Winter not ready to sign off yet

By PHILIP CASE State Journal Columnist Published:

What a first week of spring! It put me more in the mind of winter as we endured cold, freezing weather, which certainly made staying inside preferable to working in the garden!

But the experience of this week hopefully but doubtlessly not the last cold snap should remind us that winters grip is not quite loosened just yet. So, if youre doing any planting, make sure you consult the list below of those veggies that appreciate weather like weve enjoyed this week!

Here youll find the planting information for this week, answers to a couple of questions from readers, and again those veggies which can be planted now in the early ground, when the ground is dry of course.

And let me remind you and I know I say every week and will continue to do so: Statistically the last danger of frost wont pass until around Mothers Day which is May 14 this year.

Some books and charts put it a few days earlier than that, but Id rather err on the side of caution. Warm weather crops like tomatoes and beans simply cannot tolerate late frosts or freezes and the grounds not fully warm yet anyway. Just be patient.

Phases and signs

First, the moon is in the dark phase now but that will be changing Wednesday, 5:15 a.m., when the new moon or no moon visible in the sky comes into force. Thus today, Monday and Tuesday you should be planting only those veggies from the list below that produce beneath the ground.

Then beginning Wednesday and continuing until the next full moon on April 13 only those that produce above the ground, still from the list below.

According to the signs of the zodiac, today is the last in a series of so-so days, the sign being in Aquarius (the legs). This sign isnt outstandingly productive but it isnt destructive either, just so-so.

Monday and Tuesday are two really fertile days for planting below-ground producers from the list below. The sign is in Pisces (the feet) and the moon still in the dark phase.

All planting should cease, however, Wednesday and Thursday when the sign moves to Aries (the head), one of the killing signs. Reserve these days for cultivating (if its dry enough), killing, deadening, cleaning out fencerows anything but planting.

Fertile days return Friday, Saturday, and next Sunday with the sign in Taurus (the neck), one of the four fruitful signs, and the moon in the light phase. Like Monday and Tuesday, these days are good for planting anything from the list below except this time they need to be above-ground producers.

In summary: The best days for planting below-ground producers during this period will be Monday and Tuesday with the sign in Pisces (the feet) and then for above-ground producers Friday, Saturday, and next Sunday with the sign in Taurus (the neck). Check the list below and if your ground is ready and you are of a mind, you might do a little cool-weather-crop planting.

Still time to make changes

If you still have changes to make like stopping smoking, starting a diet and/or exercise program, weaning small animals or children, scheduling elective surgery anything that involves a change you still have a three great days to get started with the signs going out of the body and the moon in the dark phase.

Just be underway before Wednesday when the light moon comes into force and the sign moves back to the head.

Spring gardens

Here again is the list of crops that enjoy cool even cold weather and soil temperatures. They can withstand frosts, freezes even some snow.

Now: snow peas, spinach, onion sets, radishes, rhubarb (crowns), rutabaga, and turnips, Irish potatoes, onion seeds, parsley, and parsnips, leaf lettuce, Bibb lettuce plants, head lettuce plants, and onion plants.

This information comes from Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky, published by the University of Kentuckys Cooperative Extension Service.


Here are a couple of questions from readers that might be of interest to others.

Q. Should plants be seeded to flats or peat pots by the phases and signs for later transplanting into the garden?

A. Absolutely yes! If youre raising your own plants then thats the best of all possible worlds since you can control when the seeds are sown, when theyre transplanted from flat to peat pot, and finally into the garden. You have no idea when plants purchased from stores or nurseries were seeded. Just follow the instructions here each week and act as if you were sowing those seeds in the garden.

Q. Whens the right time to pour gravel on a driveway?

A. When the moon is in the light phase. This has been conventional wisdom for years for those who follow signs and phases. For some reason, the rocks dont sink or dont sink as fast as when theyre put down during the dark of the moon. Remember we have a light moon phase coming March 29-April 12. So if you have rocks to pour or rock pathways to lay, this period would be a great one.

I welcome your questions! Dont hesitate to call me at 223-8422 (home) or 227-4556 (The State Journal) or e-mail me at If you have questions about different varieties of plants, contact the Franklin County Extension Office or a local nursery.

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