Appalachia Gardening

Corn & Tomatoes IN THE GROUND!

Planting corn in western nc

We used one of the best planting days this past week-Crab-The Breast-Cancer to plant 5 rows of corn and 106 tomato plants! Whew!

Seems like every weekend has been too wet or fell under the wrong sign for us to get the corn planted. The Deer Hunter announced we had to plant it after work-even if we were all wore out. I was dreading it something awful!

Silver queen corn in cherokee county


But it wasn’t so bad. The Deer Hunter’s new tractor tiller made the corn planting go lickety split. Waiting on someone to plow the long rows with a hand tiller seemed to take forever-but in 10 minutes it was done-thanks to the new tiller attachment.

Tiller with lay off attachment


The tractor left the dirt so powdery soft that it was a breeze for the rows to be laid off (well it was a breeze for me because The Deer Hunter did them!)

Field corn for hominy


We planted Silver Queen, Golden Queen (Pap and Granny like for their corn to mix) and a half a row of field corn so Granny can make hominy out of it.

First The Deer Hunter plowed the area we were going to plant in; then he laid off the rows with a lay off plow; and we dropped the corn into the rows.

How to plant corn


Then we walked along the rows dragging each foot so that the row was filled with dirt-covering the seeds. The girls like the covering part-because they are usually barefoot and they love how the dirt feels on their piggy toes.

Right when we were finished dropping the corn Chitter said “Oh is it time to pack in the corn? I want to pack the corn in can I? Can I?” Pap got a kick out of that.

In no time flat-me, The Deer Hunter, Pap, Chatter, and Chitter planted 5 rows of corn. I was so excited about how quick we got the work done that I said “Lets go home and plant tomatoes!” And we did.

The Deer Hunter had the raised beds ready and waiting-so all we had to do was dig a hole an plop the plants in. We added a spoonful or so of Epsom salt to each plant’s hole, like we did last year. A local old timer told me he and his Mother swore by adding Epsom salt when they planted their tomatoes. Since we had the best crop of tomatoes ever last summer-we decided to go the Epsom salt route again.

We started all of our tomatoes from seed. All but two of the tomato varieties came from Sow True Seed-who is sponsoring our garden this year. One variety-Cream and Sausage is from seed I’ve saved for several years. The other variety Ox Heart-came from a Blind Pig reader, Cee. I’ll tell you more about the Sow True Seed’s varieties as they began to grow.

I was so worried about getting the tomato seedlings started later than usual-the first of April this year. But in the end-it worked out fine. The tomato plants were just the right size when we planted them the other evening.

The hybrid corn-Silver Queen and Golden Queen came from the local feed store. My Uncle Lucky shared the field corn seed with Granny since he knows how much she loves hominy.

How’s your garden?



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  • Reply
    RB Redmond
    May 19, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Are those red corn seeds, they look a little like bean seeds, don’t they!
    We planted our garden all in pots this year. There’s only two of us here after all, and that way we don’t have to worry about what the farmers in adjoining fields spray their crops with. Last year, our whole first crop of tomatoes and squash got killed when the farmer behind us sprayed Roundup on his field instead of plowing it. This year we planted everything in pots close to the house and well away from adjoining fields, and after doing that – all the adjoining farmers plowed their fields. LOL Oh well, better safe than sorry.
    This year we planted everything but the wax beans from seeds we kept and dried from vegies we liked when we prepped the vegies to eat. Our ‘maters and beans are up and about a foot tall, our peppers are 3-4″. We planted them all about a month ago, but then when you plant in pots, you don’t have to wait for fields to dry from heavy rain.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Osagebluff quilter
    May 19, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    We are so lucky, the blacksmith’s brother does all the corn planting. We just have to pick it and freeze it. Although maybe this year I will try some pickled corn! It was so good last night!

  • Reply
    May 19, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Good help seems to always make work go faster. You are blessed to have such a close family.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    May 19, 2013 at 12:36 am

    We got ours in too — and I cover the corn the same way — shuffling along. The Epsom salts thing is new to me — does it help ward off blight?

  • Reply
    May 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    When Mom and Dad sold the family farm, one of the things I did was stand in the tractor shed barefoot and just smell the smells – the soil there was so fine because of all the traffic on it (no water); then I walked the orchard barefoot and smelled the smells – I missed the blossom time that year – that is a fragrance no perfumery can match.
    Does anyone taste the soil to determine what it needs? I didn’t learn that skill although some of Dad’s friends did that when I was very young – I’m not sure it would be wise these days with all the pesticides and artificial fertilizers that have been used in the fields since the 40s – but maybe folks will learn again as they have learned that most of the “old” ways are better.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    In my opinion you have the most important part of the garden in the ground. Corn and tomatoes are my favorite things! I sure hope you enjoy those ox hearts – they have become a staple at my house. For the last several years we have grown a variety of corn called ambrosia and it has become my all time favorite.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    a little diddy for the girls
    go girls go
    dirt between the toes
    sow seeds sow
    watch them grow

  • Reply
    May 18, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Planting time is a favorite of mine
    too, only I have to do it the old
    fashioned way. I love it though
    and usually I find myself talking
    softly to the seeds as I plant and
    cover them. But the most work is
    caring for the White Runners. One
    of the things I enjoy is helping
    start the runners to climb. Once
    you get ’em started, they seem to
    know what to do. And later they
    smile back with all them blooms.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2013 at 9:37 am

    It is easier when you have a small army of willing warriors. In my case, it is only one old sextenarian left alone to do battle with the rocks and roots, weeds and winds, poisonous creepers and crawlers, fountainous floods and scorching sun. But I shall prevail, that I might avail myself of this fresh season’s bounty.
    By the way what brand of jeans does the Deer Hunter wear? They seem to have a circular logo on the hind pocket. Just guessing I would say Skoals, Grisslys or Kodiaks. Are they fine, straight or long cut.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 18, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Tipper, that’s lots of tomato plants. There will be lots of tomato sandwiches this summer and lots of tomato canning for the winter.
    This is good timing for your planting since we are now having a good slow soaking rain. It will make all those grains of corn pop open and sprout!
    I’m sure glad to see you plant so many since you always share with me.
    Bill, I’ve never heard of starting corn in the greenhouse. What is the purpose of that? I’ve also never heard of green corn. Is that something new? I know about the blue corn. I think it’s what we called Indian corn when I was a kid.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2013 at 8:31 am

    I don’t have a true garden. I have lots of flowers, but I did plant two pepper plants. They were started somewhere and I bought them. I don’t have a greenhouse, but I so love reading how hard your family works and the success you all enjoy. Nothing tastes better than fresh white corn.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    May 18, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Tipper, I would love to know how to make hominy. Do you think you could do a post when Granny makes it?

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    May 18, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Salts add Magnesium to the soil and actually benefits any root crop.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Absolutely the best time of the year is planting time, and I too always loved the feel of the dirt on my bare feet. I always plant too much then work myself silly when it all comes in. I have only ever planted some root crops by the signs. I learned about Epsom salts from an old timer who simply told me to use “Sauts.” I finally figured out what was meant, and I have had a green garden ever since.
    For some reason in bygone days our family did not use signs for planting, but were quick to check the signs for pickled corn or beans.
    Savor planting time with your family, as they are such precious years. Now I find myself the lone gardener trekking through the soil wearing orthopedic shoes. Within me lies an unquenchable spirit to make the soil come alive. Nature and I become one!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 18, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Sounds like a perfect start to your garden!

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    May 18, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Tipper I started my Silver Queen in the green house this year and it has worked out great so far as of today it is 12-14 inches tall, I don’t have room to raise much corn, as it is I will have to put my second electric fence charger in another location to keep deer and other varmits out. I also planted a few hills of green corn this time so I could try to make some green cornmeal, going to try blue corn next year.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2013 at 7:07 am

    How fun to watch you start your garden and I will watch it grow with you as time goes by!
    We don;t have anything as big as this, just a small garden I dug myself.
    Smiles, cyndi

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