Appalachia Gardening

B. Ruth’s Garden and Deer Startle

Today’s guest post was written by B.Ruth

Gardening in east tn
Here is Roy on hands and knees, putting in for me, the small row of Specialty cucumber “Richmond Green Apple”, we are thinking of putting a little arch chicken wire for them to run up and on, but the package says they are compact so we will have to wait and see…On the arbor in front of him we planted “Suyo” the long green Asian cucumber…The Marketmore cucumbers we got from you/Sow True Seeds will go in the big garden, where they get fairly large and run…

Growing moon flowers in tn
The tall trellis in the back of the middle bed is for my Moon Flowers and Blue Morning Glories that I generally grow there every year or sometimes Scarlet runner beans for the hummingbirds. In front of those we planted 6 squash, yellow straight neck and zucchini…we love squash. I would like to plant a few crookneck. We have Marconi peppers, Green bell peppers, Gypsy peppers and a couple of jalapeno peppers…We also have in the roadside bed our tomatoes…and small tomatoes. We have Black Krim, Sun Glow and Sweet 100’s this year as well! I always plant Marigolds in my garden with veggies to help keep down critters..bugs..etc.

The other trellises up front have Kens beans and Rattlesnake beans on either side…One trellis up front has Asparagus beans (yard long beans) they have to be soaked and are slow to germinate. They are supposed to be crispy and tender when stir fried. We also have two trellises of Kentucky Wonders…We can’t wait to see the difference in the growth of these beans in comparison since we will have them close together to watch. Roy does plan on making some T-pees for some more beans in the bigger garden…along with the taters and onions and okra.

How to scare deer out of garden
This picture is of my permaculture bed…the thing hanging in the middle is a “deer startle” that I made out of old plastic bracelets and and necklaces that are left after I buy out someone’s jewelry for crafts. Yes, I designed it myself…(can you tell) but it seems to be working, it makes a knocking sound when the wind blows…Roy said, “What in the heck is that thing?” But when we got it up, he said “It’s different and it might work!”

I have red lettuce, green bib lettuce, spinach, kale, red and green radishes/ On either end I have Fennel plants that overwintered so I left them and a front row of Verbena for the hummingbirds.. Roy is going to build me another bed like this one. I don’t have to bend over to work these, I’m not really supposed to bend I think it is 90 degrees..?…after my hip surgery…


I  hope you enjoyed peeking into B.Ruth and Roy’s garden as much as I did. How cool is that deer startle? Looks like an art piece but has a practical side too.



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  • Reply
    April 7, 2018 at 9:53 am

    This post showed up at the bottom of today’s post, and the timing couldn’t be better as I am trying to get up the gumption to build at least one waist-high bed this year so I can do some of my gardening without leaning. That last picture is inspiring!

  • Reply
    O P Holder
    May 6, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    It was good to finally meet you last night (and also the Deer Hunter) in Bryson City.
    Enjoy your newsletters a lot.

  • Reply
    May 5, 2016 at 6:08 am

    That’s a neat garden, and I say for the Deer Startle, what ever works,, we for years didn’t have any problems with deer, there just wasn’t that many in this area, you had to get closer to the Bank Head Forrest to see deer, but it’s different now, they are showing up on the 4lane every year now, that’s how you can judge the varmint population is by how many get hit on the highway…

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 5, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Most of us are mere drudges, B. Ruth is an arteest! Her gardens are works of art! While her gardens provide nourishment for the soul and body, most of our’s only provide sustenance for day to day living.
    How lucky she, to have found a partner who is as interested in gardening as she seems to be. It’s not only you Tipper, who is lucky!
    My daughter and grandson came by the other day. While we were outside, Missy said to him, “Let’s go look at Papaw’s garden.” I had to say, “papaw don’t have anything planted yet.”
    Later on we (my grandson and I) went for a walk near where last years garden had been. “What is that Papaw?” He had remembered!
    “It’s just a weed.” I told him. “Run, wherever you want to!” and he did. He is only four, going on five.
    Why can’t people understand that everything they consider food is made of dirt. We are all made of dirt. Everything is made of dirt! If Papaw had a little help, we would only have to the grocery store once a month or so for the three S’s. Soap, Soda and Salt!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 4, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    We just got back this evening from South Carolina…bad storm been another coming on…computer problems…surprised to see all the pictures, only expected the one….
    will have to comment later..
    Thanks to all for the comments….
    Ed…Jim…where the camper shell is located, by it is a 6′ h by 25’x 25′ enclosed with a rio grand fence…Inside that is housed the “deer startle helper”….a mighty fine big “IT” dog called “BOOGER”, kinda forgot to mention the “big barker”! I’m gone…lightning and thunder now….

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    May 4, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    The garden is beautiful and the deer startle is genius. I’ve read of people tying plastic store bags and/or metal pie pans to poles or ropes in gardens to achieve the same thing, but Ruth’s is far more attractive.
    Hope everyone’s having a great week.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    May 4, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    I enjoy everybody’s comments and additions to Blind Pig and the Acorn but I have to say, B. Ruth has always been one of my favorite contributors to your wonderful on-line magazine.
    What a pleasure to see into her garden. Would that mine were so nice.
    Thank you, Tipper, and thank you, B. Ruth for the tour.

  • Reply
    May 4, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    How did you make the trellises? I need some help in that area. My inventions never work, but your’s look ideal.. Please give us the directions.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    May 4, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    wow the garden is going to look like a magical place when all the trellises are filled. isn’t it wonderful to grow from seeds such a bounty of delicious things…the Good Lord provides us with such blessings…sending big ladybug hugs and love

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    B.Ruth-Great looking garden! Great description too! I do have a question. You know I always notice things in pictures that most people don’t. Is the red camper shell part of the garden? The reason I ask, I used to have a red Ford Ranger with a camper shell that looked just like that one. When my son totaled the truck, we took the camper shell off with intentions of repurposing it. I never found a use for it, so I sold it. I do have a bed liner from my Nissan pickup he wrecked that serves well as a compost bin.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 4, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Won’t those bracelets and necklaces will look chic on the antlers of an 18 point whitetail buck this fall? He’s gonna reach over a little too far and Voilá!
    All the other bucks will laugh him plum out of the country. His does will have nothing to do with him unless they think he can help them design their wardrobe. He will have an advantage though. When deer season comes around, hunters will not be able to shoot him. It’s hard to aim a weapon during fits of laughter.
    Speaking of deer deterrents, we used to kill a crow and hang it up in the middle of the cornfield to keep the others out of the field until the corn was all up and growing. I wonder if that would work for deer, kill one and hang it in the garden or easier yet take your trophy down off the wall and put it on the post where your plastic owl sits. For even great effect, hang bracelets and necklaces on its antlers. Just a thought.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    And Beverly and Roy,
    You have a beautiful garden full of stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much wire for things to run on, but that’s a good idea. We ain’t got a Deer Problem around here, too many barking dogs. They see everything you know, one time I got down like Roy and when I raised up, I was about 70 feet from my hoe. My dogs saw me on all fours crawling back to the other side and one jumped on my back for a ride, while the udden ’bout poked my eyes out. They loved seeing me down there like them. Another nice post! …Ken

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    May 4, 2016 at 11:07 am

    That is what I call serious gardening!
    Would love to have about three of those deer frightening works of art!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    May 4, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Wow! B. Ruth’s and Roy’s garden looks great. Really like the idea of the deer startle too!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 4, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Nice neat garden. Those trellis wires are really nice. I keep thinking I’ll do that but always get sticker shocked when I price it out. But every year I get frustrated scraping up enough bean sticks; especially for the mountain white “half-runners”. In a way though, it works out best because I trim the lower limbs off the yard trees which needs done anyway. Admitedly it doesn’t look nearly as neat.
    Watch out for the fennel. It self-seeds like crazy and I’m having to dig or pull up lots of seedlings. It is a pretty plant and smells good but it does take up the room. I like the taste of fennel seed in tomato sauce in Italian cooking. I just haven’t figured out how to get the husk off the seed.
    Mr. Jim’s post reminds me of a conversation I had with a mother and daughter about the nut grass at their place. The mother said their neighbor said the only way to get rid of it was to move off and leave it ! But when I was a kid, even seeing a deer was exciting because there were so few. Now they are yard animals. As the fella said about the beaver that cut down his apple tree, “I like beaver. I’m glad we have them. I just don’t like THAT beaver !”

  • Reply
    May 4, 2016 at 10:09 am

    What a beautiful garden…so much thought and time involved. I daresay the deer probably just stop to admire that lovely deer startle. Unfortunately, I have stopped planting some of the things that attract critters, and that being beets and corn. For a deterrent, I repurposed children’s scary shark kickboards hanging and bouncing about–even startles me if I go to the garden daydreaming. Even in this populated area the critters like hanging out at my house.
    It will be wonderful when planting time gets here as I am being overrun by a jungle of various plants and light which give a daily workout carrying. When I am overwhelmed I just look at the scraggly little plants or pricey nice plants for sale. I saw a 9.99 tomato plant at Walmart.
    Gotta admire B. Ruth for persevering with the gardening even with back problems. Typical Appalachian determination, and thanks to B. Ruth for a peek at her garden!

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    May 4, 2016 at 9:53 am

    These gardens are beautiful! We have only rows but we do plant along the fence (my husband put up a high one that keeps the deer out) so things can run up it. I’m thinking of putting our tomatoes there if we can ever get them out. I’m thinking we could tie them to the fence and if the deer pruned them a little on the outside of the fence it wouldn’t hurt.
    We have had destruction by groundhog last year & they are back this year. We have the trap out and yesterday we caught a squirrel! Years ago we had a well-mannered groundhog who never bothered the garden. He lived under a shed next to the garden and I would throw the big squash, etc. over there for him. I don’t know if these we have now are his descendants or what but last year they mowed down my green beans just like someone had taken scissors and clipped them. My son wants to shoot and cook one but I get the yucks at that idea.
    I’m thinking of you and your family every day and praying for you all.

  • Reply
    Perri Morrison Smith
    May 4, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Dear Tipper – I just love that Deer Startle! And that gave me ideas about what to do with all this old costume jewelry I have everywhere. I was wonderin’ if anyone had ever made the same mistake as I – planting the hot peppers too close to the sweet banana and bell peppers. I had the hottest bell peppers in the county one year because of that, and I couldn’t GIVE them away after the first round! I hope everyone’s garden grows strong and productive this year. Much love from Madison County on the riverbank of the French Broad.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    May 4, 2016 at 9:34 am

    That’s a lovely garden area you have there, B. Ruth and Roy.
    I usually put in some marigolds as well, with the same intent (plus I just like them). We’ve had some martins take over a bluebird house this spring, which got me to thinking about hanging some gourds above the garden so they wouldn’t compete with the bluebirds and also to see if I can’t get some help with pests.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    May 4, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Best wishes for wonderful yield from the Ruth and Roy garden! It is beautiful and shows evidence of much planning and hard work.

  • Reply
    May 4, 2016 at 9:05 am

    bRuth and Roy have a wonderful garden – they must play in the dirt 24/7!
    Love that Deer Startle!! I’m going to have to see what treasures I can find that can become a deer startle since the deer herd around here seems to be increasing again but I would love to have a larger garden anyway.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 4, 2016 at 8:27 am

    That’s so cool, all of it. The wire trellises are a very good idea, wonder if they stay in place from year to year or have to be repositioned each year. The startle makes a very pretty ornament for the garden as well as being utilitarian. Roy is a good helper to have around.
    B Ruth, I really like that you plant things for the winged critters!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 4, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Tipper and B. Ruth–I thoroughly enjoy peeking into anyone’s garden, and it ‘pears to me you folks are raising enough to feed a small army and feed it well.
    Howsomever, I’ve got serious doubts about how effective your deer startle will be in the long term. I’ve been in a losing war with those critters for nigh on two decades now. Maybe they are paying me back for the fact that venison is featured prominently or solely in four of the cookbooks my wife and I have written. Whatever the case, I’ve tried hair clippings, deer-be-gone and other sprays, cheap perfume, Irish Spring soap, human urine, netting, wire, triple bands of tape that is sprayed, trip lighting, tin plates, streamers, and a whole bunch of other “remedies.” Every single one of them have worked–for an average of about three weeks until the deer get accustomed to them. The only thing that has had a longer term effect is spraying their brown behinds with a light load of #8 shot at a distance of about 40 yards. That does get their attention!
    If the startle has permanent efficacy, please let me know.
    Jim Casada

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