Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Gardening

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Time To Burn The Garden

Our recent Spring weather has encouraged folks to start gardening. Seems like everywhere I go I see people out and about cleaning up the yard or tilling up the garden. After my memory was jolted by Granny Sue last year (you can read about it here), I was determined to burn off the garden this year. And I accomplished it-at least the one at our house. I think I need some help if I attempt burning Pap’s big garden.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.



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  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Tipper, Tipper
    I was at my sons waiting for my husband to get back from the Tenn. & Kentucky ballgame. When they came in I said,(knowing that Tn. lost) “How’d the game go?” “Lost”, they said…Without thinking I said “Well, shoot far!” (fire)
    How could I have forgot one that I use so much! LOL

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    March 6, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Funny you mentioned burning the garden just after I had done the same.
    To show you how stupid I am, for years I’ve tried to till through old grass and dead vegetables. What a waste, when a simple lighter or lighter paired with kerosene does the work so much better and faster. Now, plowed and tilled, awaiting another hard frost to kill some insect eggs, and away I go.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 6, 2011 at 7:36 am

    I am sooo ready for spring!

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    March 6, 2011 at 2:11 am

    i for one.. am glad that spring is almost here… the snow has gone.. but its still cold.. i dont garden.. but do love to see the spring bulbs and other things peeking out.. i hope that your garden is plentiful this year…and all the gardeners out there are blessed with abundance..
    big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    March 6, 2011 at 12:06 am

    All this beautiful weather got folks motivated-now they’re calling for snow again!!

  • Reply
    SandyCarlson (USA)
    March 5, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    The thought of being able to garden or to begin gardening…..makes me long for spring!
    Beautiful, hopeful post. Thanks.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I don’t recall Mom and Dad burning the garden. We just returned from a trip in lower SOuth Carolina and we saw where people had done controlled burnings several places. The bright green grass that sprung up was beautiful.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    My parents burned the garden space too. It was the only time we kids were allowed to “play” with fire. First setting the little patches of flames and then stomping them out.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Can’t wait to plant our garden! We’ve already planted lettuce, onions and potatoes…love digging in the dirt! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Growing up in the 50’s in Kentucky, it was not so common to be burning gardens but…Tobacco beds. It was mandatory to burn your tobacco bed before planting to keep the weeds out of the midst of the plants which were sown so close together. Nearly every farm had a tobacco crop in those days and there was just assumed that the smoke out there was someones tobacco bed (and we usually knew whose it was).

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    That is a neat perspective on that photo. It would be from the point of view of the grass and leaves and maybe some little creatures as well. Not trying to be funny but, I suppose it would be appropriate for them to gather together and sing a chorus of the old church song “He Will Set Your Fields On Fire” LOL. Seriously, that photo does create a mood. Good photography Tipper!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Oh, I wish it was close to spring time for us up here in PA. We still have a month or so to go before it will be time for any out door chores. I’m waiting impatiently.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    The garaen is already plowed under. But the blacksmith did burn off the zoyia grass and pampas grass yesterday. Today it’s spitting sleet/snow mix. 32 now 72 yesterday! Oh Mizzouree I love you.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I also still need to burn off the brush piles from the ten acres that I cleared and plowed last year, but it has been too wet. It rained all day yesterday and it finally quit this morning. We still have snow on the ground even after all the rain and it is supposed to rain or snow again tonight. We’re not in spring planting weather yet here in Michigan! The ashes do help the garden grow! Be careful burning your garden Tipper!
    John Pallister
    Twitter @PointlessPicks

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    March 5, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I just love spring-the dirt when you’re digging and the leaves when you’re raking! I could just lay down and waller in it like an old pig. God has given us such gifts and I enjoy them. Have a good weekend.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 11:29 am

    If you are very careful about your burning, the process itself is very good for your garden. It burns all the old pieces of this and that, it kills some insect eggs and larvae,kills weed seeds and the burned stuff puts carbon into your soil. The darkened spot warms up earlier(soaks up the sun) so you end up with earlier germination. The American Indians burned the native grasses regularly to kill weeds and encourage growth of the grasses that the wildlife ate. Like so many things, burning can be both good and bad. Be careful and you will probably benefit from the burning.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I have got to burn off my garden as soon as it dries up again. And
    since the wind here blows from the
    southwest toward the northeast, I’ll start burning the upper side
    first and let it burn backwards.
    I hope to get everything plowed or
    tillered by the 15th and usually
    start planting after the 20th. And
    those Planting by the Signs Calendars of yours is a must…Ken

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Bet it feels good to have it done,Tipper. Have a great weekend!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Never have burned off the garden spot before. Down here in Florida nobody seems to do that. Have a great weekend Tipper.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 10:08 am

    We are a little ways yet before we can burn off our garden (snow)- we live in the city so it’s a little bit different you have to get a burn permit and they won’t give you one if it’s too dry.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Oh Tipper, I think I envy you being able to burn anything outside. If it is dry enough here it is frozen. But long about April we’ll be down by the pond and the old winter grass will drive us crazy so we’ll burn it off, then the next time we’re out to sit and enjoy watching the day go past, it will all be sweet and green.
    But my peas are in, hopefully they have survived our last little blast of winter. My garlic appreciates its new home in the Market Garden, the ducks don’t waddle out that far to sit on it.
    Tail docking on sheep this weekend but soon I’ll be taking more stuff out to the Market Garden.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    March 5, 2011 at 9:57 am

    When I was a teenager Dad and I would burn off fields of several acres after we cleared the bushes and trees and briars, we did this on hillsides you could not use a tractor so we had to plow with a team of horses,but never had a fire get out on us, good thing it would have been hard for fire department to get to it, we were about 1/2 mile back in the hills, this was Robertson County Ky.

  • Reply
    Kim Campbell
    March 5, 2011 at 9:56 am

    The park department used to burn (controlled)the dunes where I grew up, periodically to help with the growth and maintain the dunes. It was beautiful, but always scary as well.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Congratulations, Nancy!!!
    I’m afraid to try to burn my garden off. It is so dry here….
    Within the last two weeks we’ve had grass fires on both sides of our farm. And the wind has been atrocious. I’m just afraid it would get out of hand.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 9:34 am

    would love to know more about the how to of burning the garden…

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 9:18 am

    My husband has already been out burning the garden. I can’t wait to plant this year!

  • Reply
    Donna W
    March 5, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I won’t be burning my garden; there’s garlic growing out there, planted last fall!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Hey Tipper,
    We are late getting in some of the usual early crops like green peas, early onions..etc…Now’s the time!…We had so much rain and the ground is slowly drying…
    If you burn without a permit in between the right season, in our county (the country), some TN Volunteer Fireman might see the smoke and call an alarm!..LOL
    Happened to us one time…so embarrassing! Here they came chugging up the driveway to make sure the woods weren’t on fire!
    We were just a day or two away from the safe burning dates in our county!…The good side was to know that those boys and girls pay attention..and I respect them for that!…Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    Janice MacDaniels
    March 5, 2011 at 7:48 am

    When I was very young, my family lived in Abilene, TX. We were renting a small house and the fenced-in backyard was just a mangle of weeds and scrub. My dad burned off the yard (to my little first grader horror). He said, ‘the grass will come back much better and you will have a yard to play in.’ He was right!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Elithea-you are so right-very important to make sure its day you can burn : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 7:21 am

    We’re cleaning our gardens here today too… hopefully we’re not too late! I really need to get some early spring crops in the ground, but have limited space… Still need to rake out the old debris and get things ready.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 6:52 am

    wish i could have seen it, i love fire. about 35 years ago, someone told me if i burned off our dead grass it would come back in even better. oh well, they forgot to say that the black stuff would stay there for months and track in the house every time one of my sons FORGOT and walked across it.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 6:22 am

    but…but!!! Misty keeps posting DON’T BURN, DON”T BURN, the fire danger is so high! and I was wondering who would be burning anyway, is this what she meant? i hope not.

  • Reply
    Nancy @ A Rural Journal
    March 5, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Yay!! I’ll get the list to you asap! Thank you!!
    Be careful in your burning endeavors. That fire can get away from you! 🙂

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