Folklore For Gardeners

Saying about the garden

  • Trees that bloom twice in one year will have a bad crop. (Pap says he's seen June apples bloom twice more than once)
  • If you spit in your hands when cutting wood-you'll have good luck. (Pap said-the spit just helps you hold on better. Holding on to the ax always = good luck)
  • Don't plant your garden until the oak leaves are the size of mouse ears. (from B. Ruth)
  • Always plant your potatoes on Good Friday.
  • Plant your greenbeans on Good Friday.
  • Anything planted on the first day of Spring will live.
  • Bury nails around the roots of Hydrangea to make the blooms blue.
  • Never plant vegetables that sound alike together. Think potato and tomato. (Pap told me that one)
  • Never say thank you if someone shares their flowers or plant cuttings with you-if you do they will die. (I've heard this one my whole life-and man is it hard not to automatically say thank you when someone gives you plants)
  • If you find a horse shoe in the garden-you should hang it in the nearest tree for good luck. (It's not as common to find horse shoes now-as it once was. I have found a few in the big garden-but I hung them on my porch instead of a tree)

Got any gardening folklore to add?

Tipper

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Quinn
    March 9, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Gosh, I’ve never heard the one about not saying thank you for plants, but it seems lots of folks are familiar with it. I can only hope it isn’t true! A friend gave me a huge load of plants thinned from her flower gardens last Autumn, and I spent five hard hours getting them all in the stony ground here…after thanking her over and over again for her generosity! If I cross my fingers will it help, do you think?

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 7, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Re: squirrel ears – just noticed that Jerry in Arkansas was about 15 hours ahead of me (insert symbol for way behind the times here;-)

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 7, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    A clarification – the squirrel ear-size oak leaves specifically applies to planting corn, not the garden in general

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    March 7, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Only one I remember was from growing up in the North. If the corn isn’t knee high by the Fourth of July, frost will get it before it bares corn. Now we know down South, that would very very rarely be the case.
    I can’t rightly remember any more.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 7, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Always plant your potatoes with the eyes turned up so they can see where they are growing.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    March 7, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    tipper.
    My dad would always try to plant his corn around the first of June. bless his heart he would hoe it to death, he would hoe it until it was almost knee high or taller. He would break the roots and my first husband Ed taught his to hoe it a lay it by and he had more yield. He said son you taught me something.course they keep the weed knocked down but didn’t disturb the roots system any more.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    March 7, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Tipper, Mother planted her beans and potatoes and some other seed on good Friday and always planted her flower seed on rot Saturday that is the sat after good Friday, They will bloom and bloom.
    We planted potatoes on Rot sat. and all we had were the highest vines and no potatoes.Everyone marveled at the tall vines and no potatoes. We always watched the signs from then on. We planted in March one year ,after the potatoes were up and the biggest snow came and the man who layed our patch by said boy you will have to plant again. A year later I saw him and he said by the way Mary how did the potatoes crop do and I told J.C. Palmer we had the best crop with big fist full sized potatoes. He shook his head and said boy that surprised me.

  • Reply
    Jan C.
    March 7, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    My grandma grandma would not plant until Good Friday. She also planted by the phases of the moon-plant by the waxing moon for beans, peas and all above the ground crops, plant root vegetables by the waning moon. She always had a great garden!

  • Reply
    Ken
    March 7, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Tipper,
    I’ll probably wait till Good Friday
    to plant my garden. I still got a
    lot of stuff to remove from last
    year. This has been the longest,
    coldest winter I can remember, but
    I can’t hardly wait for things to
    dry up and thaw out.
    Love all the sayings…Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 7, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Tipper,
    Evidently Don has not seen the “Vacanti Mouse” or… uhhh…Mickey…!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…My elderly neighbor told me this after plowing our garden. He looked up at the two huge Oaks in the yard. After I questioned him about when he usually planted his garden he said…”See those Oaks, when you see the leaves just about the size of a mouse’s ear, plant your garden! If you wait any later, on this sunny hill it will be getting too late.” He said it worked for him for fifty plus ears…uhhh years! LOL
    Then of course, the next morning when you haul it to the garden to plant the overnight spring growth has jumped the leaves up to the size of squirrel ears…LOL

  • Reply
    Tamela
    March 7, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Planting folklore must, at least in part, be regional. If I waited until after the dewberries (aka blackberries) bloomed around here it would be way too late since they bloom around the last of March then ripen just in time to make dewberry cobbler for Mother’s Day.
    Otherwise, the one about planting after the white blooms are gone makes sense. Seems the white blooms are what help get bees revved up for the spring & summer season on the warm days between the last few chills of winter.
    As for nails, the old fashioned ones (just iron) help a lot of plants as they rust and release iron to the plants and help acidify the soil. Today’s galvanized nails are no help at all to the soil.
    Lots of good ideas in today’s blog. I’m eager to put them to use in the garden.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 7, 2015 at 10:20 am

    I’ve heard that the oak leaves need to be the size of squirrel’s ears, which are a bit bigger than b. ruth’s mouse ears.
    Completely agree with Pap on the hand-spitting – and not just for axes, but baseball bats, and other such. And the good luck equation is pure elegance 😉

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    March 7, 2015 at 9:43 am

    My Mom always said not to say thank you for a plant given to you. I love reading all of your folklore.
    Pam
    scrap-n-sewgranny.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    March 7, 2015 at 9:09 am

    I will probably get the shakes since this is the first year I can remember that I have not planted any veggies.
    Even with a stay in New York city I grew a tomato plant on the fire escape.
    My herbs are showing green so I hope they will help fill the void.
    I will enjoy hearing your growing successes even tho I will be just a bit envious.

  • Reply
    Crystal Richmond
    March 7, 2015 at 9:03 am

    I have heard several of these . I firmly believe in these old ” ways”. Those wise ppl seem to know from experience what did and didn’t work. I enjoy this blog daily!! I remember so many of things mentioned here. Crys ~Arkansas

  • Reply
    Shirl
    March 7, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Always plant your potatoes on Good Friday and never say thank you when someone shares a plant is very common folklore where I’m from. I doubt I will be planting anything on the first day of spring unless I move tons of snow from the garden. With 20.5″ on the ground and minus 0 temps, it’s hard to think gardening. With today’s bright sunshine, the time change and knowing spring is only a few days away will help me through this bad case of cabin fever.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 7, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Tipper,
    My father-in-law said, “Always plant potato’s on St. Patrick’s Day and green beans on Good Friday!” Have English peas in the ground before the heart month is gone. I guess he meant Valentine’s Day. We always tried to follow this lore. One year we finally got the English peas in real early when the weather/ground cooperated, but we had to replant due to some cold rains that rotted the peas in the ground! He was raised in Alabama.
    However, my Dad raised in Mars Hill, NC…said his Mother always planted green peas very early on a warm sunny slope-side of a hill close to the house and always had the prettiest and earliest green peas. She kept, lettuce, eatin’ onions and green peas in a small garden.
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…Always plant corn in the dark of the night while the crows are asleep. LOL
    Just kiddin’, I made that one up!

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    March 7, 2015 at 8:42 am

    My neighbor reminds me always not to thank him when he gives me plants, which is often. The plants seem to grow well even when I forget.
    My main comment is that it seems Pap is a knowledgeable and wise man. As we sometimes say in these parts, “He ain’t no slouch.”

  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    March 7, 2015 at 8:26 am

    I’ve always heard not to plant until the Blackberries have bloomed. They must know something we don’t…

  • Reply
    dolores
    March 7, 2015 at 8:16 am

    These folklore are very interesting. Sometimes I only dabble in planting veggies, but, flowers, however, I have done a lot of them. Sometimes I have better luck than other times. Maybe I need to pay attention to this folklore.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 7, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Nothing else to add. I have heard a couple of these. I’ve heard the one about not thanking some for a cutting and not planting before Good Friday also the one about the nail making the hydrangeas blue. Well that’s three or four. We do like our traditions in Appalachia!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 7, 2015 at 7:34 am

    I have been told not to say thank you for a plant. Also that you should get a cutting without asking or it wI’ll die. Must be why I can never get one to root.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 7, 2015 at 7:34 am

    I have been told not to say thank you for a plant. Also that you should get a cutting without asking or it wI’ll die. Must be why I can never get one to root.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 7, 2015 at 7:34 am

    I have been told not to say thank you for a plant. Also that you should get a cutting without asking or it wI’ll die. Must be why I can never get one to root.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 7, 2015 at 7:34 am

    I have been told not to say thank you for a plant. Also that you should get a cutting without asking or it wI’ll die. Must be why I can never get one to root.

  • Reply
    Jerry in Arkansas
    March 7, 2015 at 7:31 am

    I’ve always heard don’t plant your corn until oak leaves are the size of squirrel ears.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    March 7, 2015 at 6:53 am

    I have always heard tht the Cherokee did not plant (tender crops) until all the white blooms were gone (dogwoods, briars, etc,) and my Pawpaw always said to not plant until after Mother’s Day.

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