Gardening Folklore?

xtreme_gardener(1b)November 27, 2006

Does any of you garden by the moon phases or the solstices etc...?

I have always been interested in putting these into practice but haven't yet. It seems like planting and weeding around here happen when I happen to get out there! I'd love to know more about the "rules" and which ones you've tried or have been told about and if they worked or whatever...

My grandfather told me if you want to kill quack grass, cover it with black plastic in the dark of the moon. I think I read once that it applies to weeding in general.


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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

Interesting subject. By the "dark of the moon" does that mean on nights when there's no moon?

I don't have much in the way of folklore, but I do recall my Mom telling me that the weather we have during a full moon will generally continue until the next full moon. For example, if it's cloudy, rainy and unseasonably cool and there's a full moon, that trend will generally continue until the next full moon.

I do like the whole folklore surrounding plants. For example, an elder planted near a house will protect the house from lightning.

Not really folklore, but my Mom always says that whenever there's an East wind there's going to be a storm. I think that's actually based on science, however, as our wind is usually out of the South, West or Northwest. The only time you really see winds from the east is during a major storm.

Interesting topic!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 1:06AM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

LOL, black plastic at any moon phase will kill the quack grass ;)

I'm not a firm believer in folklore, but there must be some truth to the effects of the moon.

I know when there is a full moon, some of our patients are nuts at the place I work at!

One I often hear from the old folks is that when a hoar frost happens, this usually means that it will rain in 6 months.
All I can say is don't put out the sprinkler on that day ;)


    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 1:39AM
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luv2gro(z3a AB)

What is it that they always talk about on the WS forum for the winter solstice? I never could get enough info on that from anyone there to understand what they were talking about. Does anyone know? It always sounded like an interesting theory.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 7:04AM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

My mom always swore by the moon phases. Above ground plants are better planted in the light of the moon and root crops in the dark. She always thinks that i follow this, but i just plant whenever i get a chance!

There's always interesting weather folklore. The old "red sky at night" one really seems to be true. I think a lot of them, while maybe not based on science, reflect science.

Shauna, i think over at the WS forum, they just adopted the winter solstice as a day to start planting. That might work down there, but we should have a different day! The vernal equinox (March) might be too late. Too bad there isn't one inbetween. Maybe we could figure out the halfway point between winter and spring and start planting then!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 3:10PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

No, I don't subscribe to folklore, but a Mountain Ash tree in the garden attracts beneficial fairies. It's true! ;0)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 10:27AM
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Have you seen them, Gil? :^) I think there's a ton of folklore associated with Mountain Ash Trees. They are a nice tree...hmmm, I wonder if I planted one by the kitchen window, if the dish fairie would move in? Always worth a try...

Glen, I'm glad you think this is interesting, too. The light of the moon is from New Moon to Full Moon (growing lighter)and the dark of the moon is Full Moon to the New Moon (getting darker). Right now we're in the light of the moon. My MIL is always comparing weather and moon phases, too. She always says it will change with a full moon. That would be an easy enough one to try and follow. Next full moon is on Dec. 5th. We've defineately had lots of stormy, cloudy and cold weather since the last full moon...will you remember to post about it, so we can see if it changes...and stays? It can only get better from here on! :^)

I think you're right, Marcia, that folklore reflects science. Years of observation, mixed with some superstition. No hard and fast science, but generally true. (well, ok I'm not sure about the fairies!) I'm thinking a lot of weather and gardening folklore based on the moon is due more to gravitational pull than anything? Like how it dictates the tides. I'm no scientist, though.
I was just reading in the Farmer's Almanac about when to plant what crops. That seems like it would be easy enough to try...

Sharon, Ive heard that too about hoar frost and rain. I know around here in past years with normal to high rainfall we've had lots of it, but the last 2-3 years that have been very dry with generally low precipitation all year there's been hardly enough to notice.

We hear the coyotes and wolves howling more on full moons for sure, not necesarily every full moon, but there's definately a trend there.

I read somewhere...that timing your weeding with the moon (can't remember which phase, but maybe the dark of the moon, too) can really cut down on the amount of weeding you do. I think it said if you time it right than the regrowth is minimal.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 12:46PM
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My DH's grandma was a great one for gardening lore. Here's a few: It will rain or snow 90 days after a fog; the weather on each of the the first 12 days after Christmas (or is it New Year's) will match each month of the year; there is always a storm around the spring and fall equinox. I do watch for full moons in spring and fall - a clear full-moon night is often very calm, which is a good time for early/late frosts. My grandpa always said to plant your glad corms out when the buds swell on the poplars - this does work, it's usually fairly early, but the ground is thawed.
I must confess, I've been lurking, not writing lately.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 2:13PM
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Those are great Connie! Especially the 12 days of Christmas one.

I was thinking this subject might be something to motivate me to keep up my garden journal over the winter...Toots

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 10:20PM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

Anyone got a pig to test this folklore?

Here is a link that might be useful: How to predict the weather using a pig spleen

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 3:35PM
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alalbertaz2b(z2 AB)

I have a buddy who reads the spleen on a deer that he hunts in the fall. He usually hits it pretty close every winter. Usually he just predicts the winter in very broad terms. He was right on last year. He told me not to expect much snow and he was right. This year he says the winter will be a bit colder with better than average amount of snow but not a huge amount. It is going to be interesting to see how accurate he will be. According to the weather idiots who give us the weather it is supposed to mild winter influenced by El Nino', so we will see.

Cheers Al

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 9:13PM
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There is a holiday halfway between winter solstice and vernal equinox -- Candlemas, February 1. It isn't celebrated much anymore except by those of Irish descent, Orthodox Christians and Wiccans. Nowadays in North America, people go by Groundhog Day, February 2.

In Alberta, Candlemas might still be too early to start winter-sowing; we usually get a cold snap or two between Jan. 15 - Feb 15. Not sure how it'd do for Ontario, though :)p

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 2:50PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

My son's birthday is on Groundhog Day - would be an easy date to remember! :)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 11:02PM
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northerngirlz3(z3 MN)

Hi there,
This is an interesting subject - I can't just lurk, I gotta post on this one!!
A few I've heard of are:

When the sunshine is hot, and the shadows are cold, there is frost in the air.

All grain and all vegetables and fruits that produce above ground in the light of the moon (time of the new moon to the full moon). All root crops (potatoes, carrots etc) in the dark of the moon (time of the full moon to the new moon).

Wind never blows unless there's a storm within 1000 miles.

Cumulus clouds (big puffy ones like marshmellows) move from fair weather to stormy weather, while cirrus (the high wispy ones) move from stormy to fair weather.

I love that link to the pig spleen - I have an older friend that I sent it to, he always seems to know all the old-time tricks.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 10:17AM
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I love it!

Sharon, keep yours eyes peeled for a 2007 spleen forecast!

I forgot to post about our weather on the full moon until definately changed!! The previous two to three weeks had been soooo coooold and stormy but now we've even had a few days above zero and definately more sun and less snow. It started to wartm up a couple days before the moon was full on the 5th. So far so good! Fingers are crossed it will stay at least until the next full moon :^)


    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 8:30PM
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andyvancleve(z5 Albany, NY)

I have grown plants in many different hardiness zones from 3 to 7 and there's always someone around who's a little nutty. It should be noted that most of these "nuts" are nicer than the local "sane" people.
I met an old woman who grows herbs by the light of the moon, naked (that may be fine for herbs but I wouldn't suggest roses). New Guinea farmers were said to determine when it was time to plant by dropping their pants and sitting on the ground. If it was to cold to sit it was to early to plant. I would think it never got that cold in New Guinea.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 4:11PM
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old_virginny(z7 VA)

My great-uncle used to say that it always rains at the
end of a drought.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 10:46PM
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ROTFL! I had hoped this was going to be an interesting thread! Too funny, Andy.

Virginny, you gotta love just pure common sense, eh! LOL!

Glen, Mild weather trend is still holding around here and we are now into the light of the moon. A couple weeks till the next full moon and my fingers are still crossed it will hold that long!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 7:27PM
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We had a snowstorm yesterday afternoon and the full moon is tonight...close to schedule. The warm sunny trend definately hung on from the last full moon till this one. I hope the storm was not a foreshadowing of what January will be like. It still hasn't turned cold and today is sunny again. Has it been the same elsewhere?

Here's a picture I caught this morning of the almost full moon looked so huge!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 4:41PM
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Laurie_z3_MB(sw MB)

What an awesome picture Toots! Today, here it got to +5, so I could handle that for a few weeks.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 5:34PM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

For sure that is one awesome photo of the moon Toots.....the weather is so mild here too. Yesterday it reached up to +7°C but windy.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 1:04AM
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Thanks Laurie and Sharon. Its fun to finally be able to share some photos.

Its very windy here to. I think that's what is keeping it from not getting to cold (Winds are south and west). The nights are cooler than before though. Last night when we went to bed it was -18C and this morning the wind picked up and before daylight it was already up to -5C. Wierd. I am enjoying the bright moonlit evenings though!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 4:05PM
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gorgeous picture Toots!..I have been enjoying the milder temps too..anybody else getting a restless feeling?..savona

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 10:36PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Grrr Toots our weather changed from warm to freezing cold because of that moon... nice pic though!

Back to the fairies... of course I have seen them, capering about, watering and fertilizing my plants, pruning the fruit trees; they are good little fairies. I think it was that day I ate something really moldy from the back of the fridge that I saw them. LOL I have a new dish fairy, it is Frigidaire brand and I feed it Electrosol tabs.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 12:41PM
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Laurie_z3_MB(sw MB)

LOL! I LOVE my Frigidaire Fairy! She's the best ;^)

On the other hand, I'm not liking the weather fairy now, as they're predicting a high of -29 by the weekend. Brrrr........

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 4:39PM
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Oh man, here too! Aaack! Except drop that a few more degrees :^(

Gil, I'll have to keep my eyes peeled this year! Hmmm...I wonder what they eat...maybe I could derive a feeder of some sort :^)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 11:57PM
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Hi, I have learned so much about gardening from this forum and I am very interested in Gardening by the Moon. But I have a few questions. Do I have to start my seeds on a certain day even though I am starting them inside, in potting soil, under artificial light? Also do I have to transplant the seedlings on a certain day? Does this just apply to seeds or plants planted outside in the ground or to all planting?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 3:46PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I think it applies to both seeding and planting, but i couldn't say for sure, Helen. And i don't know about planting indoors - never thought to test the theory. I plant when i can - don't have the luxury of waiting for the right time of the moon like my mother did. :)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 10:07PM
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I am compiling an open resource of gardening folklore on my website blog,
If anybody wants to add to it, please email me and I will add it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Guy Deakins Blog

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 2:29PM
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A older hired farm hand had once pointed out the Big Dipper and said that because it was tilted as it was, that this meant we were to get rain. I said WHAT, then the entire world, or at least the whole northern hemisphere was to get rain? ... of course, which is not possible ... well, maybe back in Noah's day.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 8:45PM
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