Monday, January 18, 2010

Foxfire: Planting by the Signs

This is all excerpted from Foxfire, called The Foxfire Book. I believe it was the first one, published back in 1972. My copy cost $3.95 new back then, if that tells you anything about inflation. :)

Anyway, this is from a chapter called Planting by the Signs. There are a couple of charts that I can't reproduce here, unfortunately. I'll try, but can't guarantee anything on one of them.

Sign Symbol Body Part Planet Element
Aries Ram Head Mars Fire
Taurus Bull Neck, Throat Venus Earth
Gemini Twins Arms, Chest Mercury Air
Cancer Crab Breast, Stomach Moon Water
Leo Lion Heart, Back Sun Fire
Virgo Virgin Bowels Mercury Earth
Libra Balance Kidneys Venus Air
Scorpio Scorpion Loins Mars Water
Sagittarius Archer Thighs Jupiter Fire
Capricornus Goat Knees Saturn Earth
Aquarius Waterman Legs, Ankles Uranus Air
Pisces Fish Feet Neptune Water

OK, well I just took at look at the Preview function, and the charts a mess to read. But if you read across the first line, you see the headings: Sign, Symbol, Body Part, etc. The signs line up under that and you can sort of read it. Best I can do here I guess.

Here we go. Begin Excerpt.

How it Works
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 that time), the part of the body and the planet associated with the sign, and the element it is most closely akin to. The chart (above) summarizes this information. The signs always appear in sequence, beginning with the Ram or Head and working their way down to Pisces, the Fish or feet. Following Pisces, the Ram appears beginning a new sequence.

Each of the signs is known as being either masculine, feminine, airy, dry, barren, fiery, earthy, moist, watery, fruitful, or very fruitful. In general, any activity that requires a dry atmosphere, such as painting, should be done in one of the dry signs; and an activity requiring moisture, such as some planting, should be done on one of the moist or fruitful signs.

The best time, of course, to conduct any activity is when a day falls on both an ideal sign and a good phase of the moon.

Over the years, a most specific set of rules has grown up around the zodiac which governs such activities as planting and harvesting. These rules take into account both the sign governing the day and the phase of the moon on that particular day. At the beginning of the planting season, for example, the farmer consults his calendar, picks out one of the fourteen favorable days that occurs every month, and plants only on one of these fourteen "fruitful" days. Should he miss and plant his crops on one of the unfruitful days, his crops will not produce at half their ability, say the believers. T. E. Black even goes so far as to say that a few hours can make the difference between success and failure, and many of his followers agree.

The Rules
The following rules were gathered both from interviews (with the older folks in the community), and wide reading. They do not represent a complete set, but they should serve to give the reader a good idea as to the nature of this system. We also included rules for butchering, cutting hair, killing weeds, pulling teeth, and others to give some grasp of the scope of the subject.

Planting---Planting is best done in the fruitful signs of Scorpio, Pisces, Taurus, or Cancer (when the signs are in the loins, feet, neck, or breast).
Plow, till and cultivate in Aries.
Never plant anything in one of the barren signs. They are good only for trimming, deadening, and destroying.
Always set plants out in a water or earth sign.
Graft just before the sap starts to flow, while the moon is in its first or second quarter, and while it is passing through a fruitful watery sign or Capricorn. Never graft a plant on Sunday as this is a barren, hot day (the sun's day).
Plant flowers in Libra, which is an airy sign that also represents beauty. Plant them while the moon is in the first quarter unless you need the seeds, in which case use the period between the moon's second quarter and full.
Corn planted in Leo will have a hard, round, stalk and small ears.
Crops planted in Taurus and Cancer will stand drought.
Plant beans when the signs are in the arms (Gemini).
Root flower cuttings, limbs, vines, and set out flower bushes and trees in December and January when the signs are in the knees and feet.
Never transplant in the heart or head as both these signs are "Death Signs." (Aries and Leo)
If you want a large vine and stalk with little fruit, plant in Virgo "bloom days."
Don't plant potatoes in the feet. If you do, they will develop little nubs like toes all over the main potato. The best time is a dark night in March.
Plant all things which yield above the ground during the increase or growing of the moon, and all things which yield below the ground (root crops) when the moon is decreasing or darkening.
Never plant on the first day of the new moon, or on a day when the moon changes quarters.
In the fourth quarter turn sod, pull weeds, and destroy.

Reaping and Harvesting
Pick fruit like apples and pears in the old of the moon while it is decreasing or shrinking. This will cause the bruised spots and blemishes to dry up rather than rot. They will rot if the fruit is picked on the increase or rising of the moon, or on the new moon.
Harvest most crops when the moon is growing old. This will cause them to keep better and longer.
Dig root crops for seed in the third quarter of the moon. They will keep longer and are usually drier and better.
Gather root crops in the last quarter of the moon when the signs are in the knees or feet.
Can vegetables, cook preseves and jelly, and make pickles in the right sign during the last quarter of the moon.

Miscellany
Cut timber in the old of the moon. It will dry better and not become worm-eaten.
Set fence posts in the old of the moon to prevent loosening.
The part of your body governed by a particular sign is more sensitive when the moon is in that sign. People with heart trouble, for example, will have more trouble in Leo's sign, and lovers are more successful at this time. In Taurus (throat) an operation on this part of the body will be unsuccessful. Conversely, if tonsils are removed and teeth pulled when the signs are in the knees or feet, there is less soreness, loss of blood, and danger of infection. You can easily figure out others for yourself.
Paint houses or cars in a dry sign like Leo or Aries.
Wean a child or animal when the moon is in a sign that does not rule the vital parts of the body (Capricorn, Pisces, Sagittarius).
Set eggs to hatch in a fruitful sign like Cancer. The chicks will mature faster and be better layers.
Quit habits on the second day that the moon is in Sagittarius, or on the new moon, or in Pisces.
If you cut your hair in Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius, or Pisces, it will grow stronger, thicker, and more beautiful.
Purge will pills in Pisces and with liquids in Sagittarius.
Bake and cook in Aries.
Hunt in Taurus.
Lay foundations in Capricorn.
Don't nail shingles or boards on the growing side of the moon, or the ends will draw up and curl and go crooked.
Destroy weeds, kill trees, turn sod in the barren signs of Gemini, Leo or Virgo (especially if the moon is in the last quarter).
Slaughter while the signs are in the knees or feet, and in the last quarter of the moon.

************************************ End Excerpt.

Hmmmmm. Guess if I really want to do this, I'll need to get my hands on the Old Farmer's Almanack. You can find the Ol' Farmer's Almanac online, and Best Days info here. You can find more info on planting by moon signs at the Gardener's Calendar. Keep in mind that this is a UK website, so the info on planting in January may not work for where you live. :) Me, I'm going to get a copy of the Old Farmer's Almanac, so I can have the info at my fingertips if the Web goes down. I'm very curious to see if this works as well as I think it might.

The Foxfire book then goes on to talk about those who believe (older mountain people, etc.) and those who don't (agricultural school grads, etc.) but it is an ancient "science" handed down wisdom from our ancestors and we might just want to give them a listen these days. Obviously, our new-fangled shiny knowledge has been enough to really screw up the world as we know it. Might as well listen to other folks who just might know better after all.

I'll be looking into this more. If any of y'all have any other info or good websites or books, please let me know via email or comments. Thank you!
HM

5 comments:

Suzanne said...

This is a great post, thanks! I'm bookmarking it and looking for that book... We just got a plot at our community garden so I'll be trying this out come spring :)
I use this old farmers almanac link -
http://www.almanac.com/

Catherine said...

We planted our garden by the signs last year, as an experiment. When you stood on the hill and looked at our garden compared to the neighbors garden (who didn't plant by the signs), the difference was amazing! It convinced me to plant by the signs from now on.

Feltwerker said...

I like using the stella natura calendar for planting by the moon. I feel that I have a lot of success with sowing seeds this way.

http://www.stellanatura.com/

Denise
http://www.feltwerker.com

Moira said...

I recently picked up my copy of Foxfire for the first time in a couple of decades. Perfect timing. I am a novice to astro gardening, was looking for additional info, found your blog. Thanks for posting the content...made it much easier for the Virgo in me to plot it all in a matrix. I'm having some trouble, however, reconciling the wisdom with the planetary hours calendar that I use (ChronosXP). For example, I need to transplant a few blue agaves...looks like that activity is best in Taurus or Cancer. According to the calendar, there is no Taurus or Cancer activity this (calendar) month for my location (Sarasota, FL, US). How can that be? Any help/insight for this novice is much appreciated!

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