How to Plant by Almanac


Modern gardeners are more likely to turn to a website, gardening book or experienced neighbor for advice than to an almanac. Almanacs, however, have guided generations of gardeners to success for centuries. Learning to read and use the special information an almanac can provide will enrich your gardening experience and may improve your gardening results. You will certainly learn things unlikely to cross your path on an ordinary workday and are likely to be entertained as you learn.

Step 1

Locate the sections of your almanac that you will be using for planting. These include the Calendar pages, the Weather pages, and the Planting by the Moon or Best Days pages. You will be referring to the Planting pages most often, but you'll need the others as well.

Step 2

Read over the Planting pages as soon as you obtain your almanac. You will probably absorb only a small amount of information, but learning the format and remembering to check it before you have an open seed packet in hand is useful for a beginner. Even an experienced gardener is likely to notice some differences between recommendations and his/her practice.

Step 3

Locate your weather zone in the Weather pages. This you'll go back to over and over, trying to look ahead for your plants. Check your location any time you look at a different almanac. Do not confuse USDA hardiness zones with almanac weather zones.

Step 4

Reserve much of the calendar pages for later study while you are busy planting. Most almanac planting information is moon-related. You will find the moon's astronomical position in the constellations in the calendar. Look at the calendar to determine when the moon is new, waxing, full or waning.

Step 5

Use the Planting pages, Weather pages and local weather forecast to calculate the best days to plant your vegetables and grains. Remember that you are reading astronomical and meteorological advice, not astrology. A few astrology pages are usually part of the almanac; the results you obtain are likely to resemble the other results you obtain from astrological advice. You be the judge. Where both kinds of advice intersect is in one area: plant crops that grow above ground (leafy) when the moon is waxing, and those that grow below (root) when the moon is waning.

Tips and Warnings

  • What an almanac offers is the best advice possible. It may still rain two weeks from Saturday, and this year the lettuce could have gone in a week earlier. But that's this year., and advice is just that.

Things You'll Need

  • Almanac(s), in print or online
  • Paper and pencil, optional
  • Piece of string and nail, optional but recommended


  • Farmers' Almanac Gardening Calendar
  • The Old Farmers' Almanac: 2010 Best Planting Dates for Seeds
Keywords: gardening by almanac, planting by moon, astronomy, weather, advice

About this Author

Janet Beal holds a Harvard B.A. in English and a College of New Rochelle M.S in early childhood education. She has worked as a college textbook editor, HUD employee, caterer, and teacher. She is pleased to be part of Demand Studios' exciting community of writers and readers.