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Planting by the Signs
Planting by the Signs

Planting by the Signs

Astrology and lunar cycles have long been studied by humans. In fact, agricultural astrology (or planting by the signs as it is commonly referred), is one of the oldest forms of astrology. Ancient peoples often planted by the phases of the moon and which zodiac sign the moon was currently in. This practice surprisingly dates back to ancient peoples that lived along the Euphrates river.

Agricultural astrology (or the study of how the stars affect agriculture), is the oldest form of astrology.

What is planting by the signs?

While at first glance it can look kind of confusing for how exactly the practice works to plant by the signs, it’s really fairly straightforward. You plant above ground crops during a waxing moon phase, and a fertile Zodiac sign. You plant root ground crops during a waning moon phase, and a fertile Zodiac sign. During the barren Zodiac signs of the lunar cycle – you weed, cultivate, and harvest.

While the method hasn’t exactly been proven or disproven – there is a bit of science behind this practice, and some farmers swear that following this method results in larger, more flavorful harvest. The science is that, just like the waxing moon phases result in higher tides, it also increases the moisture within the earth. If it can pull the water of the ocean, surely it can do the same for the water within the earth.

Science and beliefs aside, I’m always up for a challenge and for learning new things. Why not give it a try and explain exactly how to do it so you can, too?


Signs of the Zodiac & Lunar Cycles

The moon goes through each Zodiac sign throughout its lunar cycle, spending about 2.5 days in each sign.

While the signs of the Zodiac have become viewed as an unconventional, even somewhat secular belief by many – there is basis to each astrological sign in the sky and how it relates to the lunar cycle.

It takes the moon around 29 days to go through an entire lunar cycle. During that cycle, the moon travels through all 12 signs of the Zodiac. Each sign is assigned an element; earth, water, air, or fire. Earth and water signs are considered fertile. Air and fire signs are considered barren.

You want to plant above ground baring crops while the moon is waxing, and in a fertile, earth or water sign. Plant below ground root crops while the moon is waning, and in a fertile, earth or water sign. During the barren signs, you’ll want to do weeding, cultivating, and harvesting, with a few exceptions.


Earth Signs

Earth signs are semi-fruitful, and root crops do best planted under these three signs.

The following three signs are all considered fertile signs, however, they’re earth signs – so they’re going to result in productivity, but under drier conditions. All three are great for root crops, grafting, and sowing seeds.

Capricorn – Root crops, such as carrots, turnips and potatoes are said to do best when planted under Capricorn. Grafting fruit trees, as well as planting bulbs, are also recommended.

Taurus – Another root sign, especially when hardiness is necessary. You can plant potatoes, carrots, etc…, during this sign as well. Sowing seeds is also a good activity under this sign.

Virgo – Also a root sign (see the pattern here?), but medicinal plants in particular do well planted under this sign. This is also a good time to turn compost, and take care of garden pests on existing plants.


Water Signs

Water signs contain the most fertile of all the Zodiac signs.  They are associated with leaves.

These three signs are considered the most fertile of all the Zodiac. These signs result in very fruitful, moist conditions, and are associated with leaves. All three are great for planting just about anything.

Pisces – This is one of the best signs to plant under.  It also falls under the new moon, which is said to be very fertile. Any plants that require strong root development are best planted under this sign. Things like tomatoes, corn, peppers, and just about any plant, really should be planted now.

Cancer – This is known as one of the most productive signs, and is a great time to plant anything, really. This is also a great time to work on any irrigation.

Scorpio – The other fantastic sign to plant under is, Scorpio. It’s used for the same purposes as Cancer and Pisces, but is particularly good for vine growth.


Fire Signs

Fire signs are the most barren of the Zodiac.  Other than onions, you’ll want to spend these days weeding and cultivating.

These signs are some of the most barren of all the Zodiac. They’re mostly used for killing weeds and cultivation, but a few things may surprise you. These signs are best associated with fruit and seeds.

Aries – This sign is a great time to work on killing off weeds and pests. Pruning to limit growth is also a good gardening task for this sign. It is said that harvesting will result in the best keeping right now. So, crops that you need to keep for a long while should be harvested under this sign.

Leo – This sign is known as the most barren of all the Zodiac. Only killing hard to kill weeds, controlling pests and pruning to shape – are recommended under this sign.

Sagittarius – One of the only barren signs you’ll plant under is, Sagittarius. It is the best sign to plant onions under. It’s also great for seeding hay, and now is the time to till and cultivate.


Air Signs

The air signs are also barren, but provide some of the best harvesting times, pest control days and planting for flowers.

The other three barren signs, also do not particularly favor planting. But harvesting, and keeping pests and weeds under control, do well under these. These three signs are also associated with flowers.

Aquarius – Another great sign to harvest crops for long term storage – it’s also great to cultivate and destroy those obnoxious pests.

Gemini – Harvest herbs and root crops under this sign. Another air sign full of energy to help you spray for pests and weeds.

Libra – It’s a good time to plant flowers and vines, and even though this is a barren sign, it’s still semi-fruitful. This is also a great time to pick flowers, as they’ll last the longest when picked under this sign.


Which Moon Phase are We in?

The lunar cycle is approximately, 29 days long.

I’m trying to make sure I keep track of the lunar cycle each month. We live far enough out, that I have a good view of it on just about any given evening – as long as it’s clear. However, if I lose track, a paper calendar will point me in the right direction.

Most paper calendars have at least the new moon, first quarter, full moon and last quarter listed. You can go from there.

If you’re a smart phone user, there are also plenty of apps that will tell you where we are in a lunar cycle. If you’re only interested in the phase, this app will work just fine. Personally, I use the Skyview app. Just find the moon and it will tell you what phase it is in, and how far into the lunar cycle we have gone. If you don’t have an iPhone, here’s the link for the Android app.


What Zodiac is the Moon in?

The new moon begins in Pisces each month. It stays in each sign approximately 2.5 days before going to the next. This site is great for telling you which phase and sign the moon is currently in – as well as, which sign and phase it is headed into next.

There are also calendars available online that can help you plant by the signs without knowing the reasoning behind it, to help you make the best gardening decisions. Or, buy an almanac as this calendar is, and has been, included within those pages.


Is it Worth it?

That’s the big question, right? While there is little scientific evidence that these practices actually make a difference, it would truly make sense to me that it does.

The moon is strong enough to not only control the changing tides of the ocean, but it also often rules our moods and actions. There’s a reason why my kids act crazy and everything is a mess with the coming full moon every single month, and I don’t honestly believe it’s a coincidence.

If something is that powerful, I don’t see how it couldn’t possibly have a baring on how fruitful gardening endeavors truly are. It’s also a practice that has been around for thousands of years – and as I mentioned, one of the oldest forms of astrology.

While I may not follow these practices to a tee – I do believe it’s a worthwhile pursuit that honestly doesn’t take up much more time, and makes planning out my gardening activities a little easier each month, all season long.

It’s yet another way to slow down and be intentional, which was a big part of the reasoning behind our homesteading endeavors to begin with. So, I’ll do it even if that’s the only value I truly gain.


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