The Dirt Diva

Tailoring your garden to your needs!

Full Moons and Frost


I knew this would happen. May would arrive and I’d get on the hamster wheel of dig-plant-eat-sleep-plant shop-dig-plant… What does a gardener do besides the all of the above in May? Not too much else. Talk about gardening, think about it, dream about it, and occasionally blog about it at 12 am on a Sunday night after making To-Do Lists for the week. So, the big question lately is: “what can I plant now?”¬†Now being the 3rd week of May, and the location being the Catskills of New York, we still have to consider the FROST. When will that be? Besides religiously checking the weekly forecasts online, and consulting my friend Leona the human barometer, I note the day of the last full moon in May. This year it falls on the 27th. What’s the full moon got to do with frost and planting? Farmers and scientists seem to be at odds on this philosophy, many old time farmers swear by it, skeptics say there is no connection between the last spring frost and full moons. I don’t really know the relationship, but suspect it has something to do with a night being clear and cold rather than cloudy and cold, and the full moon being visible. I was curious so I googled “full moon and frost”, and came upon this enlightening article you all may want to read for yourselves. The author is from Northern Maine, which has a growing season of around 100 days! We got it pretty good here, with our 130 +/- day season!

So, what have I planted so far? And what am I waiting till after the full moon to plant? In the ground since mid April (and ready to eat) are lettuce, arugula, spinach, mustard greens, pea shoots, scallions and the perennials planted in past years like asparagus, rhubarb, parsley, thyme, oregano, sage and chives. In early May I added the brassicas (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage), and potatoes, leeks, onions, strawberries, fruit trees and bushes, shallots, celery, celery root, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, beets, dill and cilantro. After the spring frost I’ll put in the summer all-stars like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, sunflowers, winter squash, melons, beans and tender herbs like basil. If you just can’t bear to wait that long, there’s all sorts of nifty things you can rig up around your vulnerable plants in the event of a frost. Cloches, “wall o’water“, milk jugs cut in half, row cover, tarps, blankets etc. will give you protection from the frost. My approach: wait to plant these warm weather crops till after the frost. ¬†Plants are smart- they always catch up to their earlier-planted siblings!

Happy planting (and weeding and covering and uncovering)

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