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Tips for the Compleat Gardener: Forecast, fact and fantasy


Here it is the first day of April, 30 degrees with a wind chill in the 20s and the vegetable garden calls to be top-dressed, worked into a loose surface ready to accept the seed.

It is time for lettuce, spinach, early greens and peas and more to germinate in the cool weather and grow in day’s warm sun to nourish the gardener. I know that on April 2 the moon is in Pisces, a fertile sign and on Wednesday at 10:56 p.m. it moves into the fire of Aries, a barren sign.

I do not know if there is anything to it, making one’s garden decisions according to the moon and I wish I were disciplined enough to record daily observations about the weather and the moon. There are charts for reference about moons and planets and conclusions about the energies brought to bear on growth and fertility from and astrological perspective and this year I plan to be a better recorder.

According to Nina Straus in the Gardener’s Almanac even the nature of the gardener is astrologically determined and we are currently in the sign of Aries, an impulsive and fiery sign that celebrates new growth and spring greens that growth with little effort. The Taurian gardener is grounded, practical, patiently awaiting ripening, most likely a regular composter.

The garden of the Gemini is always changing, looked at with eye for alteration depending on prevailing emotions, they are interesting gardens. Cancerian gardeners are more like the infamous “helicopter parents” over-protecting plants, sometimes over watering in zeal to nourish. A Leo garden is ostentatious, outrageous is large swells of color particularly fire colors, orange and yellow, a spectacular display.

The Virgo gardener likes everything tidy, weeds in the compost, tools in the shed, shrubbery pruned for tidy control, the beds orderly and color-coordinated. The Libra gardener likes harmony, the use of garden art and structures amid easy maintenance plants. Scorpian energy enjoys control, surprise of the exotic and they will probably be the hardest to convince not to use pesticides.

The Sagittarian gardener enjoys tall, spiky plants, things such as hollyhocks and delphinium especially viewed from across the lawn, gardens with a mix of colors without clear order. The Capricorn gardener does not like disarray, preferring gardens that display the gardener’s achievements. The plant specimens will be pricey and well maintained.

The gardeners of Aquarius are like the “Age of ...,” trying new things, enjoying flowers that have their own shimmering light, they enjoy experimental forays into pruning and design. The Picean gardener uses the gardens as a sanctuary, creating rooms, ponds and using flowers with romantic and sentimental value.

I wish I had a trustworthy forecast for this summer but I have come to believe we all have our individual micro-climates and the bigger weather report may or may not pertain to where an individual garden exists.

As a longtime gardener I feel that the last three seasons have had cold March and April weather and a warmer November and December, as if the globe had shifted slightly.

As I write this I do not know whether the summer will be as wet as the last or as humid, at the moment the ground in my area is saturated, muddy and the gardener should step as little as possible into the beds.

Enjoy spring unfolding.