Planting by the signs

September Overview

Here’s the information on the phases of the moon and signs of the zodiac for September.

Fall begins at 9:31 a.m. Sept. 22 with the Autumnal Equinox. As strange as this year has been, the changing of the seasons goes on as scheduled! Take comfort in that.

Ember days: Before we break down the month, I want to point out that Sept. 16, 18, 19 are all Ember Days when no planting should occur no matter what moon phase or sign is in force. No planting anywhere.

Moon phases: September began and ends with the light moon in force. The full (dark) moon arrived at 1:22 a.m. on Wednesday and will rule until the new (light) moon returns at 7 a.m. Sept. 17, continuing until the full moon at 5:05 p.m. on Oct. 1.

When the light moon is in force, plant above-ground producers and when the dark moon rules it’s below-ground producers, remembering that all planting now — other than radishes until Sept. 15 — must be in a cold frame, low-tunnel or where the produce can be protected from frost and freezing weather that’s sure to come.

I hope you enjoyed Wes Henry’s excellent piece last week on extending the gardening season on into the winter. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to give it a try and have fresh greens for salad at your Thanksgiving dinner. If you missed it, I’ll post it soon on my Planting by the Signs Facebook page, @plantingbysigns.

Check the signs and plant when one of the fertile signs rules in the proper phase of the moon depending on where the veggie will produce. Don’t plant when either of the killing signs, Aries or Leo, is in force and don’t plant veggies when the flowering signs, Virgo and Libra, rule. Planting in the so-so signs is a viable alternative to the fertile signs. They are Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius.

If you can only utilize one aspect of the system, I would suggest going with the moon phases but still avoid the killing signs for any planting and the flowering signs for anything but flowers.

The signs: Check to see if the moon is in the light or dark phase (information above) before proceeding with any planting anywhere, or other activities. September began with Pisces, a very fertile sign, so we’ll start with a look at the fertile signs.

Fertile days: The signs are accompanied by the phase of the moon in which they occur.

Taurus (the neck) rules Sept. 6-7, dark moon; Cancer (the breast), Sept. 11-12, dark moon; and Scorpio (the secrets), Sept. 19-20, light moon ruling; Pisces (the feet), Sept. 28-29, light moon.

There are eight days remaining in September ruled by the most fertile signs: Scorpio, Pisces, Taurus and Cancer. Sept. 19., however, is one of the Ember Days when no planting should occur reducing the overall remaining number to seven.

Killing days: No planting, transplanting or dealing with things you want to thrive should occur on these days. Reserve them for anything but planting anywhere — be that garden, greenhouse, pot or cold frame. No planting!

Here’s when they rule: Aries (the head) Friday and Saturday, and Sept. 30; and Leo (the heart), Sept. 13-14. There are five days remaining that are ruled by killing signs plus the three Ember Days. The simple math says that’s eight of the remaining 26 days in September.

Pea/bean days: Gemini (the arms) rules Sept. 8-10. Both pea and bean planting are over for this year.

Flowering days: Virgo (the bowels) rules Sept. 15-16; and Libra (the reins) is up for Sept. 17-18. There are four flowering days in September with two of them, 16 and 18, being Ember Days. So, all you have ideally for planting flowers are Sept. 15 and 17. These are “bloom days” and flowers planted when they rule should bloom and do so abundantly. Be cautious about planting veggies on flowering days since they tend to spend more time flowering than they do setting fruit. “Cautious” as in don’t do it.

So-so days: Sagittarius (the thighs), Sept. 21-22; Capricorn (the knees), Sept. 23-25; and Aquarius (the legs), Sept. 26-27. There are seven days this month — down from 10 in August — ruled by the so-so signs. The light moon is in force on all of them.

General tips

Making changes: There was only one day this month, Sept. 2, that perfectly fit the change formula with the moon in the dark phase and the signs going out of the body beyond anything that functions — and it has passed.

In my opinion, alternative days are Sept. 21-29. The light moon is moving toward the full moon on Oct. 1 with the so-so signs, Sagittarius/thighs through Aquarius/legs ruling, capped off by two Pisces/feet days, 28-29.

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

Pouring gravel: If you have gravel to pour on a drive or road on your farm, do that when the light moon rules, Sept. 17-30. 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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