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    Re: Horoscopes
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2005 Apr 23, 17:17 -0400

    On Apr 21, 2005, at 9:11 PM, Ken Muldrew wrote:
    > From:                   Fred Hebard 
    >> Where I live, people still talk about planting by the "signs."  I
    >> don't know what those signs are, but I believe in part they are
    >> algorithms for picking out the 15th of March, April and May in our
    >> area, which correspond to good dates to get peas, corn (maize), and
    >> tomatoes into the ground, respectively.
    > I always thought that when people talk about planting by the "signs"
    > that they
    > were talking about folk wisdom such as, "plant corn when the leaves on
    > the
    > oak are longer than your thumbnail" and such like. It seems to make
    > more
    > sense (at least where local conditions matter).
    > Ken Muldrew.
    Folk wisdom such as "plant corn when oak leaves are the size of
    squirrels' ears" can be justified scientifically.  The spring
    development of oak leaves and that of other trees, is driven by
    cumulative degree days.  When oak leaves are the size of squirrels'
    ears, soil temperatures likely will have warmed sufficiently to allow
    corn to germinate, and the danger of frosts that are hard enough to
    kill the corn after it has emerged will have passed, for average years.
      The oak trees will have "learned" by natural selection how many
    cumulative degree days are optimal for leafing out; there also may be
    some actual learning that occurs in trees, where they become adapted to
    the local climate physiologically as they grow rather than being
    preadapted genetically; this latter hypothesis would take a lot of work
    to evaluate.  If you track trees that clearly are not adapted to local
    conditions, such as apples, they may not integrate degree days in a
    fashion appropriate to the local average conditions, so are not
    accurate indicators, unless you happen to live in an area with a
    climate to which the apple trees are preadapted.
    Planting by the signs takes into account phases of the moon and such,
    as best as I know.  I don't know what the actual "signs" are.  The
    phrase, "planting by the sigs," also may be used as a rationale for
    other means of determining optimal planting times, means that rely upon
    other thinking systems than Western science.

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