Since our ancestors first poked a seed into the ground, astrology has played a role in gardening and farming. Today it’s easy to scoff at people who plant by moon signs and phases, but in truth, we don’t know whether the idea is valid or not. The moon’s position in the sky does appear to influence plant and animal behavior. People who plant and garden by zodiac signs claim they mark the cyclical movement of the planets and are, therefore, good indicators of natural rhythms in the universe.
Even those who don’t believe that planting by signs of the zodiac makes any difference can understand why the sun, moon, and stars were so important to ancient peoples. They were constants in our ancestors’ daily lives. Men and women used the pattern made by the stars’ regular cycles in the heavens as a calendar. Then they saw that crops fared better when planted at certain times than at others. The moon was believed to be the mistress of growth. During a certain period of time (29½ days on average), the moon passed through 12 constellations. This was the zodiac, or circle of animals, also thought to influence plants and planting.
As centuries passed, ancient civilizations learned that some of the celestial objects they had called stars were actually planets. The planets also were given characteristics, and all living things were placed under both the sign of a planet and a zodiac sign. These beliefs gave rise to elaborate systems of gardening, where every task was linked to a certain planet and constellation, ideally when the moon was in a complementary phase.
Enough first-rate farmers and gardeners follow the signs to make us take notice. Maybe they would do just as well if they didn’t garden by the signs. We don’t know. We do know that planting by the moon signs and moon phases does no harm. Why not try an experiment? Plant half your garden by the signs; the other half as you normally would. See for yourself which plot does best. Be fair and let common sense be the overriding factor. Even the most devout “sign planters” take weather and temperature into account before undertaking a gardening project.