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New York Folklore Quarterly, Vol. VII, No. 1, Spring 1951

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Vol. VII, No. 1, Spring 1951

Selected, edited, and written by Edith E. Cutting

In the lore of planting, certain ideas recur frequently. One is the belief in the influence of the moon. Another is the correlation between planting time and the development of tree leaves, probably an inheritance from the time when farms were next door to forests, or, earlier yet, from our Indian neighbors. Still another idea is the importance of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, no doubt symbolically paralleling the death and resurrection of Christ.

Early in the spring the ground was prepared for planting. Often the plowing had been done the previous fall. If not, the coming of swallows indicated that spring was really here; plowing and planting should begin. Some people warned against starting plowing on Good Friday, however, for fear you would never finish it. Usually manure had beeen spread on the fields during the fall and winter. If not, it was spread during the very early spring. Some believers in the moon said that it should be spread while the moon was waning, to make it seep in better. Others said, “Spread it under the full moon for a good crop.”

One of the most general beliefs in regard to the moon’s relation to planting is that vegetables maturing underground (such as potatoes) should be planted in the dark of the moon, whereas those maturing above ground (like beans) should be planted in the new moon. Another is that all round seeds should be planted in the full of the moon, but all flat or long seeds should be planted in the old moon....

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