Appalachia Gardening Planting By The Moon Signs

4th Annual Planting By The Signs Test – And Results From Last Year

Planting by the signs 2011

If there was one word to describe the Blind Pig & the Acorn’s 3rd Annual Planting By The Signs Test it was bad.

Our test subject for last summer was cucumbers. All participants plant a few seeds on a good day according to the signs-and a few on a bad day-then we compare how or if the plants developed and produced differently. But mostly-we just have a whole lot of fun.

I couldn’t tell any difference between my good and bad plants last summer-because they both were horrible. We had the poorest cucumber production we’ve ever had-so did Pap and Granny. The only difference I noted-was the bad day seeds sprouted before the good day seeds-even though they were planted a day or so later. The plants all came up good-but just failed to produce as they should. Pap wondered if it was because we saw so few bees around them.

Results from other testers:

Penny: I think it was so strange that my bad day cucumbers seem to do better…I did get a couple more cucumbers from them than the good days.

Nicole: Sadly, mine were a flop.  BUT–we had fun trying it and checking them!

B. Ruth: Our cucumbers did great….the bad day came up first even though they were planted later…but the good day came up and soon were growing great…not all the bad day came up….We had so many cucumbers this year that we had to sneak up to the neighbors house when he was gone to prayer meeting and hang them on his door…LOL

Sylvia: We planted them all, 3 of the plants didn’t come up at all, and three did, but only one of them produced anything. I think all in all we got 3 cucs! Cest la vie! Maybe next year they will be better!

Terry: Mine burned up so fast this year,we didn’t get any.

Mark: Mine did right well for a while, but then they were overtaken with gourds. We may have gotten a couple of cukes off them. For a while, I thought I could tell a distinct difference between the ones planted in the bad signs and the good signs, but then once they became hidden in the gourd jungle, I lost track. Sorry about that. Nevertheless, it was fun while it lasted.

Helen: Here’s the post with the final report. Reddirt Woman Mine didn’t survive the heat. I got a few but not like on past tests.

Jennifer: The good day ones started out ahead of the “bad” day ones, but then it all evened out. There was no difference in the number of cukes in the end and frankly, they all pooped out earlier than I had hoped.

David Templeton: I planted both good day and bad day cucumbers in close proximity so earth was same. Although we had a long period of hot, dry weather, I kept them watered. I kept the growing vines on tomato cages rather than allowing them to lay on the ground. Having said all that, none of the vines produced. The yield was almost nothing.

Rachelle: Mine were a total flop. I think that cold snap that we had about the time that we planted them done mine in. I am not planting anything outside next year until June. LOL

Barbara: Mine were a flop. I got a couple of cukes from the bad day plants. Then the squash bugs killed the plants. I was so mad. I had planted marigolds, nasturtiums to help kill the bugs. Didn’t work, I really got no cukes or squash all summer. One pumpkin that didn’t turn all the way orange.

Carrie: The chickens ate our’s so they were a flop too. lol…not a good cuke year!

Stacey: I did have some sort of cross pollination and the cucs were orange in color and more fat(ish) rather than long. The production wasn’t great for either but the ones planted on the good days did a bit better in the production department.

Becky: The bad day seeds grew 5 vines and I picked exactly 7 cucumbers from those vines. The good day seeds grew 2 vines and I picked exactly 7 cucumbers from those vines. With less than half the plants the good day cucumbers yielded the exact same amount. Even though they didn’t produce many cucumbers I still say it was somewhat of a successful  comparison of good day/bad day examples.

Mamabug: My poor cucumbers just died from the intense heat we’ve had this summer. No matter how much we watered the sun just baked those plants. We plant so much earlier here in Florida they just didn’t have a chance to make it being planted in May.

Warren: Both my good and bad plants did well until deer or something ate all of the good plants and some of the bad plants. The 3 bad plants that are let are doing great though!


I told you it was bad-I believe the only folks who had success in any form were B. Ruth and Mark-the rest of us were attacked by heat, rain, chickens, deer, bugs, and just plain bad luck.

Sow true seeds october beans

But hey this year is a brand new summer with a brand new garden so I say lets move on to the Blind Pig & The Acorn’s 4th Annual Planting By The Signs Test! Sow True Seed has generously decided to sponsor this year’s test-and they’ve donated enough seed for close to 40 participants.

This year our test plant will be a Heirloom Bean that is good for drying-around here we call them October beans-because that’s typically when they are vine dried enough to be shelled out for later use. The following is a quote about the bean from Sow True Seed:
Rare Heirloom. Native American dry bean variety dating back to the 1830s from the Cherchei Nation in Tennessee. Prolific producer and a great winter staple. Bush habit. Direct seed after danger of frost has passed.
Now for how the test details-I mail you the seeds-you plant a few on the best day according to the signs-and you plant the others on the worst day according to the signs-informing me through out the season how each ‘days’ plants are doing. Along with the package of seeds I send-I’ll also send detailed instructions about which days to plant on.
 *This planting project has ended, but be on the lookout for the next one.

One more thing-if you know anything about the Cherchei Nation in TN-please leave me a comment-the only information I could find just kept bringing me right back to the heirloom October bean.




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  • Reply
    Missy Steiger
    March 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I would love to participate in your “Plant by the signs” this year. I live in central WV and we are a family of seven. We planted and harvested our potatoes by the signs two years ago. We were told if harvested at the right time they wouldn’t rot. We didn’t have one potato rot that year and we kept some into late spring!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Interesting results, isn’t it. Strengthens my believing that, in the end, it’s all up to God, and no one else.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Tipper, I found the info on the Trail of Tears bean from the Cherokee Nation.Their bean is a small black bean. T

  • Reply
    March 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Tipper, let me get with the Cherokee Nation here in Okla. They give away heirloom seeds every year. The Trail of Tears Bean, I think that’s the name they call them. I will call or email them and see if I can get ahold of some or maybe the description. T

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    March 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    We tried our best to plant by the signs last year and the whole garden dried up from the heat..didn’t even have many taters…I hope it’s a better year for gardens..I’ve heard of the October beans but never tried growing any..Susie

  • Reply
    Judith Curry
    March 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Our deer family has learned to respect the electric fence protecting our garden. It’s alot of work but we love our homegrow food. They still come up from the woods and poke around in my flowers and look at me like I’m the interloper, and I guess maybe I am. Good growing to you all. Judith

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    February 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    John: Click on this link and you will find “Multiplying Onions”.

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Does any know there I could find some multipling onions

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Now I kinda feel bad taking all
    those jars of pickles you made
    for me last year. They were the
    best I ever saw. And they were
    even peeled!!! Thanks. You don’t
    know how many times you saved my
    acid reflux problems just drinking
    that cold pickle juice straight
    from the frig. I’m real anxious
    to start my garden…Ken

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Oh my. A few warm days and Tipper talking about the Planting by the Signs Test and I start to believe Summer may really come. It won’t be cold forever.
    I don’t garden but I do take an avid interest in things done by the signs. The Moon is the most fickled of our signs. She moves in to a new sign every few days and it is her position that we are talking about when we talk about the signs.
    I try, if at all possible to make kraut and pickles when the moon is in the sign of Aries, which is the head.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    February 29, 2012 at 11:24 am

    My tomatoes were not good last year – very small. The sweet peppers, what I was able to save, were small, but sweet. Of course, the deer ate the pepper flowers and the strawberry flowers before I could obtain much of a crop.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    February 29, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I have to agree with Ed and Mike about the Cherokee nation…Roane County native here….
    Would love to have a pot of them beans cooking right now…before this hateful cold front moves in with its strong to severe thunderstorms….
    About the bees, we have a giant two-legged faerie bee that flits around the garden with it’s big brush and tickles the blossoms of each and every cucumber and squash, if we don’t have many bees. LOL..Even the teeny tiny bees will work as well as the honey and bumble bees…
    I think our bees are on the increase again here…says one beekeeper in our area…
    We also have many bee lovin’ shrubs planted that bloom at different times so I think that helps keep the bees around..
    “Batten down the hatches”…March in coming in with a bang…err Lion!
    Thanks Tipper for your good heart and hard work!!…Great post as usual!

  • Reply
    Tammy Flectcher
    February 29, 2012 at 9:37 am

    My cucs did not do anything in Johnson CIty TN last summer. I was so disappointed. I have 2 bee hives. They did not seem interested in the cucs, though they worked the squash.
    Tipper I would like to participate in the bean test this year. I can get them at the end of March when I am in Brasstown.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 29, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Maybe the Deer Hunter would like to help remedy some of the unconstrained deer population problems. It’s legal to harvest deer that are destroying your crops, ain’t it. Then you’d have meat to go with your beans.
    My mother used to grow October beans and something she called “little pink beans.” She saved the seed from year to year. She wasn’t happy until she canned 100 quarts of green beans and blackberries every year.

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 9:02 am

    I have not heard of the Cherchei Nation either…sorry. I am excited to try these beans and participating, Tipper. Bees are hirting in California, too.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    February 29, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I suspect that Cherchei IS Cherokee. I know that at my hometown of Kingston, TN, the Clinch, Tennessee, and the Emory Rivers converge. Kingston was declared capital of Tennessee at the request of the Cherokee so they would sign a treaty ceding land that is now Roane County. The next day, the capital was moved back to Knoxville and much later to Nashville. The reason was that a major cultural and religious center for the Cherokee was there. This was around 1807.

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 8:19 am

    The Blind Pig sure does make me put my “thinkin’ cap” on early with my coffee. First of all I pick my October beans and dry until they are very pink but still soft. Then I freeze them at this stage, and they make the thickest soup when cooked; they are very good and different taste. The old-old timers called it cooking them in the “green stage”. I can’t participate, but would like to retain bragging rights if mine do good.
    In my genealogy there are several spellings for a distant Indian Grandmother, Nikitie. Many Native American spellings are different. This sure is worthy of exploration!

  • Reply
    Carol Isler
    February 29, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I didn’t participate in the test last year, but I’d like to this time. My former neighbor, Mrs. Painter, who was born in 1900 up in the mountains of NC and lived to 2004, used to fuss at me for not planting by the signs. She’d cross the highway with a walking stick and her bonnet on whenever she saw me working the dirt. “Watch ya a’plantin’ thar, old sister?” she’d holler. Then proceed to lecture me about whatever it was I was doing wrong. “Painter,” I’d say, “I plant by the whenever-I-have-time signs.” This went on from 1977 when we were newly-weds until we moved in 1993. But we were just 3 miles away and continued to talk old-time gardening often.
    Tell Pap that I agree with him about the scarcity of bees. My cucumbers didn’t make, and all we good South Carolina gardeners know that cucumbers need bees to fill out. I only saw one blamed honey bee in my garden last year, lots of bumbles, but apparently not enough. I plan on remedying that this time as I am starting 2 bee gums in the back yard in late March. Too bad, they’ll miss out on the maples. I took the certified beekeeper class offered by the Clemson Extension office in Spartanburg and I’m ready for this!

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Last summer was poor for a lot of plants, our nights were too cool. I don’t have room for cukes, but my dad’s didn’t do well either.

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 7:37 am

    My grandmother always said that you had to plant cucumbers in the sign of the feet (Pisces) or you would have tons of blooms, but no fruit.
    I wish that I could participate in your bean growing experiment, but I have a herd of deer that live in my yard. Needless to say, planting anything is a disaster!

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Ed-that it means Cherokee is the only thing I could come up with too-hopefully someone else will enlighten us : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 29, 2012 at 5:30 am

    You don’t think the former could be the native American pronounciation, the latter the white invaders’ bastardization of the name? Come Casada boys, I know you know!

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 4:06 am

    that’s weird.over where i stay the garden was pumping out cukes like a house afire. i brought bagsfull to brasstown shops!

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