Planting by the signs: January at a glance

By Philip Case, Published:

Check it out folks: While it may be teeth-chattering cold, the days are getting longer by a couple of minutes each day and that’s nothing but good news as we’re now two weeks into winter and heading inexorably toward spring.

There’s not much you can do in your outdoor garden now other than plan for the upcoming season and perhaps get the plot plowed. As I wrote last week, it’s perfectly fine according to folk wisdom to plow even though the ground may be wet.

Just get it done before March blows in like a lion or arrives meekly like a lamb. Ground has plenty of time now to freeze and thaw — and that’s excellent when the gardening season begins.

Now, first here’s this week’s information about the phases of the moon and signs of the zodiac, followed by the overview for the rest of January since we’re already four-plus days in. 

No outdoor planting yet — but when February arrives in 26 short (but getting longer) days we’ll be talking about peas in your early garden!

This week

This week and through all but the last eight minutes of Jan. 15 finds the moon in the light phase, the new moon having come into force on New Year’s Day. This period is, of course, best suited for light-moon activities — and if you’re planting veggies in a greenhouse that would be above-ground producers.

Today and Monday find the sign in Pisces (the feet), one of the most fertile signs. But that changes Tuesday and Wednesday when the sign moves to Aries (the head), a killing sign when you don’t want to be fooling around with things you’d like to see survive.

The fertile sign Taurus (the neck) comes into force Thursday and continues a three-day run through Saturday. Then it’s two days of Gemini (the arms), the bean sign, Saturday and Jan. 12.

And, again, the moon is in the light phase all week.

Now, the rest-of-January overview.

The moon

As noted above, the moon began the month in the light phase that continues through 11:52 p.m. Jan. 15.  And, oddly enough, the last day and a half of the month are under the influence of the new moon, the second new moon of the month coming into force at 4:38 p.m. Jan. 30 and continuing until the dark moon on Valentine’s Day, 6:53 p.m.

Thus Jan. 16-29 are under the influence of the dark moon.

When the new — or light — moon rules, only light-moon activities. When the full — or dark  — moon rules, proceed only with dark-moon activities. 

Check “General Tips” for dark- and light-moon activities.

Light moon: Jan. 1-15; some of Jan. 30-Feb. 13.

Dark moon: Jan. 16 through most of Jan. 30.

The signs

Remember: 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: Pisces (the feet), Jan. 5-6; Taurus (the neck), Jan. 9-11; Cancer (the breast), Jan. 14-16; and Scorpio (the secrets), Jan. 24-25. There are 10 days 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 fencerows — anything but planting: Aires (the head), Jan. 7-8 and Leo (the heart), Jan. 17-18. There are four killing days, those ruled by either Aries or Leo.

So-so days: These aren’t particularly fertile nor destructive, just so-so: Sagittarius (the thighs), Jan. 26-27; Capricorn (the knees), Jan. 28-29; and Aquarius (the legs), Jan. 30-31. There are/were plenty of so-so days this month — 10 to be exact. Four of them have passed, Jan. 1-4.

Flowering days: These are “bloom days” and well suited for planting flowers — if there any we can plant now and there aren’t unless they are indoors. There are five “bloom days” this month: Virgo (the bowels), Jan. 19-21; Libra (the reins), Jan. 22-23.

Gemini days: Gemini rules the arms and is in force Jan. 12-13.

General tips

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

>If you have gravel to pour on a drive or roadway, do that in the light of the moon (through Jan. 15) 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.

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

>If 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.

>If 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 are going out of the body, past anything that “functions” so that means thighs, knees, legs and feet — Sagittarius through Pisces.

We have four full days and a piece of another perfectly suited, Jan. 26 and until 4 p.m. Jan. 30. On these days the moon will be in the dark phase and the sign in Sagittarius (the thighs) for two days, Capricorn (knees) for two and Aquarius (feet) for most of the 30th. All are signs ruling something that doesn’t function.

If you have elective surgery to schedule, there’s time and if you have changes to make there’s plenty of time to get yourself all psyched up to begin on the 26th. There’ll me more and more days that perfectly suit the formula each month now as we move through winter into spring!

How to be in touch

Here’s how to be in touch, get instant information or ask questions.

  • Email or
  • Call or text 502-682-5995 or call The State Journal at 502-227-4556.
  • My Twitter account is @plantingbysigns.

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