The Zodiac Man

One of the main tools in the almanac calendar, or any farmer's almanac for that matter, is the use of the Zodiac signs. For centuries people have interpreted the influence that the sun and moon have while they are in specific zodiacal signs on their everyday lives. The Zodiac Man helps us to determine that influence.

There are 12 Zodiac signs and they received their name in ancient times from the constellation in that portion of the Heavens. Each sign is supposed to "rule" a certain part of the body. The signs and the body parts they "rule".

Ram - Aries - rules the head and face.....includes sinus, teeth, eyesight, etc.

Twins - Gemini - rules the arms, hands, and shoulders....also governs the lungs and nervous system.

Lion - Leo - rules the heart....also governs spine and middle back.

Balance - Libra - rules the reins...what are reins? according to the almanac...reins are the vasomotor system, which is the dilating and constricting of the blood vessels. It also governs the lumbar region of the back, the adrenals, kidneys and the skin.

Archer - Sagittarious - rules the thighs and hips....includes the sciatic nerve.

Waterman - Aquarius - rules the lower legs ... also governs the circulation of the blood and valves of the heart.

Bull - Taurus - rules the neck...includes the thyroid, tonsils, and throat. Also governs the gums of the mouth and the middle ear.

Crab - Cancer - rules the chest area...includes the uterus and mucus membranes.

Virgin - Virgo - rules the bowels.

Scorpion - Scorpio - rules the loins or secrets...includes the colon, rectum, urinary system, vagina, testes, and prostate gland.

Goat - Capricorn - rules the knees...governs the knees (all joints).

Fishes - Pisces - rules the also governs the lymphatic system and spleen.

So what does all that mean. The rule of thumb is that you want to take particularly good care of the body parts that are "in" sign for the day. For example you would not want to have work done on your teeth when "Ram" was the sign for the day. In fact you want the sign to be in the opposite end of the body from where you are having surgery, etc.

The Moon

In addition to the "Zodiac Man", the almanac calendar also provides us with the Moon phases. Since the beginning of agriculture, people have used the Moon phases as an aide/guide in planting. What some may see as folklore, the idea of gardening by Moon phases is grounded in science.

As most of us learn sometime during our schooling, the Moon influences the earth's gravitational field. It is most evident when we go to the beach and experience the ocean's high and low tides. That same effect happens in the soil. It is not as evident as the tides, but the Moon also pulls the moisture in the soil.

The Moon's four phases/quarters and how they relate to gardening:

First Quarter starts with the new moon (the Moon is not illuminated by direct sunlight) and continues with the Waxing Crescent (Moon is partly illuminated by direct sunlight...but less than half). The New Moon creates an increased gravitational pull, which pulls moisture closer to the surface. This combined with the increasing moonlight, makes this a good time to plant above ground annual crops that produce seeds outside the fruit. Examples: lettuce, spinach, cabbage, grains.

Second Quarter starts when one-half of the Moon appears illuminated by direct sunlight and continues with the Waxing Gibbous (the Moon is more than one-half, but not fully, illuminated by direct sunlight...and continues to gain illumination over the nights to come). The Moon's gravitational pull is lessening but there is increased moonlight. This is good for strong leaf growth. It is still a good time for planting (supposedly two days before the full Moon is an especially good time). Plants that prefer the second quarter planting are above ground annual crops that produce sees within their fruit. Examples: okra, tomatoes, beans, squash.

Third Quarter starts with the Full Moon and continues with the Waning Gibbous (the Moon is less than full and is decreasing in illumination). After the Full Moon, the moonlight and gravitational pull begins to decrease. At the beginning of this process the gravitational pull is still high, so the moisture level is still at a higher point. This is a good time to plant root crops. Examples: potatoes, beets, turnips, carrots.

Fourth Quarter starts when one-half of the Moon appears illuminated by direct sunlight and continues with the Waning Crescent (the Moon is more than one-half, but not fully, illuminated by direct sunlight...and continues to lose illumination over the nights to come). There is much less gravitational pull and moonlight during this phase. This is considered the resting period. Not a good time for planting, however it is considered a good time to harvest, transplant, or prune.

The Zodiac Man and the Moon Phases

The almanac calendar provides us with the Zodiac sign and the Moon phases. Both of these subjects have been discussed individually above, but now we will attempt to explain how these two things intertwine to provide us with detailed information on gardening.

The Moon moves through the signs of the Zodiac every couple of days. Different signs are aligned with an element (fire, water, air, & earth). For generations, mankind has used the relationship between the Moon/Zodiac to determine best times for planting, harvesting, etc.

The signs shown above match represent each sign of the Zodiac. These symbols are not found on the almanac calendar that we sell at our store, but you will likely find them used in most farmer's almanacs. Farmer's almanacs will give you more detail information than our almanac calendar but most folks use a combination of both to guide their gardening efforts.

The signs explained:

Aries - Fire - Barren/Dry...Harvest root and fruit for storage. Good time to destroy weeds/pests. Taurus - Earth - Productive/Moist...Second best time to plant/transplant. Good time for root crops and leafy vegetables. Gemini - Air - Barren/Dry...Harvest root and fruit for storage. Good time to destroy weeds/pests. Exception: Melon seeds do well in this sign.

Cancer - Water - Very Fruitful/Moist...Best time for planting/transplanting. Good for grafting.

Leo - Fire - Very Barren/Dry - Harvest root and fruit for storage. Good time to destroy weeds/pests. Virgo - Earth - Barren/Moist...Some flowers/vines like this sign. Good time to destroy weeds/pests. Libra - Air - time for planting flowers, vines, herbs. Scorpio - Water - Very fruitful/ time for planting sturdy plants. Tomatoes, Corn, Okra. Sagittarius - Fire - Barren/Dry...Harvest root crops. Good time to cultivate soil. Good time to plant onion sets and fruit trees. Capricorn - Earth - Productive/Dry...Good time to plant root crops for hardy growth. Good time to graft and prune. Aquarius - Air - Barren/Dry...Good time to harvest fruits and root crops. Good time to destroy weeds/pests. Pieces - Water - Very Productive...Good time for planting and transplanting. Very good for root growth.