Planting By The Signs

Foxfire Book

This book piqued my curiosity about Planting by the Signs.  (This is Foxfire Book #1, by the way.  Published in 1972.  My copy is the 27th printing.) 

The chapter on Planting by the Signs opens with the Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, which Pete Seeger adapted and The Byrds recorded, resulting in one of the most recognizable songs of the ‘60s.  The actual words from the verse are:  “…a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” [Turn, turn, turn.  This song was recorded long before David Crosby started fretting about almost cutting his hair, of course.] 

A lot of people find the notion of planting by the signs to be complete hogwash, if they’ve even heard of it (including the other person who writes on this blog).  I have an affinity for things that connect human beings to the land, old ways and folklore.  So I’m not willing to call it hogwash until I try it.

The only planting signs I know are not based on the moon’s phase and the zodiac.  The ones I know are hallmarks, really, to observe in the early growing season, such as:  Don’t plant tomatoes before snowball bushes are in bloom, and seed potatoes should be planted by Saint Patrick’s Day.  That’s all I’ve got.  You?

Here’s the crib version of planting by the signs, according to Foxfire’s interviews done back in the late ‘60s: 

~Every day of the month is dominated by one of the 12 zodiac signs (“the signs”).  Each of the signs appears at least once a month, for varying periods of time (2-3 days).

~Each of the signs is associated with a body part, from the first, Aries (Head), to the last, Pisces (Feet).  Starting at the top of the signs and repeating, there are also different element associations, in this pattern:  Fire, Earth, Air and Water.  Of course we know the symbols associated with the signs (Aries = Ram, Pisces = Fish, etc.), and there is a planetary association for each sign as well.  Here’s the information in chart from this Foxfire book:

foxfire chart

To make any sense of any of this, you’ll have to get a specialized calendar, or a Farmer’s Almanac, to see when each of these signs appears during each day of the planting and harvesting months.  Nothing is to be planted when the signs are in the bowels, for instance, which somehow makes sense, doesn’t it?  Because that even sounds bad.  Some crops grow best when planted in the arms sign.  And on and on.

WAIT!  THERE IS MORE!  In addition to the signs, one must also take into consideration the phase of the moon!  This seems to be a simpler task to follow.  It can get much more complicated than this, but here is it in a nutshell (from www.almanac.com/planting-dates ): 

~ Plant above-ground crops during the LIGHT OF THE MOON (new moon to full moon); and

~Plant below-ground crops during the DARK OF THE MOON (from the day after it is full until the day before it is new again).

From there, you’ll get your specialized calendar wherein SOMEONE ELSE has plotted out the phases of the moon and the stage of the zodiac onto each calendar day, and you will then know which 14 days per month are the alleged ‘fruitful’ days to plant, weed, harvest, etc.  Deviate from those days, and, it is said, your harvest won’t be as bountiful.

So what do you think?  I think I shall try it.  I will report back!  COME ON SPRING!!!

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