Planting by the Signs: Sadly, sometimes I am right...

By Philip Case, Published:

Sometimes I feel like a prophet shouting in the wilderness to no one in particular — other times, like a prophet, I’m actually right!

It has really seemed strange to be cautioning about not getting in a hurry to plant because the chances of frost and freezing weather haven’t passed, especially when we have days like we did last weekend.

Then, all of a sudden, comes a snap like we had Tuesday night and into the early morning hours Wednesday when snow fell, the skies cleared and the temperature plummeted.

Believe me, this is no laughing matter and something I hate being right about when the caution comes to fruition. Irrevocable damage to early veggies, flowers, trees and the fruit crop may have occurred.

Anyway, if you had things out and up and they were unprotected, chances are you lost or will lose them if they weren’t from the list below. And, if the temperature got into the mid-20s, you may have lost even some cool-weather lovers since they like cool weather, not cold weather!

Like every living thing, a good portion of a plant is water — and water freezes so when that happens the plant dies or is severely damaged.

There’s little we can do about it now other than embrace the fact that planting too early maybe isn’t the best idea since there’s always the chance what happened Tuesday night and Wednesday morning can happen again.

See Keenan Bishop’s column on page C4 of today’s Spectrum for analysis of the yet-to-be-determined damage.

You have time to plant veggies again if they were lost but, unfortunately, trees only bloom once each season. After the winter we’ve suffered through, the second ending of the chorus to that was just cruel — and there’s no guarantee it’s over yet.

Nonetheless, we press on.

Here’s what’s up for this week according to the signs of the zodiac and the phases of the moon.

The moon moved to the dark phase early Tuesday morning. It will remain there until the next new moon at 2:14 a.m. April 29. Until then plant only those veggies from the list below that produce below the ground.

The signs of the zodiac find us halfway through our monthly period of so-so signs that aren’t particularly fertile but aren’t killing signs either — just so-so. All, of course, will be in force during the time of the dark moon for below-ground producers if you want to plant.

While this isn’t the greatest time to plant, it is an excellent one to make changes — and when you add the two Pisces (feet) days on Thursday and Friday, you have several days remaining to start a diet or exercise program, schedule elective surgery or visit the dentist, stop smoking, wean small animals or children — anything requiring a change.

The moon is in the dark phase and the signs are going out of the body past anything that functions — knees through feet.

Specifically, Capricorn (knees) is in force today and Monday and Aquarius (legs) rules Tuesday and Wednesday. That ends the so-so days, then comes Pisces Thursday and Friday.

Pisces is one of the four most fertile signs so those two days will be great for planting below-ground producers and continuing your change making.

But this great period for making changes ends — along with planting — Saturday, next Sunday and Monday (April 26-28) when the sign moves to Aries (the head), one of the killing signs. Reserve these days for any gardening activity but planting.

And, while we’re at it we might as well finish up April. 

With the moon moving to the light phase at 2:14 a.m. April 29, the sign moves to Taurus that day, too, and April 30. Taurus is one of the most fertile signs and since the light moon rules it will be for above-ground producers, keeping in mind the statistical danger of frost won’t pass for, at minimum, another week (Derby Day) and to be safe two more weeks (Mother’s Day).

These cool nights — let alone freezes and snow — aren’t doing much to warm the soil fast. That said, don’t get in a hurry. The hot-weather veggies we love like tomatoes, beans, squash and corn are called that for a reason: they LOVE hot weather and warm ground.

Plant them when conditions aren’t approaching ideal and they’ll just sit and pout or not sprout and neither bodes well for a good outcome.

What to plant now

Here are veggies you can safely plant now if — and only if — your ground is dry.

According to Home Gardening in Kentucky you can plant: asparagus, Bibb lettuce plants, beets, cabbage, carrots, chard, collards, head lettuce, kale, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, onion sets and seeds, onion plants, parsley, parsnips, Irish potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, rutabaga, snow peas, spinach and turnips.

The book also says sweet corn after today and bush beans beginning Friday. You can plant them if you want, but neither is resistant to frost or freezes — let alone snow and mid-20s! — so think it over before planting.

You might have the earliest beans of the summer — or you could be replanting when the danger of such nasty weather will have statistically passed.

How to be in touch

Here’s how to be in touch, get instant information, ask questions, make comments or visit a platform for discussion.

  • Email or
  • Call or text 502-682-5995 or call The State Journal, 502-227-4556.
  • My Twitter account is @plantingbysigns. You can also visit
  • My Facebook is “Planting By Signs.”

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