Planting by the signs

The week ahead

A closer look at the week reveals what’s left of today (Friday) is ruled by the very fertile sign Pisces (the feet), one of the four most fertile signs. With the moon firmly situated in the dark phase, it’s below-ground producers you’ll want to plant.

This is the final perfect day this month for making changes too. Just be underway by Saturday when the sign moves to Aries, the head.

Changes might include stopping smoking, beginning a diet or exercise program, scheduling elective surgery, weaning small animals or children, castrating farm animals — anything that requires a change.

Back to planting: None should be happening Saturday or Sunday with Aries (the head) in force. Too bad it’s the weekend! Reserve these days for any gardening activity but planting. You may cultivate, weed, water, fertilize, clean out fencerows — anything but planting.

Monday through Wednesday, find a return to very fertile days with Taurus (the neck) ruling. On any of these days you may plant any below-ground producers.

Two Gemini (the arms) days are up for July 16-17. This is the perfect sign for beans and, according to the planting chart in "Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky," there’s still plenty of time for them to make it before cold weather and frost. Beans of course, produce above the ground and the moon is in the dark phase — but at least the signs half of the equation is perfect.

Most varieties of bush beans take about 50 days to mature from planting to harvest. And with the soil as warm as it is — assuming it’s not muddy — that puts the pickin’ along about the end of August. The chart says we can continue to plant beans up until July 25.

Moving toward fall

As strange as it seems with summer barely two weeks old, it’s time to start talking about what we can and can’t plant as we move toward shorter and cooler days.

I know planning is a challenge since many things we do these days seem to call for immediacy, but gardening isn’t one of them since gardens take planning. I refer regularly to the planting chart found in "Home Gardening in Kentucky" that’s published by the University of Kentucky Extension Service. The chart gives “earliest” and “latest” planting dates based on average frost and how long it takes veggies to reach maturity.

I suggest you stop by your local Extension Office or get a copy online. It contains plenty of great how-to gardening information, too.

We’ll take up more specifics next week. If you’re hoping to extend the gardening season into the fall, then the time to start planning what you’d like in that late garden is now.

Things it’s too late to plant (from the chart): lima beans, celery, sweet corn (after today), cucumbers, eggplant, muskmelons, onion plants and seed, parsley, parsnips, pepper plants, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, southern peas, tomato plants, watermelons, winter squash. Pretty extensive list — and it will grow each week.

Seems like just yesterday we were talking about the earliest dates we could plant in the spring.

Pouring gravel: I know I run this information every week, but one of the most often-asked questions is when to spread gravel on a drive or road on your farm. You want to do that when the light moon rules and for that you’ll need to wait until July 21 through Aug. 2. The 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 phase of the moon so the posts don’t sink.

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