Sankofa Garden Homes: Planting by Good Friday’s moon
CLARENCE GLOVER | 4/16/2018, 2:53 p.m.
Sankofa Gardening Homes
When Good Friday, March 30, finally arrived I was filled with great anticipation. As I mentioned last month, many of our ABA – or Africans Who Built America – ancestors used the Farmer’s Almanac to decide when to plant. At http://www.almanac.com/content/gardening-moon-calendar, the Farmer’s Almanac shared the planting season in Texas Region 1 and its Gardening by the Moon video.
In the video, Janice Stillman, editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, discussed the impact of the moon on planting. She said that the moon impacts the rise and fall of moisture in the earth. She went on to state that when the moon is waxing or at its brightest is the best time to plant vegetables that grow above the ground such as, greens, beans, peppers, tomatoes, watermelons and corn. This is when the moisture is nearest the earth’s surface.
When the moon is waning or less light is projecting, Janice suggested vegetables that grow beneath the earth, carrots, radishes, potatoes, onions, should be planted. This is the time when the moisture is farthest from the earth’s surface. Following the rise and fall of moisture in the earth, she suggested, will help ensure a bountiful harvest.
I am certain that our ABA ancestors in Africa were aware of this relationship with the moon and earth where they had raised bountiful crops for hundreds of years. After their enslavement in America, before they could read English, they continued the tradition of planting and harvesting bountiful crops which became the foundation of early America’s wealth, of which they did not reap the benefits.
Along with the Farmer’s Almanac, remembering what my ancestors taught me, and speaking with African American Elders, I have been able to reclaim many of the skills that ensure a bountiful harvest.
On Good Friday, as a DABA – or Descendent of Africans Who Built America – I waited patiently for the moon to plant my collard greens and okra. I was moved knowing that I was planting in rhythm with the earth and moon. Knowing that the earth’s moisture was nearest the earth’s surface gave me a natural and spiritual high. This is the way many of our ABA ancestors planted with their hands touching the soil while the moon shined brightly down on them. My emotions were heighten even more, knowing that I was planting two of the most popular crops eaten by our elders and ancestors over the years.
But I also experienced an emotional lull as I thought about how many African Americans today do not have the knowledge and skills of our ancestors and elders to be able to plant and harvest their own food. We advanced in society and left the land behind. We also left the moon behind.
I was later renewed when a neighbor of mine, Kevin – who I had been talking to about Sankofa Garden Homes – came by and said he had planted on Good Friday as well. What a joy, another Sankofa Garden Home gardener, someone to talk about what we had planted and the anticipation of our harvest. I hope to share his garden in a future article.