PHIL’S NOTE: This material was published in the Frankfort, KY. State Journal on Sunday, April 16. First is a column about my first garden with my grandfather and then the information about the moon phases and zodiac signs for this week.
My first garden with Grandpa
Last week I wrote about the benefits of gardening for body, mind and soul. This week I want to follow up on that by recollecting my first gardening experience with my grandfather. I’ve written about it in this space before, but at this time of year I wax nostalgic for that time so long ago.
My maternal grandparents, the late Walker R. and Annie Addison, lived at the end of Price Avenue in north Lexington, KY., in the 1950s and ‘60s – maybe longer, but that’s all I can remember!
Next door was a company that made caskets crafted by Tubby, a delightful old carpenter. Across the street was a feed mill.
My family lived close and I visited my grandparents most every day from the time Mom would let me walk over by myself until I was in college.
That was a blessing I wish all children could have growing up.
One year when I guess I was 10 or so – a watershed time for me when I began a lawn-mowing business that lasted beyond college – I talked Grandpa into raising a garden. He was a mechanic by trade but had grown up on a farm so he knew something about gardening.
At that point, all I had was an interest.
Planning began in the late winter. The garden would be behind the garage with the two-plus story casket company looming on one side. We staked it off, probably 20 by 20 feet or so.
I would soon come to think that was a half-acre!
I’m sure Grandpa tired of hearing about the garden and was delighted when the days began to grow longer and warmer and we could put the “spading fork to the turf,” so to speak.
As we stood at the edge of what would become the garden one sunny March afternoon, I asked Grandpa how we were going to break up the sod before planting.
He was leaning on a spading fork, which he then pushed into the ground with his booted foot and turned over the sod. Then he did another “turn” or two – before handing the fork to me.
“There you are, Phil,” he said, a twinkle in his blue eyes. “Have at it.”
I was in shock.
“Isn’t there some easier way, Grandpa?” I asked, almost begging. “Some machine or something?” If there were roto-tillers then, and I imagine they were, they likely weighed a metric ton and he wasn’t about to spring for that to plow a 20x20-foot garden.
I started, my little 10-year-old-sneaker-clad foot trying to push the spading fork into the ground. Beyond that, I have no recollection other than somehow, we got the plot ready.
The first thing we planted were radish seeds since it was cool. I planted some of those in my garden a couple of weeks ago – and thought of Grandpa and that first garden.
“Why did you plant radishes, Dad?” Clark asked. “I don’t ever remember us eating radishes.” I just told him because I had the space and wanted to – and to remember Grandpa.
In that first garden, as those radish tops grew, I couldn’t resist the urge to peek and kept pulling them up to see how the radishes were developing.
“You’ve got to quit doing that, Phil,” Grandpa said. “We’ll never have any to eat.”
Spring morphed into summer and we planted everything imaginable, but for the life of me I can’t remember much of the harvest. That was 60 years ago after all. And it was about the planting, the tending, the working with Grandpa - not the yield.
The experience set me on a lifelong love of planting and gardening – and here we are today, some six decades later, talking about our 2017 gardens!
How time flies.
Moon in dark phase all week; signs so-so until weekend
Here’s a look at the phases of the moon and signs of the zodiac for the next week and a few days beyond.
The moon is in the dark phase now and will continue to rule until the new moon returns at 8:16 a.m. EDT on April 26.
During this time, be planting only those veggies that produce beneath the ground if you are following only the moon phases. Ideally, couple the right moon phase with a fertile sign for optimum results.
A look at the signs reveals that Wednesday and Thursday are ruled by the final of the so-so signs, Aquarius (the legs).
The very fertile sign Pisces (the feet) comes to rule on Friday and Saturday and that will be for below-ground producers with the moon still in the dark phase.
While the so-so series isn’t the greatest for planting, it is great for making changes like weaning small animals or children, stopping smoking, starting a diet or exercise program, scheduling elective surgery – anything that calls for a change.
The signs are going out of the body past anything that functions – knees through feet - with the moon in the dark phase. When the two Pisces (feet) day are added, that makes four days prime for making changes remaining!
If you have a change to make, through April 22 is an ideal time.
Now back to the signs for a moment. If you are making a change or if you are planting, be underway with the change or have the planting done by Sunday when the sign moves to Aries (the head), one of the two killing signs. It remains in Aries on April 24, too.
Use these days for tilling, cultivating, weeding – anything but planting.
Very fertile planting then returns on April 25-26 when the sign moves to Taurus (the neck), one of the most fertile signs. The moon will be in the dark phase on the 25th, moving to the light phase on the 26th.
A great series of planting days begins April 25 through May 1, all for above-ground producers except April 25. More about that next week, just get ready to plant.