Main : 2001 : Planting by the Moon

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Planting by the Moon

One general agricultural tradition that seems to span several millenia and a number of civilizations involves using the moon's orbit to select the exact days on which different agricultural tasks should be performed. Pliny is reported to have advocated planting by the phase of the moon in Natural History, and the Neapolitan scholar John Baptist Porta references the phases of the moon numerous times in discussing how to select optimal planting and harvesting times in the 1584 printing of Natural Magick (Vol III, Chapter 21 and Vol IV, Chapter 4).

This archetype has been manifested in the US for centuries in the form of planting calendars contained in various Almanacs. These planting calendars consider both the phase of the moon and the position of the moon in the zodiac to determine which tasks should (and should not) be performed at a given time.

A quick web search will demonstrate that there are a number of sets of rules in current use for making these correlations; some correspond closely, others do not. The rules that I use are taken from the first volume of The Foxfire Book series, and were originally collected through numerous interviews in the southern Appalachian mountains. As such, I consider them to be representative of traditional correlations used for generations in that particular geographical area.

The following two tables are my own condensation of How it Works and The Rules pp. 215-219.

Sign

Moisture

Fertility

Best For

Worst For

Notes

Aries

Dry

Barren

Plow, Till, Cultivate; Trim, Deaden, Destroy; Gather herbs

Planting, Transplanting (never!)

Death sign

Taurus

Moist

Fertile

Planting (drought resistance) esp. herbs and root crops; Set out plants; Hunting

   

Gemini

Dry

Barren

Trim, Deaden, Destroy; Cultivate soil; Plant Beans

Planting

 

Cancer

Moist

Fertile

Planting (Drought resistance), Set out plants, Grafting (waxing)

 

Most fertile planting sign (above ground)

Leo

Dry

Barren

Trim, Deaden, Destroy; Cultivate soil;

Planting, Transplanting (Never!)

Death sign

Virgo

Moist

Barren

Trim, Deaden, Destroy; Harvest root crops

Planting

 

Libra

Moist

Semi-fertile

Planting flowers (1st Qtr), Planting flowers for seeds (2nd Qtr)

   

Scorpio

Moist

Fertile

Planting esp. root crops, Set out plants, Grafting (waxing)

   

Sagittarius

Dry

Barren

Trim, Deaden, Destroy

Planting

 

Capricorn

Dry

Barren

Trim, Deaden, Destroy, Grafting (waxing), Root cuttings, Set out flower bushes and trees, harvest root crops (4th Qtr)

Planting

 

Aquarius

Dry

Barren

Trim, Deaden, Destroy; Gather herbs

Planting

 

Pisces

Moist

Fertile

Planting, Set out plants, Grafting (waxing), Root cuttings, Set out flower bushes and trees, harvest root crops (4th Qtr)

Planting potatoes

 


Quarter

Best For

Worst For

Notes

First (waxing crescent)

Plant all things that bear fruit above ground

Planting all things that bear fruit below ground

Do not plant on day of phase change

Second (waxing gibbous)

Plant all things that bear fruit above ground

Planting all things that bear fruit below ground

Do not plant on day of phase change

Third (waning gibbous)

Plant all things that bear fruit below ground; Harvest crops (not root crops); Dig root crops for seed

Planting all things that bear fruit above ground

Do not plant on day of phase change

Fourth (waning crescent)

Plant all things that bear fruit below ground; Pull weeds, turn sod, destruction; Harvest crops, esp root crops; Canning, pickling, jellymaking; cut timber; set fence posts

Planting all things that bear fruit above ground

Do not plant on day of phase change



References:


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