Planting by the Signs: August at a glance

By Philip Case, Published:

If you’re planting your garden according to the phases of the moon and signs of the zodiac — coupled with other good gardening practices of course — here’s the information for August.

Remember to check the list here — which is short for August — for those veggies that can be safely planted in the unprotected outdoor garden and have some statistical hope of making it to harvest.

And remember gardening doesn’t have to end now. With the use of cold frames and other protection, it can be extended far into the fall, even the early winter.

The moon

August begins and ends with the moon in the light phase. The light moon, which came into force July 26, will continue to rule until the full (or dark) moon comes to rule at 2:09 p.m. Aug. 10. During this period plant only those things that produce above the ground — except don’t plant at all when one of the killing signs, Aries (the head) or Leo (the heart) rules.

The full or dark moon rules until the new — or light — moon returns at 10:13 a.m. Aug. 25. During this period plant only those veggies that produce below the ground — except, again, when Aries or Leo is in force; those dates are below.

Light moon: Plant above ground producers through Aug. 9, then Aug. 26 until 9:38 p.m. Sept. 8.

Dark moon: Plant below ground producers Aug. 11 until the light moon returns at 10:13 a.m. Aug. 25.

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

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: Scorpio (the secrets), Aug. 3-4, 30-31; Pisces (the feet), Aug. 12-13; Taurus (the neck), Aug. 16-17; and Cancer (the breast), Aug. 20-22. There are 11 days this month ruled by the fertile signs — Scorpio, Pisces, Taurus 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), Aug. 14-15 and Leo (the heart), Aug. 23-24. There are four killing days ruled by either Aries or Leo — and that, blessedly, is the minimum. Don’t plant when these signs are in force.

So-so days: These aren’t particularly fertile nor destructive, just so-so: Sagittarius (the thighs), Aug. 5-7; Capricorn (the knees), Aug. 8-9; and Aquarius (the legs), Aug. 10-11. There are seven days this ruled by the three so-so signs.

Flowering days: These are “bloom days” and well suited for planting flowers. Libra (the reins) is up for Aug. 1-2, 28-29 while Virgo (the bowels) will rule Aug. 25-27. There are seven flowering days this month.

Gemini days: Gemini rules the arms and is in force Aug. 18-19. These are bean days but we are past the time to safely plant beans since they cannot stand cold weather or frost.

What can be planted

Here’s the updated list of what can still be planted in the unprotected outdoor garden and have a statistical hope of making it to harvest. If you don’t see the veggie on the list from Home Gardening in Kentucky published for the Cooperative Extension Service by the University of Kentucky, then statistically it’s too late.

Last day is Aug. 1: broccoli plants, collards, kale, kohlrabi, Bibb lettuce plants, parsley, radishes, snow peas, spinach, summer squash and turnips.

Last day is Aug. 15: Leaf lettuce

In September: Spinach, Sept. 1; radishes, Sept. 15; 

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, Aug. 1-9 and beginning the afternoon of Aug. 25 through Sept. 4 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.

Here are your perfect days this month: Aug. 11-13. On these days the moon will be in the dark phase and the signs going out of the body — one Aquarius day and two ruled by Pisces — since the other two, Sagittarius and Capricorn, are in the light phase. There are three full days this month — and late in the afternoon of Aug, 10, too — to start making changes or time to schedule elective surgery.

Phases, signs for this week

Since most of this week is in July, here’s what’s up through this week. Then you will have the August overview for the rest of your planning.

The moon is in the light phase now, the new moon having come to rule on Saturday. Until the full moon at 2:09 p.m. Aug 10, plant only above-ground producers from the list elsewhere here.

According to the signs, what’s left of today and Monday are under the influence the killing sign Leo (the heart) when no planting should be happening. Then comes a series of flowering signs beginning with three Virgo (the bowels) days, Tuesday through Thursday followed by a pair of Libra Days on Friday and Saturday.

As I write each and every time these days roll around, they are “bloom days” and much better suited for planting flowers than veggies since bloom is what things do on these days.

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.
  • Visit my Facebook page, Planting by the Signs.

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