Here's the planting by the phases of the moon and signs of the zodiac overview for October. Remember all times given are Eastern Daylight Time.
October begins and ends with the moon in the light phase. The light moon rules until the full (or dark) moon comes to rule at 6:51 a.m. Oct. 8. During this period plant only those things that produce above the ground — except don’t plant at all, anywhere, when one of the killing signs — Aries (the head) or Leo (the heart) — rules.
The full or dark moon rules until the new — or light — moon returns at 5:57 p.m. Oct. 23. During this period plant only those veggies that produce below the ground — except, again, when Aries or Leo is in force; those dates are below.
Light moon: Plant above ground producers through Oct. 7, then Oct. 24 until the full moon 5:23 p.m. Nov 6.
Dark moon: Plant below ground producers most of Oct. 8 and until 5:57 p.m. Oct. 23.
Check “General Tips” for dark- and light-moon activities.
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.
Fertile signs: The most fertile signs in the zodiac rule these days: Scorpio (the secrets), Oct. 24-25; Pisces (the feet), Oct. 5-6; Taurus (the neck), Oct. 10-11; and Cancer (the breast), Oct. 14-15. There are eight days this month (the minimum) ruled by the fertile signs —Pisces, Taurus, Cancer and Scorpio.
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: Aires (the head), Oct. 7-9 and Leo (the heart), Oct. 16-18. There are six killing days ruled by either Aries or Leo. Don’t plant when these signs are in force. It's a good thing this isn’t a big planting month since there are almost as many killing as fertile days!
So-so days: These aren’t particularly fertile nor destructive, just so-so — and we have “plenty of so-so” this October and in November, too: Sagittarius (the thighs), Oct. 26-27; Capricorn (the knees), Oct. 1-2, 28-30; and Aquarius (the legs), Oct. 3-4, 31 and Nov. 1. There are 10 days ruled by the three so-so signs.
Flowering days: These are “bloom days” and well suited for planting your fall flowers — and you don’t need to worry about frosts or freezes since you’re likely not eating them and when the last freeze hits they’re done anyway. Virgo (the bowels) will rule Oct. 19-21; and Libra (the reins) is up for Oct. 22-23. Just like September, there are five flowering days this month.
Gemini days: Gemini rules the arms and is in force Oct. 12-13. These are bean days but we are past the time to safely plant beans.
Again, here are a few general tips for activities other than planting:
>If you have gravel to pour on a drive or roadway, do that in the light of the moon, Oct. 1 through most of Oct. 7 and Oct. 24 through most of Nov. 5. 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, most of Oct. 8 (after 6:51 a.m.) through most of Oct. 23 (before 5:57 p.m.) On the “most of” the actual time of the change occurs when it's still dark or almost dark — and there’s not much roofing done in the dark!
>If you have changes to make like stopping smoking, starting a diet or exercise program, weaning small animals or children, scheduling elective surgery — anything that requires a change — here’s the formula: The moon in the dark phase and the signs are going out of the body, past anything that “functions” so that means thighs, knees, legs and feet — Sagittarius through Pisces.
There are no days in October that perfectly fit the formula.
In my opinion, the alternative to “perfect days” are days when the signs are going out of the body past anything that functions, even if the moon is in the light phase. In October that would be Oct. 1-6 (Capricorn through Pisces) and then Oct. 26-Nov. 3.
As you see, there are plenty of second-choice days: signs going out of the body past anything that functions with the light moon in force. Fifteen, in fact, if you count Nov. 3!
Cleaning up the garden
For those of you in the soon-to-be cold areas, here are some tips for winter.
Properly tucking your garden in for winter is almost as important as preparing it for planting in the spring, even if it’s not nearly as much fun! Spent plants can be cozy homes for all sorts of little nasties, so it’s best to get those plants off the garden.
Here are your options:
>First, leave the garden and its plants as they are and plow them under in the spring. Arguably, dead tomato plants hanging on stakes, like a field of vegetative scarecrows, aren’t too attractive but leaving them and other garden detritus is pretty easy to do also. This is the worst option — while the simplest — since those bugs and diseases don’t even have to move to overwinter!
>Second, mow down the plants and plow them under. Sounds like a good idea but, while a bit better than leaving them stand and a lot more sightly, it just gives the bugs and baddies a ride below ground where they hang out until next spring.
>Third, pull the plants up and get them off the garden spot, plant a cover crop of winter wheat or turnips, let that get established and then turn them under or wait until spring to do that. Result: nitrogen with no bugs!
The important thing, even if the plot stands barren over the winter, is to get the old plants off the garden and dispose of them. That is the only way to ensure bugs and disease don’t overwinter successfully — and even with that there may be some that hide out in the soil.
How to be in touch
Here’s how to be in touch, get instant information or ask questions.
>Call or text 502-682-5995.
>My Twitter account is @plantingbysigns.
>Visit my Facebook page, Planting by the Signs.