Here’s my August overview containing all you need to know about planting your garden by the phases of the moon and signs of the zodiac. If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to be in touch.
Below I’ve included a bit about fall gardens, too. Here at the height of summer and the harvest season we have to be aware of what’s coming for our late plantings.
All times given are Eastern Daylight Saving and information is for USDA Planting Zone 6A. Just adjust accordingly to where you are.
August began – but just barely - and ends with the moon in the dark phase. The full – or dark - moon rules until 4:45 p.m. EDT Aug. 2 when the new moon – or no moon visible in the sky at first – comes to rule.
The light moon is in force until the full moon returns at 5:27 a.m. Aug. 18, and rules until the new moon at 5:03 a.m. on Sept. 1.
And can you believe it: Here we are already talking about September!
“General Tips” for dark- and light-moon activities are below and for veggies, it’s above-ground producers in the light moon and below-ground producers when the dark phase is in. See below, too, about perfect days for making changes.
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.
August begins with the killing sign Leo (the heart) in force so that is where we will begin, too. This month has far too many killing signs for me – five ruled by Leo and two by Aries (the head).
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: Leo (the heart), Aug. 1-3, 29-30 and Aries (the head), Aug. 20-21.
Flowering days: These are “bloom days” and well suited for planting flowers. If you plant on these bloom days and take care of the flowers, you will have a real show. Virgo (the bowels), rules Aug. 4-5 and 31; and Libra (the reins) is in force Aug. 6-8. There are six flowering days this month.
Fertile signs in order of appearance this month: Scorpio (the secrets), Aug. 9-10; Pisces (the feet), Aug. 18-19; Taurus (the neck), 22-23; and Cancer (the breast), Aug. 26-28. Nine days this month are ruled by the most fertile signs — Scorpio, Pisces, Taurus and Cancer.
So-so days: These aren’t particularly fertile nor destructive, just so-so. They are in this order: Sagittarius (the thighs), Aug. 11-13; Capricorn (the knees), Aug. 14-15; and Aquarius (the legs), Aug. 16-17. There are seven days in August ruled by the three so-so signs with the moon moving from the light to the dark phase on Aug. 18 at 5:27 a.m.
Gemini days: Gemini (the arms) rules Aug. 24-25. Gemini is the “bean sign.” Both of these days are with the dark moon in force and we know beans produce above the ground. But if you want to take a chance, at least half the formula is right. Just remember beans love hot weather and are not frost resistant.
Here are a few general tips for activities other than planting:
>If you have gravel to pour on a drive or roadway, do that when the light moon rules beginning Aug. 3 through Aug. 17. 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 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. Originally that applied to cedar shakes, and still does, but it is just as valid for modern asphalt roofs since we want them to adhere to the sheeting below.
>The number of perfect days for making changes continues to dwindle. With the moon changing phases on the 18th at 5:27 a.m. that gives us most of that day and all of the 19th. The moon will then be dark and the sign in Pisces (the feet). Just be underway by Aug. 20-21 when Aries (the head) comes to rule. And remember: It only takes ONE DAY to start making a change.
So, if you have changes to make like weaning babies or small animals, scheduling elective surgery – not emergency surgery since that usually can’t be scheduled - stopping smoking, starting a diet or exercise program then you have a small window that is perfect this month.
Throughout this column I’ve been mentioning fall gardens. I’m sure those of you who garden regularly know that of which I speak, but it never hurts to be reminded.
Of course if you’re in an area where the seasonal change isn’t as dramatic, then adjust accordingly.
Many of the same veggies we plant in the spring when the days are getting longer, the air and soil getting warmer, do well on the other end of the season as the days get shorter and the soil and air cool.
It may seem silly to talk about it now in the heat of summer but we just have to remember when they will be growing toward maturity and the average date of first frost is now less than three months (90 days) away.