Thursday, March 26, 2009

More garden folklore

Gardeners have always planted extra seed because they know some will not sprout. Poems or songs were tools to teach children how to grow seeds and how to count.

One for the cutworm
One for the crow
One to rot and one to grow.

Plant squash in May they run away.
Plant squash in June there will be plenty soon.

Plant pumpkins on the first of June,
You will have pumpkins soon.

Plant cucumbers on the sixth of July,
You will have cucumbers wet or dry.

Predicting the weather in rhyme helped them remember

Rainbow in the morning, farmer take warning
Rainbow at night, fisherman's delight.

A pale moon doth rain,
A red moon doth blow

If a redbird calls pretty, pretty, pretty,
The weather will be pretty.

(Photo courtesy of NASA)

Planting by the phase of the moon is a practice that is centuries old.
Many farmers and gardeners feel it is very important to work in harmony with the moon. Scientists actually studied these ancient methods and came up with some interesting ideas. During the dark phases of the moon, plants orient themselves toward their roots. With the sap rushing downward, it is said to be a favorable time for planting root crops and for transplanting. During the light phases of the moon, sap is said to flow upward, filling stems and leaves and favoring the planting of crops that mature above the ground.Another theory is that the gravitational pull of the moon raises ground-water the same way it does tidewater. If this is true, it suggests how the moon might pull soluble nutrients upward toward the roots of a plant and stimulate growth.

The next full moon is April 9, commonly called the Pink Moon named for the grass pink or wild ground phlox which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names are the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and -- among coastal tribes -- the Full Fish Moon, because this is when the shad came upstream to spawn. This is also the Paschal Full Moon; the first full Moon of the spring season. The first Sunday following the Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday which is observed on April 12 this year.

New moon March 26
First Quarter April 2
Full Moon April 9
Last Quarter April 17
New Moon April 24

Sow seeds during the waxing moon.
Plant root vegetables (carrots, onions, potatoes) during the third quarter of the waning moon.
Plant vegetables that grow above ground (tomatoes, lettuce, squash) two nights before the new moon or in the first quarter of the new moon.
Transplant on the waning moon.
Put down manure at the dark of the moon in March

If you can find a pregnant woman to plant your garden, everything will thrive.

A very important piece of advise if you find yourself in a drought (Folklore from Adam County IL an oral history)

"My husband went blackberrying day before yesterday and found a tick, and he said, 'We need a rain.' If you find a woodtick, stick a pin through it and stick it on the side of a wall or tree and it will rain in twenty-four hours. So he stuck a pin through it and stuck it on a maple tree, and we had a pour-down of rain before twenty-four hours."


sweetbay said...

I admit I have never paid attention to moon phases while gardening, but I know some people swear by them. I didn't know that the April full moon had specific names -- very interesting! Poetic too.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Sweet Bay, it is interesting and kind of romantic. People trying to introduce order into the chaos. There are still lots of people who plant by the moon and the Farmer's Almanac. I won't try to argue with centuries of tradition.

Unknown said...

I just love it when you post gardening folklore......I'm thinking there might be some truth is some of it!!

Anonymous said...

I love the old gardening folklore. There is some real truth behind these legends.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Darla and PerennialGardener, I don't know but it can't hurt to try. It's fun to think about.


Barbee' said...

This is such an enjoyable post. I especially enjoyed the rhyme for planting the 4 seeds. Cute as can be!

Unknown said...

My husband swears by the almanac and I think he used it somewhat when he use to plant a vegetable garden. It's sure been around a long time.
Marnie I clicked on the link you left. Can you tell me how to do that? I've tried and it comes out a post on my blog. I've tried the help section and I just don't get it! I've asked about 4 people so far and no answer.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Barbee, I like the rhymes too. Can't you just see the child counting them into a hole like his Daddy thought him.

Hi RainGardener, I should buy a Farmer's Almanac just to see what it says. As I remember they are full of interesting stuff. I'll stop by your site and help you with your links.


tina said...

All the garden folklore is so interesting but I must be honest, I've never gardened according to it. I even tell folks thanks for plants! I too found a tick-they are early this year and I hope that will work all year for rain as I just can't abide another drought.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Tina, I hope you pinned that tick to a tree;) I don't follow the old ways either. I just garden when I have spare time and the weather cooperates. Luckily I won't starve if the tomatoes fail;)

I thanked you for those seeds, what if they don't grow?

raccoonlover1963/Lisa Myers said...

Hi Marnie
I think I'll have to try using this system. This will only be my 3rd year of having a garden. Last year was a disaster, plus I wasn't in much of a gardening mood last year. The weeds took over and the deer and raccoons ate most of my sweet corn! I have to use my grandfather's garden as my yard is too small for planting anything but flowers.
Take care

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Lisa, I know sometimes so much is happening that your garden plans have to take a back seat to other important stuff. It's a problem if you have deer. They can eat everything in one night. Good luck with your garden this year.

Rose said...

All this folklore is so interesting. As silly as some of it sounds, I'm not surprised that there is some scientific basis for some of it.
I don't know anyone pregnant right now, and there's no chance I will be:) So it looks like I'll have to take my chances planting my garden myself:)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Interesting post Marnie. I love the folklore. However, I don't think many pregnant women would like to plant gardens. Now that one made me laugh.

TC said...

I try to plant my potatoes during a new moon, my Dad told me about that. He also said that if you hang a dead snake on a barbed wire fence, it will rain and storm shortly afterwards. I did that once and within days we had a t-storm and downpour. I need to write about gardening folklore in a column for the paper.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Interesting! I try to be aware of what phase the moon is in (my best friend is an astronomy professor, go figure!), but I haven't planted by it. In unrelated news, my first winter-sown seedlings are up!!!!!!!

BeadedTail said...

I enjoy reading the folklore because all of it is new to me - hadn't heard of any of these before. I also didn't know about the moon stuff. I have a lot to learn about gardening!

beckie said...

Marnie, I had heard part of the ryhme before, but not all of it. And my grandparents swore by the alminac and phases of the moon planting their garden and field crops by them.

Funny how 'smart' our ancestors turned out to be. :)

TatteredSpinner said...

The moon pulls ground water up just like the tide... Those scientist peoples can be so clever when they only put their mind to it, can't they?

Pat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think the one about the gravitational pull of the moon pulling soluble nutrients upward toward the roots of a plant is believable.
I have to think about finding a pregnant women to plant my seedlings. :)

Fun post!

F Cameron said...

Wonderful folklore stories and rhymes. I love the old traditions.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hey Rose and Lisa, it wouldn't be easy to find a pregnant woman silly enough to come over and plant our gardens, would it? You're right, we'll just have to do the best we can;)

Hi TC. A lot of people want to believe they can control nature if they just know the right chant or the best place to hang a snake;)

Monica, I can't believe your seedlings have sprouted. We're in for snow on Saturday and Sunday. I'm beginning to think we may see spring long about July.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi BeadedTail, the old lore and stories are interesting. I'm a fan of the Foxfire books and study genealogy. It's fun stuff.

Hey Beckie, I heard other rhymes as a kid but can't remember them.

TatteredSpinner, I can't vouch for the 'science';)

Lillian, I'm so glad you left a comment. It's a great way to get to know each other. Hope you come back often. I'll visit the pet adoption link you left.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Patsi, if you can find a pregnant woman who likes planting, send her over here next;)

Cameron I do too. There are millions of old beliefs and they vary from region to region. The ones from the Virginias and the Carolinas are probably the oldest.


Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

I remember my grandmother talking about the moon phases in regards to planting. I wish I had listened closer.

Now, if only I could find a tick...

A Wild Thing said...

Great advice, to which I've been following for years, love the ol'timey methods, tried and true!

Not to worry, I've been digging like a mad woman for 3 days, lily and iris tubers, yucca and coneflowers, butterfly bush...all safely transplanted to a new garden...but these guys were the greatest, put the topsoil back on top for my new victory garden (veggie garden extension)so I can double the size of my strawberry bed. I told 'em I'd set Scratchy on them, so they hardily agreed...ha!

Come on Spring I am sooooo ready to plant! Have a great, chilly day! No snow, no snow, no snow!!!


Roses and Lilacs said...

Sharon, keep singing that 'no snow' chant.

I'm glad it worked out with the transplanting! Scared me to death. Ummmm, I can taste that strawberry shortcake now.

MorningGlories, I'll check my border collie for ticks and send you one.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to print this post out Marnie. Planting by the moon phases is interesting to me although I've never tried it. Have you?? So fun but hard to remember all these tidbits!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Kathleen, no I haven't tried planting by the moon phases. I plant by the weather which is so fickle here. Even tho I think folklore is fascinating, working a full time job, taking care of a large house and property and too many animals makes gardening a thing I have to fit into my real world schedule. For our ancestors it was possibly THE most important thing they did so it took priority. It's fun to play around with the old beliefs and try to understand how they thought way back then.

walk2write said...

This post is good news for me with the blueberry bushes we transplanted last week. Your posts are always interesting and informative, Marnie.

Gail said...

What a fun and informative post! People watched the skies, the caterpillars, the moon and we check out! Which I am doing today to see if the storm in OKC is moving into Tennessee! The NASA moon photo is stellar! gail

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Walk2Write, I got lucky too, I moved my roses at just the right moon-time. We'll see how they do.

Hi Gail, we expect a snowstorm Saturday. Maybe it won't be a bad one. Good luck, hope the weather misses you.


Susie said...

Marnie this was a fun read as well as informative. I have heard the line about the rainbows and fisherman but that's all. Interesting about the tick and you actually had rain.

I have a few vegetables I need to plant so now all I need to do is find me a pregnant woman!

Hope you have a fun weekend!

Anonymous said...

You know a lot of cool stuff. I will talk my dil in to getting pregnant so she can plant my stuff. And I hope I remember April 9th? for planting time. I don't want a tick so I'll just do a rain dance.

I only heard one or two of those rhymes even though my great aunt talked non-stop. She taught me about the plants. I wonder why she didn't know these. I thought she was perfect.

joey said...

It might be hard to sleep tonight digesting all this folklore! I believe in the gravitational pull of the moon. A fun post, Marnie, but hope the pregnant woman is not my single daughter :)

Meems said...

Hi Marnie,
One of the next things I want to study is planting by the moon. Not that I have a farm or anything but I really do think there is something to all of it and I want to know what it is. I can remember my grandfather planting by the Almanac -- too bad I didn't pay better attention back then.

Thanks for the reminder. Fun post.
Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

Genie said...

I have Lyme Disease and so I'm all for finding ticks, sticking pins to them, and letting them die slowly. We also live in a drought stricken part of the southwest. All the more reason to try that experiment!

marmee said...

we have heard this about so many things in regard to the moom phases. like having babies, people tending to buy during the full moon.i wish i really understood it better, but i have never really taken the time to learn. thanks for adding more to the mystic of the folklore.
i was sure a made a comment on your previous post, somehow these things have a mind of their own.

Zach said...

Last year, I was looking into planting by the moon. I ended up buying several books solely about this subject. One that I have is from the 18 hundreds and I find it really quite interesting.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Thanks for more folklore... I just love learning this stuff. My dad always planted by the moon signs and sometimes we actually manage to do it ourselves, but with the limited time we have to plant in the spring, we can't always pull it off.

I do know a pregnant woman right now, but I doubt I could get her to come over and plant our garden! I designed hers and she barely works on it herself, lol.