One Medieval name for tonight’s Full Moon was the Seed Moon. It’s a name that I find fitting since I have been starting seeds indoors for the past six weeks and it looks like the last frost occurred in Paradelle and some seeds can go into the ground. I wrote on another blog about a site that helps you determine when to plant seeds in your area. Of course, in earlier times when the naming of the full moons was closely linked to event in nature, planting was based on signs from nature and the heavens.
Tracking signs of the seasonal changes has been done for thousands of years. We call it phenology and I’ll write more about it in a future post. It is the study of seasonal change as reflected in plant and animal life. It is a natural science and a good pursuit for the citizen scientist.
I was taught as a child that when dandelions were in bloom, it was time to plant potatoes. We planted peas in our Garden State garden on Saint Patrick’s Day if the soil wasn’t cold or muddy, and if it was was, we waited for the first blooms of forsythia.
I’ve been doing my old phenology for about 25 years in a journal and one thing it shows is that blooms vary quite a bit over the years. Although many people are reporting budding occurring earlier the past decade and that is tied in people’s’ minds to climate change, in fact, dates vary year to year and from area to area. I live in a valley between two mountain ranges and our little microclimate tends to be a week or two behind homes that are just a half mile away.
The Full Moons were generally the indicators for when to plant, but the fine tuning of those dates came from watching the buds of other plants and trees and insect and animal activity.
A Celtic name for this moon was the Growing Moon and in the Chinese moon sequence, this is the Peony Moon.
The Roman festival of Cerealia this month celebrated the grains goddess Ceres, which is where we get our “cereal” name. This was the time for planting grain.
Moon and planting folklore cross paths when you decide that the time to plant root crops (carrots, radishes etc.) is during the days between the waning moon that comes after the full moon and the new moon. That means that your above-ground crops should be planted during the waxing moon phase so named because the moon “thickens” like the wax drippings of a candle. Of course, no one would plant if there was still a chance of a frost above ground, but from the new moon until the next full moon would be the planting time according to moon planting. This year that would be May 9 -29 and that’s the right time for my neighborhood.
If it all sounds like “old wives tales” then the science of the past would have said that the moon not only pulls on the tides but also on all things that contain water – including our blood and the water in plants and seeds. That’s what will make those tomatoes reach for the moon during the waxing phase, and those carrots push deeper away from the moon during its waning phase.
The Dakotah Sioux called this the Moon When Geese Return in Scattered Formation. The Choctaw called this the Wildcat Moon. The Cherokee called this the Flower Moon (Kawoni).
For Native Americans, this time of first plants was a time of new births, and new medicine from fresh plants.
The April Moon is also called the Chaste Moon, Growing Moon, Hare Moon, Maiden Moon, Grass Moon, Rain Moon, Growing Moon, Wind Moon, Seed Moon, Budding Trees Moon, Eastermonath (Eoster Month), Ostarmanoth, and Green Grass Moon.