Planting by the Signs: Moon in light phase; fertile signs in force

By Philip Case, Published:

Ah, the Lovely Month of May, when we can stop talking about frost, snow, freezing weather and the like and focus our attention on what we all love most and that is, together now: GARDENING!

I hope your plans include doing your planting by the phases of the moon and signs of the zodiac. And, this includes ALL planting — seeds, transplants and flowers; inside and out; truck garden or pot on the porch.

And while a few days of the month have passed, here’s the remainder of the month.

The moon

The month began with the new moon in force and it continues to rule until the full moon at 3:16 p.m. May 14. The dark (full) moon will then be in force until the next new (light) moon at 2:40 p.m. May 28, which will then rule until the full moon at 12:11 a.m. June 13.

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.

And, of course, when it comes to planting, above-ground producers in the light moon and below ground producers when the dark moon rules.

Light moon: Though May 13, returning May 28.

Dark moon: All but four hours of May 15 through May 27.

We won’t deal with parts of days this month since the phase changes occur in the middle of the day.

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: Cancer (the breast), today, Monday and May 31; Scorpio (the secrets), May 13-14; Pisces (feet), May 22-23; and Taurus (the neck), May 26-27. There are eight full days remaining this month, ruled by the fertile signs — Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces and Scorpio.

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: Leo (the heart), May 6-7; and Aries (the head), May 24-25. There are only four killing days this month, the absolute minimum and that’s what we need in the planting month of May since we have to have some — the absolute minimum!

So-so days: These aren’t particularly fertile nor destructive, just so-so: Sagittarius (the thighs), May 15-16; Capricorn (the knees), May 17-18; and Aquarius (the legs), May 19-21. There are seven days this month ruled by the so-so signs, May 15-21. While not the best for planting, see below for what they are good for — especially with the dark moon in force.

Flowering days: These are “bloom days” and well suited for planting flowers. There are five bloom days this month: Virgo (the bowels), May 8-10 and Libra (the reins), May 11-12.

Gemini days: Gemini rules the arms and is in force May 28-30. These are bean days and all are in the light of the moon. Neighbors, it doesn’t get any better than that if you love beans — and few don’t!

Two perfect bean days remaining during the month of May! Bring me a mess or two because if you plant beans on these days and take care of them you’ll have more than you can eat, can and freeze so you might as well give some to your friends. And, I’m your friend!

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 May 13 and from May 29 through June 12) 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. While this originally applied to cedar shakes, it is nonetheless applicable to modern shingles since the idea is for them to stick down, too, to keep the nasties outside!

>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 nine full days again this month perfectly suited, May 15-23. On these days the moon will be in the dark phase and the sign in Sagittarius (the thighs), Capricorn (knees), Aquarius (legs) and Pisces (feet) respectively. 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 18th, at least before the 26th.

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 at 502-227-4556.
  • My Twitter account is @plantingbysigns. You can also visit and join in more detailed discussion on my blog found there.
  • My Facebook is “Planting By Signs” and it’s devoted to general gardening with an emphasis on utilizing the phases of the moon and signs of the zodiac.

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