Planting by the Signs: September at a glance

By Philip Case Published:

For those of you planting your garden by the phases of the moon and signs of the zodiac, here is the information for September.

As dry as it is, I’m about at the point of saying that unless you plan to irrigate, then planting now is a waste of time and money since if you have to invest in “city water” to make it grow then that investment may not be worth the return.

If, on the other hand, you’re planting in containers that don’t take much water, then some of these cool-weather veggies might do nicely. Or if former-Hurricane Isaac brings/brought us some rain, then there may be hope for all fall gardens, not to mention pastures and yards.

That said, the call of course is up to you. All I provide is the information and the obvious: Stuff don’t grow without water!

Remember, too, that no matter how warm it is now the days are getting increasingly shorter and the air and ground will eventually cool. All planting – if you are planting – must look toward fall.


September began and ends with the moon in the dark phase, the full moon having come into force on the last day of August. The dark moon will continue to rule through most of Sept. 15, with the light moon coming into force at 10:11 p.m. that day and continuing until the full moon (Harvest Moon) returns very late on Sept. 29, 11:19 p.m.

When the dark moon is in force, plant those veggies that produce beneath the ground. Then when the light moon rules, those that produce above the ground. The demarcation of those changes is clear this month since changes from dark to light and back from light to dark moon occur late on the change days.

Dark moon days: Through most of Sept. 15, then Sept. 30 (unless you plan to plant during the last 41 minutes of Sept. 29) through Oct. 14, plant below-ground producers.

Light moon days: Sept. 16 through most of Sept. 29, plant above-ground producers.


Check to see if the moon is in the light or dark phase (information above) before proceeding with planting or other activities, indoors or out.

Fertile signs: the most fertile signs in the zodiac rule these days: Sept. 2, 28-30 Pisces (the feet); Taurus (the neck), Sept. 6-7; Cancer (the breast), Sept. 10-11; and Scorpio (the secrets), Sept. 19-20. There are 10 days remaining this month ruled by the fertile signs: Scorpio, Taurus, Pisces and Cancer.

Killing signs: No planting, transplanting, or dealing with things you want to thrive should occur on these days. Reserve them for cultivating, cleaning out fence rows – anything but planting: Aries (the head), Sept. 3-5 and Leo (heart), Sept. 12-13. There are five killing days, those ruled by either Aries or Leo.

So-so days: These days aren’t particularly fertile nor destructive, just so-so. Here’s the breakdown, and since they occur in the latter half of the month they are in the order they proceed down the body – thighs through legs:

Sagittarius (thighs), Sept. 21-23; Capricorn (knees) Sept. 24-25; and Aquarius (legs) Sept. 26-27. There are seven days in September ruled by so-so signs – down from 11 in August and a record 12 in July, if you’re keeping score.

Flowering days: These are “bloom days” and well suited for flowers as well as blooming things in the greenhouse or for the house: Virgo (the bowels), Sept. 14-15 and Libra (reins), Sept. 16-18. There are five days this month ruled by the two flowering signs, Virgo and Libra, all with the light moon in force.

Gemini days: Gemini rules the arms and is in force on Sept. 8-9. Gemini days are specifically “bean days” and, alas, we won’t be talking about beans much before late April of 2013, but then there are peas in late February so all isn’t lost. For now, just celebrate the days as “Gemini Days!”


Again, here are a few general tips for activities other than planting:

nIf you have gravel to pour on a drive or roadway, do that in the light of the moon so the gravel won’t sink. Same applies for stones on a garden path: Place them when the moon is in the light phase so they don’t sink. Check above for the right days.

nIf you’re setting fence posts, do that in the light of the moon so the posts don’t sink.

nIf you’re putting on a new shingle roof, do that when the moon’s in the dark phase so that the shingles stick down and don’t curl up on the ends.

nIf you have changes to make like stopping smoking, starting a diet or exercise program, weaning small animals or children, scheduling elective surgery – anything that requires a change – here’s the formula: The moon in the dark phase and the signs going out of the body, past anything that “functions” so that means thighs, knees, legs and feet – Sagittarius through Pisces.

Alas, there were only three days this month when the perfect formula rules – and all are truly perfect for making changes and since if you’re reading this today (Sunday), one of them is about gone. Remaining days are what’s left of today, Monday, Sept. 2 and then Sept. 30.

The moon is in the dark phase on each of those days and the sign is in Pisces (the feet), which is certainly a “non-functioning sign” unlike the core body signs (Aries through Scorpio), and about as far out of the body as you’re going to get!

May be a little tough to schedule elective surgery, however, since two of the remaining days are Sundays (today and Sept. 30) and the other is a holiday, Labor Day.

The good news is if you have an emergency and have to have surgery on any of these days, the sign and moon will be perfect!

There are other days where we can get half the formula so if you have specific questions, be in touch and we’ll see what we can come up with.


>Email or

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

>My Twitter account is @plantingbysigns where each day I provide information regarding the phase of the moon and sign of the zodiac for that day.


For those of you who don’t want to read the entire September Overview column now, here’s a quick summary of the week ahead:

The moon is in the dark phase now and will remain there through most of Sept. 15. This is for below-ground producers.

The sign today is in the very fertile sign Pisces (the feet) for below-ground producers. All planting should cease Monday through Wednesday when the sign moves to Aries (the head), a killing sign. Any gardening activity but planting!

The fertile sign Taurus (the neck) comes to rule Thursday and Friday with the moon still in the dark phase. Again, it’s below-ground producers with the eye totally on fall. Gemini (the arms) rules Saturday and next Sunday. That’s the bean sign and it’s getting a little late – even with the most optimistic expectations – to plant beans.

If you have changes to make like starting a diet or exercise program, stopping smoking, weaning small animals or children, then today is your only day that perfectly fits the dark moon/signs going out of the body formula until Sept. 30. Don’t wait until Monday when the sign returns to Aries (the head).

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