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From The Farm: Planting for the Weather Makes Your Garden Grow Better


weather The winter weather remained relatively mild throughout January here in the south and most farmers and gardeners are still on the fence as to how early they should start seeds and begin planting. The annual “groundhog emergence” took place on February 2nd, and we think the results were conflicting based on which groundhog you depend on for your meteorological information. The famous Punxsutawney Phil made his way out and ventured back inside his abode after seeing his shadow which signals another 6 weeks of winter. Ultimately, your best bet is to use the historical first and last frost dates in your area to plan your planting schedule.

weather Due to the mild winter weather, we still have some pretty decent production rolling in out at the farm. We have been harvesting cabbage, carrots, beets, onions, spinach and lettuces for the last few weeks and we have spring seedlings popping up in the greenhouse. It’s nearing that time of year when we plant our seed potatoes. The orders have been placed and the potatoes should be arriving in a couple of weeks. Old timers will tell you to plant your potatoes (and other root crops) when the nights are darker. This means planting during the waning periods of the moon phases, from the day after the full moon until the day before the new moon. You can find this planting logic in the Farmers’ Almanac, and while some don’t pay it much attention, there is some science behind this practice.

weather Most of us learned about Isaac Newton in science class when we were younger. He established the laws of gravity which proves that the tides are affected by the gravitational pull of the moon. An online article on the subject of planting by moon phases states, “These same forces affect the water content of the soil, creating more moisture in the soil at the time of the new and full moon. This increased moisture encourages the seeds to sprout and grow.” The article goes on to state how increased moonlight also plays a factor in stimulating above ground, vegetative growth and when moonlight is less, more energy is directed toward root growth.

So, what is the takeaway from all of this other than the fact that it’s quite fascinating? When an old farmer/grower tells you something, listen, because there’s a good chance you will learn something new. Lastly, pay attention to the moon and stars because they could very well help you grow better vegetables.

Brad manages our farm operations, which include our certified naturally grown farm outside Madison and the Kelly family’s plantation in Leesburg, Ga, known as Rock House Farm. Rock House Farm produces grass-fed beef, heritage Berkshire hogs, and two varieties of heirloom corn, among other crops.