Listen: Astrology and gardening

Mainstreet Radio’s Rachel Reabe interviews Milton Raske, a resident of Pillager, Minnesota, on his astrological gardening system. He has been planting vegetables for decades based on astrological signs. Agricultural officials do not support moon planting as it is not supported by science, but that doesn’t stop Raske.


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SPEAKER 1: Milton [? Radesky ?] uses a rake to manicure his already immaculate asparagus patch. The greenish heads of the young stalks are just breaking through the dirt, and [? Radesky ?] tenderly tills the soil around them. He looks very much at home out here in the fields where he's been planting vegetables for most of his 74 years. Milt's well known in these parts, not so much for his green thumb. But for his homegrown astrological planting charts.

SPEAKER 2: OK. Now, the 15th-- now the moon goes into Libra at eight minutes after one in the afternoon. Boy, you can grow some beautiful glads in that particular sign. Then on the 18th, it goes out, and it goes into Scorpio at 1:48 AM. And that's a real good one to plant watermelons and muskmelons, and cucumbers and peas and beans.

Then, it goes out of there. See it on the 20th at 12:53 PM. So don't plant nothing after that.

SPEAKER 1: Milt maintains that of the 12 Zodiac signs, six are barren and six are fruitful. The trick, he says, is to match the fruitful Zodiac signs with the phases of the moon and plant only on the good days. Milt started sharing his astrological gardening system with the men he worked with at the paper mill in Brainerd.

Every spring, he carefully copied down the good planting days on index cards and passed them around. One year on a local radio station, he talked about moon planting. Word spread, and soon he was receiving as many as 60 letters a day requesting his planting chart.

This year already, he says he's distributed 3,000 of the astrological planting forecasts. He says he's converted plenty of skeptics. But agriculture officials apparently aren't among them.

SPEAKER 3: I'm Jim [? Wrubel. ?] Crow Wing County Agricultural agent. Planting by the moon is a long, old system that's been used for, I suppose, centuries. But for some people, apparently, it has worked very well. However, there is no scientific evidence and no scientific research which can substantiate that it has any effect whatsoever on the way plants grow and develop.

SPEAKER 1: But [? Wrubel ?] is quick to point out that it's hard to argue with success. And if a system works for someone, they should continue to use it. And it has worked for longtime gardener Cecilia Grams, who lives just across the field from Milt [? Radesky. ?]

She's been gardening for almost half a century. The last dozen years, she's planted strictly according to the moon and Milton. Grams has a ready answer when asked how her garden grows.

SPEAKER 4: Went by the moon. That's what I tell them. They laugh at me.

But that is the truth. I really go by that. I had lots of good luck.

SPEAKER 1: Last summer was hot and dry. That made for tough going out here in the sandy fields of North Central Minnesota. But it didn't seem to affect Milt [? Radesky's ?] bumper crop of sweet corn.

SPEAKER 2: Well, the one up in the top over there, I found it when the moon was in Pisces. And then, I come out and I cultivated it according-- where the moon was in a good position. And I still think that's the only reason I got that good of a corn because I know-- there's one guy. He lives out here at Baxter. When he was down here, he said you must carry water out there in a gallon jug at night.

SPEAKER 1: Astrological gardener, Milt Radesky. In Pillager, I'm Rachel [? Rabi. ?]

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