Planting by the Signs: Moon in light phase, so-so signs in force

By Philip Case Published:

If you’re planting your fall garden by the phases of the moon and signs of the zodiac, here’s the information for this week.

The moon is in the light, the new moon having come to rule at 11:55 a.m. Friday. Until the next full moon – the second of August and called the “Blue Moon” – on the 31st, be planting only above-ground producers in the unprotected garden from the list below.

A look at the signs finds us on the second day of a series of so-so signs, which continues through Tuesday. Today is ruled by Virgo (the bowels), followed by Monday and Tuesday ruled by Libra (the reins). These are great days to put out your fall flowers because they are “bloom days.”

Outstanding planting for any above-ground producers is on tap for Wednesday through Friday. The moon, of course, is in the light phase and the sign all three days is in Scorpio (the secrets), one of the four most fertile signs.

While according to the list we’re a few days past the last safe day for things like bush beans, if you want to plant for a late harvest I wouldn’t hesitate. Wednesday through Friday will be simply outstanding days for it with the moon in the light phase and the fertile sign Scorpio in force.

Let’s do a little math here – very little, really: If you plant the beans on one of these three days (Wednesday through Friday) and it takes approximately 50 days from planting to harvest, that puts harvest at about Oct. 12. Granted, that’s running the risk of a statistical challenge with frost, but the way our weather’s been this year I don’t expect to see any frost to speak of until, at the earliest, the first of November.

Now beans can’t stand frost and they don’t grow much at all when the soil and air are cooling, but 2012 hasn’t seen much “cooling” even back in the winter! Why should that change now?

Experts, if you recall, said “things” were running about three weeks ahead of time back in the spring as far as blooming, etc. If that persists into the fall – and I quite honestly see no reason why it won’t – then that pushes first frost to around the first of November, maybe even the second week of November.

If I had the space and the inclination, I’d plant some bush beans. This year has shown us that absolutely nothing has panned out statistically speaking so why should we assume it might where frost is concerned?

And if your beans get nipped, just blame it on Ol’ Phil!


All that said, here again is the list from “Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky” showing how long you can continue to plant these veggies in the unprotected garden, statistically speaking anyway.

If the weather, however, continues as it has all year, what if we could add three weeks to each of these “last plant” days? And remember I didn’t make up this “three weeks” thing. It’s what the experts said.

Should this pattern persist we’ll soon be planting first tomatoes in the unprotected garden around the last week of April instead of Mother’s Day!

I realize “mid-August” has passed, but if you’re so inclined – and given this year’s weather – I’d ­say you’ll be safe planting these for another week – maybe longer.

A while longer: beets, bush beans, rutabaga

Through August: Bibb lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, endive, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, snow peas, turnips, turnip greens

Through September: leaf lettuce, radishes, spinach

In the protected garden, planting and harvest can go on for some time to come. You can use polyethylene row covers to extend the harvest of frost-sensitive crops such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

The row cover traps heat and protects the plants from killing frosts but beware that on warm, sunny days the row cover must be ventilated to protect plants from excess heat.

For more information, review “Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky,”, or pick up a copy of the book at the Franklin County Extension Office.


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>Call or text (502) 682-5995 or call The State Journal at (502) 227-4556.

>My Twitter account is @plantingbysigns.

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