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May 15 a good time to plant fields to avoid serious delays
May 13-19, 2013
And May has come, hair-bound in flowers,
With eyes that smile thro’ the tears of the hours,
with joy for to-day and hope for to-morrow
And the promise of Summer within her breast!
-Gerard Manley Hopkins

Lunar phase and lore

The new Mock Orange Moon waxes throughout the week, entering its second quarter at 11:35 p.m. May 17. Rising in the middle of the day and setting in the middle of the night, this moon is overhead in the late afternoon or evening. Lunar influence increases as the moon moves above this part of Earth, increasing the likelihood that fish could bite more toward sundown, especially as cool fronts of May 15 and 21 approach. Dieters, of course, may find that pie is especially tempting with the moon above them and the barometer dropping.

Lunar planting (for flowers and vegetables that will produce their fruit above the ground) is unexcelled this week under Cancer (May 13-15), and then next week under Scorpio (May 22-24).

Weather trends

The May 15 cool front and the next two are often followed by the “Strawberry Rains,” the wettest time of May in the lower Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic states. May 15 is a good target date for having fields planted in order to avoid a serious delay in seeding.
Spring rains and humidity can also increase the risk of internal parasites and foot problems in livestock, but the chances for frost are extremely low after this front arrives. The days surrounding the May 20 cool front are some of the most turbulent of May, often marked by rain, tornadoes and high winds.


May 13: When the first daylily opens, you should have all your corn in the ground, and it should have sprouted, too. If you don’t have daylilies, the first thistles bloom around the same time.

May 14: Spring wheat is just about all planted in the North, and all the oats should be in the ground between Denver and New York. Tobacco transplanting has begun in Kentucky. Potatoes and commercial tomatoes and pickles have all been set out by the end of the month along the Great Lakes. By tomorrow, winter wheat will be at least a foot high across the Central states and will soon be pale golden green below the Mason-Dixon Line.

May 15: Late spring takes on momentum as spiderwort, scabiosa, lupine, small-flowered mallow, daylily, stella d’oro lily, fire pink, yucca, blue flax, foxglove, achillea, swamp iris, wild grapes, cow vetch and lamb’s ear start flowering in the field and garden.
May 16: Complete spring vaccinations for your goats while the weather is still mild. And get your goats TB- and Brucellosis-certified as soon as possible. Advantages of certification include an improved selling edge and ease in registering your goats before show time.

May 17: The moon’s entrance into its second quarter today should bring relatively stable lunar conditions for working with animals, clients and family members.

When mock orange, sweet Cicely, Robin’s fleabane, chives, catmint, waterleaf, wild raspberry, shooting star, peonies, sweet rockets and May apples come into bloom, pastures may be just right to move

May 18: Clover season spreads throughout the country this month. Relatives of alfalfa, the small black medic, purple vetch and the weedy yellow and white sweet clover take over the roadsides as well as the pastures in all but the northernmost states.

May 19: The recommended lunar practice is to dehorn your kids one week before or after the full of the moon (this coming Friday). After full moon’s cool temperatures, look for a decided warm-up.

Do you have a mouse story to share? I’ll pay $3 for any mouse adventure that appears in this column, and I’ll pay $7 if your story is really true and extra wild and crazy.
Send your creative tales to: Poor Will, P.O. Box 431, Yellow Springs, OH 45387.

Listen to “Poor Will’s Radio Almanack” on podcast anytime at and you may follow Poor Will on Twitter: @poorwilsalmanac