Planting by the astrological sign
s was (and maybe still is) a popular practice in the rural US south. I guess the old folks taught the young ones as they farmed side by side (back in the day). Although dismissed as superstition
by many the signs for planting, as well as harvesting are still published widely on the internet, in books like the Foxfire
series and in Farmer
I grew up visiting my Appalachian relatives in a small town in the Southwestern Virginia mountains. I'll age myself by relating a story of when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon July 20, 1969. The old folks nearly flipped out down there. Everything that went wrong was because of this horrific event. They farmed by the moon signs and to think that someone was up there mucking around was horrific! Crops were maturing, especially the all important cash crop, tobacco. Around July tobacco had to be "topped" to concentrate energy in the lower leaves, tobacco horn worms and stray shoots called "suckers" had to be removed. Cutting and spiking would be in August or maybe September. What a worry it was, a man on the moon while the tobacco still needed to be harvested, cured and brought to market!
While I never heard one of my aunts or uncles asking "what's your sign", I did hear many express vague but totally inflexible reasons why they would be doing certain chores on certain days. They wouldn't come right out and say it was the "signs" but rather just that it was the right time. Most likely this was because of the obvious teenage scorn I showed for their worries about "that man on the moon" but probably even if I was not such a little nit wit I would not have been taught. They had a habit of reserving certain "teachings" for the "correct" student. Some things could only be taught to one person, sometimes it had to be the opposite sex, sometimes the same. One doesn't give one's only chance to pass on the lore to a summer visitor.