For centuries, farmers across the globe have done everything in their power to ensure that they yield the best possible crops. Many commonly used farming practices have their roots in superstition and in a time before the existence of modern technology, farmers relied on the natural elements around them (such as the weather, soil, trees and animals) to help them plan their planting and harvesting. Superstition undoubtedly featured in many farming predictions (and to an extent, still do) with the interesting thing being that all too often, they proved fairly accurate. We take a look at some of the weird and wonderful superstitions that ruled the farming industry once upon a time, many of which are still very much present in modern-day farming rituals.
Guided by the moon
When it comes to planting, it is widely accepted that for all those things that grow above the ground, the sowing of their seeds should take place when the moon is waxing (so anytime between the new moon and the full moon). This means that planting needs to happen in the light of the moon, as it’s believed to yield the best results. As for the things that mature underground, such as root vegetables: their seeds are best sown in the dark of the moon – so essentially when the moon is waning.
The zodiac way
Another moon related belief is that the planting of seeds should be done when the moon is in its fruitful signs which include: Libra, Pisces, Capricorn, Scorpio, Taurus and Cancer – this is said to produce a more bountiful harvest. Weeding, digging and pest control should be reserved for the times when the moon is in its barren signs: Virgo, Leo and Gemini.
There are numerous planting tips based on superstition:
- Placing rusty nails or iron items in the garden at the same time as planting seeds is said to help them grow and flourish.
- When a pregnant woman is involved in the planting process, the harvest is said to thrive.
- For the best yield, crops should ideally be sown from north to south, and not east to west.
- It’s bad luck to plant on the 31st of a month and it’s also better to avoid beginning a planting job on a Friday or Sunday (the latter being considered as a barren and hot day).
Take your pick
The picking of certain fruits (such as apples and pears) is also governed by the moon. In order to ensure that blemishes or bruises do not rot any further and in fact, clear up all together, farmers should pick the fruit when the moon is shrinking (waning). Conversely, if they’re gathered when the moon is rising though, or on a full moon, then it is believed that the fruit will rot and spoil.
The world of farming and agriculture is no stranger to superstition, with many farmers in the world still heavily influenced by the beliefs that have been passed down from generation to generation. Even though the arrival of modern technology has changed the landscape considerably, some still feel strongly about the power of superstitions and only feel truly satisfied when they are applied during planting and harvesting times. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal beliefs – perhaps it takes the perfect mix of both superstition and modern practices to form a winning combination? We’ll let you decide.
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