn Garden Sponsor) I’m giving away some squash seeds today. I think the packages are especially pretty don’t you? The artist behind the lovely artwork is none other than Quinn!

Everyone who leaves a comment on this post will be entered in the giveaway. There will be two winners. Giveaway ends Saturday April 7, 2018.


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  • Reply
    April 6, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I’ve heard about planting during different phases of the moon, but never tried it. I’m just waiting for all the snow to disappear so I can put in my first crop of peas. We think we’ll have to plant one raised bed just for the dog this year. Yes, you read that correctly. He LOVES peas. And carrots.

  • Reply
    Shirley Burns
    April 3, 2018 at 11:22 pm

    In years past we have not had very good gardens ,so maybe planting by the signs is the answer for us. I had requested a Sow True catalog ,which came in the mail today .l love it ! There is so much information in it ,besides the great selection of seeds.Lots of flower seeds ,too. We are having a stormy night ,so its a good time to daydream a little bit with this fun catalog.Thanks Tipper for sharing so much good information with all of us.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    Always have a garden would like to learn more on planting by the signs . Enjoy reading information posted on this site.

  • Reply
    Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm
    April 3, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    Yes to planting by the signs and yes also to cutting my hair by the signs. (I’m low tech, not sure my comment showed up.)

  • Reply
    Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm
    April 3, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    The proof is in the eating of the veg and fruit. I also cut my hair by the signs.

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    April 3, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Count me in! Gardening will be limited this year since Larry has knee replacement scheduled for May 3rd. I expect this place will be none too pretty this summer, but I intend to plant a small garden at least.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    My Mamaw was a plant by the signs person, always had a Farmers Almanac by her side, best I can remember always had a good garden, only a very few times can I remember her not having a productive one.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    I didn’t get to have a garden last year because of health issues. I have my tiller ready for this year if the ground ever dries up enough. We always plant two to four types of squash. I enjoy gardening whether I get a good crop or a poor one.

    • Reply
      Judy Prine
      April 3, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      I’m going to try planting by the signs this year. I love gardening, but I am not very good at it. I lose interest after a while and let the weeds take over. Your site has inspired be to try harder and be better. I will let you know how it turns out. My family have always gardened and we ate so good! Wish me luck or better yet, the Lord’s blessing.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    I been listening to the Pressley Girls about all evening. In my Insertion Window, I typed in The Pressley Girls Gospel songs and it took me to “River of Jordan” by the Blind Pig and the Acorn. After that went off, there appeared the Pressley Girls. As soon as one went off, another song came on. I had some company and had to attend to them, but when I came back, they were still singing. Chitter and Chatter are like my own Grandgirls …Ken

    • Reply
      April 3, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      Ken-I’m so glad you enjoy our music and the girls would be thrilled to be your grandgirls 🙂

  • Reply
    April 3, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Some of the comments have me wondering now. If you start seedlings in a greenhouse do you need to go by the signs when you plant the seed in cups or when you put the plants in the ground or both?

    • Reply
      April 3, 2018 at 6:41 pm

      Papaw-I try to do it all by the signs from the seedlings to the ground. I figure it can’t hurt 🙂

  • Reply
    George Forte
    April 3, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Great to visit your site, thank you. Quinn provided the link.
    –“Helpers” Dad

  • Reply
    April 3, 2018 at 11:57 am

    I use to plant by the Signs and had a wonderful harvest, but sometimes it wouldn’t work out that way and still had a wonderful harvest. I guess it’s the soil and a creek running beside it. I’m a firm believer in the Signs, but sometimes you just can’t, usually because of too wet and rainy. Someone once said, “if you’re from North Carolina, especially the Mountains, it usually rains about every 4 days or so.” …Ken

  • Reply
    April 3, 2018 at 10:50 am

    It’s become a tradition that I give my nieces / nephew an Almanac each Christmas ~ they get a kick out of the things I do by the signs… including planting. Love your articles ~ ❤️

  • Reply
    April 3, 2018 at 10:05 am

    No garden in so far. Too many distractions this year. Plan to get one in this week or next. Going to try a no-till modified “huglekultur” garden. Our church is holding a plant sale this coming weekend so that is where I will get most of my plants this year. My only contribution was washing and bleaching over 400 3″ and 4″ pots for transplanting seedlings others had started – really prefer getting my hands in the dirt but – that wasn’t in the cards this year. Wish us luck!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 3, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Planting by the signs is a very old tradition. I was interested in it at one time and read a few books. In addition to planting there are many other things in life that are recommended to do according to the best sign, like cutting hair for faster growth or for slower growth, pruning trees, when to make sauerkraut, and the list goes on and on. The older folks lived much closer to nature than we do now. It’s hard to study the moon and the TV at the same time!
    Thanks again to Sow True for supporting the tradition of pure seeds!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2018 at 9:03 am

    The information in this post is the most helpful I have read anywhere on planting by the signs. I copied it and will follow the signs when planting this year, if the weather will permit. We had snow and rain mix Sunday night, possible severe weather today, then back to freezing three mornings this week. My tomato seeds haven’t seen the sunshine but two or three times since I planted them on March 15th. They are barely thriving under their artificial light. Mom planted, transplanted, killed weeds and made kraut by the signs. She referred to body parts when speaking of signs. With a limited amount of seeds and no way of getting more, she couldn’t afford to experiment. I remember her planting green beans during the sign of the twins-two of everything. She had the greenest thumb around, so she was doing something right.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 3, 2018 at 8:25 am

    I have never planted by the signs. But I am getting the garden ready for some fast planting, Lord willing, after April 15. So if the weather co-operates I should be planting under Taurus on the 16th and 17th.

    Very good artwork Quinn. The variegated coloring is so realistic. I think the art seed labels are better than photographs, certainly more collectible.

    Looks like dogwood winter coming to me. Back in the 30’s tomorrow night. And the blackberries are all budded up to bloom so blackberry winter is next. A weather watcher I know sent me a weather model map for April 8th showing 2-4 inches of snow here.

    I’m hoping to get past all of that before I plant. Hard to wait when yesterday was in the mid-70’s. And my one apple tree is blooming.

  • Reply
    William Dotson
    April 3, 2018 at 8:10 am

    I have never planted by the signs until last year, I set three pepper plants not going by the signs and waited until a friend told me the sign was right and set three more plants same variety beside the first ones and I saw no difference, but want to do some by the signs this year, would like to learn how it is done, Thanks Tipper for all you do with your site.

  • Reply
    Nancy Hofmeister
    April 3, 2018 at 7:49 am

    I believe in planting by the signs bit don’t usually manage to ‘git ‘er done’. I did try to wean my babies by the moon sign tho.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2018 at 7:24 am

    We don’t have to much of a garden, but we love growing tomatoes and okra. But last year the okra didn’t do so well. Got to a certain height and quit growing. Had some good bell pepper and squash too.

  • Reply
    faye bancroft
    April 3, 2018 at 7:23 am

    i live in a northern state, so planting by the signs doesnt work as well as planting by the frost dates. my experuence,as a longtime gardener,is to not plant anything outdoors before the first week of june. then,go by the number of days to harvest for each plant. works for me……

  • Reply
    Julie Moreno
    April 3, 2018 at 7:13 am

    I planted all but my okra yesterday!! Hope old Scorpio works for me. My Granny planted by the signs but I have not. Yesterday was a fortunate accident.

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