Overlapping and interacting with the cycle of waxing and waning is the particular zodiac sign the moon is in at any time. Moon phase is always important but in some traditions—especially the Appalachian system of planting by the signs described in the Foxfire books—preference is given to sign. The late Louise Riotte was taught a nearly-identical zodiac planting technique by her father, himself an immigrant to the US from Germany’s vineyard-rich Rhine Valley.
Once you’ve gotten the basics of planting by the moon’s phases, you may want to incorporate planting by the signs. Consider:
- combine the ideal phase AND sign for peak performance of your favorite fresh-eating vegetables, or to boost seed production when growing out from a small number of seeds
- offset a less favorable moon quarter by planting under a more favorable moon sign
- schedule a range of garden chores (weeding, pruning, etc) to their preferred sign to make the best of every day
The moon transits from one sign to the next every few days, and over the course of a month will go through all twelve—Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.
Each sign is associated with a different element and corresponding part of the plant: earth (roots), water (leaves), air (flowers), and fire (fruit). In general, water are the most productive signs, followed by earth. Air and fire signs can be beneficial for particular crops, but are mostly used for harvesting, weeding, and cultivating.
Between signs the moon is “void of course,” a wonderful time for both you and your garden to rest. Pick a comfortable place to sit and enjoy the beauty growing all around you!