Excerpt from Issue 8: Traditions
“The people of Appalachia had many old ways, as they were descended from many different places: most immigrated from Ireland and Scotland, but the diverse Appalachian population also included people from Germany, Sweden, and African countries. Their customs combined with ways taught by Native Americans and created many traditions unique to this area.
One of their customs was planting and harvesting their vegetable garden by the signs of the zodiac. According to those who followed the custom of planting by signs, each day of the month was associated with one of the twelve signs, with each sign ruling for a period of two or three days. From Aries through Pisces, the signs are either dry or moist, firm or watery, barren or fruitful, and masculine or feminine. Planting should be done during a fruitful sign like Scorpio, Pisces, Taurus, or Cancer.
The phase of the moon was also important. It was best to harvest when the moon was growing old, because the crops would keep longer. And it was good to do your canning, preserving, and making of jelly and pickles during the last quarter moon.
According to T.E. Black’s almanac, reprinted in Foxfire volume 1, when the sign is in Leo, a fire sign, it is a good time for hunting and baking cakes. Sagittarius, another fire sign, is a good time to deal with lawyers, and make candy, preserves, jelly, and pickles. Taurus, an earth sign, is the best time to plant root crops. And Aquarius, an air sign, is a good time to plant crops that produce above the ground.”