Sown in the Stars
Planting by the Signs
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky
Sales Date: 04/04/2023
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted."—Ecclesiastes 3:1–2
The Appalachian region is deeply rooted in customs that have been handed down for generations. "Planting by the signs," a practice predicated on the belief that moon phases and astrological signs exert a powerful influence on the growth and well-being of crops, is deemed superstitious by some but has been considered essential to gardeners and farmers for centuries and is still in use today.
Sown in the Stars brings together the collective knowledge of farmers in central and eastern Kentucky about the custom of planting by the signs. Sarah Hall interviews nearly two dozen contemporary Kentuckians who still follow the signs of the moon and stars to guide planting, harvesting, canning and food preservation, butchering, and general farmwork. Hall explores the roots of this system in both astrology and astronomy and the profound connections felt to the stars, moon, planets, and the earth. Revealed in the personal narratives are the diverse interpretations of the practice. Some farmers and gardeners believe that the moon's impact on crop behavior is purely scientific, while others favor a much wider interpretation of the signs and their impact on our lives. Featuring photographs by Meg Wilson, this timely book bridges the past, present, and future by broadening our understanding of this practice and revealing its potential to increase the resiliency of our current agricultural food systems.
Foreword, by Ronni Lundy
1. The Basics
2. The Followers
3. Almanacs & Calendars
4. The Signs
5. Beyond Planting
Beautifully written and meticulously researched, Sown in the Stars is an important book about the wonders of the natural world, tradition, and science. Sarah Hall understands the power of oral tradition in sharing this kind of knowledge, providing not only a fascinating read but also a master class in the art of preserving innate storytelling. It's all made even better by the gorgeous, complex photographs by Meg Wilson. This book will have a place of honor in my gardening library.~Silas House, author of Lark Ascending
Sarah Hall has created the consummate book on planting by the signs—those signs that have been arrayed for us by our solar system as it impacts the earth. Twenty-two Kentucky gardeners and farmers join her as they take readers on a captivating journey that examines a plethora of fascinating aspects of these age-old and worldwide practices.~George Brosi, coeditor of Appalachian Gateway: An Anthology of Contemporary Stories and Poetry