Appalachia Gardening

Getting the Garden Started

Matt, Tipper, and Corie sitting

The Deer Hunter and I managed to get all the raised beds (except one!) cleared off and topped with compost a few weeks ago. Normally we wait till the day we’re going to plant the first spring vegetables. I’m so glad we got the chore completed ahead of time.

In addition to starting our tomatoes we managed to plant a few early spring items in the garden.

We planted a few rows of onions and radishes, a small row of two different early spring peas, some lettuce, and a row of carrots. Its been ages since I tried to grow carrots but I decided to try them again this year. And we planted a few potatoes in grow bags.

It feels so nice to be outside in the fresh air and the early spring planting always makes me feel so hopeful for the coming garden. The insects haven’t arrived yet and the weather usually cooperates which makes for stress free gardening.

I started my cabbage and a few beets indoors this year and will need to transplant them to the garden in the coming days. I’ve already moved them out to the greenhouse where they can get more light.

The peppers I started several weeks ago are doing well and I’m still hopeful they’ll produce sooner for us this year since I started them so much earlier.

We purchased some fruit trees and canes from the local 4H and I’m anxiously awaiting them.

Chatter ordered two elderberries for my Mother’s Day gift in 2020, but they never arrived. I was pleased to see the 4H list had elderberries so I ordered two. When Pastor Lon and his lovely wife came to officiate the wedding they brought me four elderberries they started from their plants so I’m going to have plenty of elderberries if they all make it.

We’ve had a few days of warm weather and sunshine. This evening I noticed a few volunteers had sprouted in one of our raised beds. The cold weather that’s coming back this week will likely kill them before I figure out exactly what they are.

Last night’s video: Sharing my Favorite Knives – In Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Margaret Evans
    March 29, 2022 at 10:45 am

    We have just had five days of glorious sunshine so I have been clearing the borders in shorts and vest top. I was thinking about what you said about carrots. I never had any success with them in open ground but they will grow readily if I set them in containers. Any old containers like old buckets, compost sacks old plastic tote boxes. We have carrot fly here so I am careful when thinning or use a companion plant like tagetes to mask the smell. I have set some malabar spinach today in pots which will sit in my back room against the french windows. I am fortunate that we face due south. We are expecting a cold spell as well. Take care.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    I’m so happy it’s time to start gardening! May God bless us all with successful gardens and a bountiful harvest. Happy gardening, y’all!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    Goodness Tipper you have been busy. I cleaned 4 out of 6 garden beds out. I can’t wait to get to plant.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 23, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Dusty and I plowed up our garden Monday and planted about 50 onions. We had a flood this morning and I was afraid our onions would be floating down in Lake Rhodhiss by now but I checked them after the rain stopped and they are fine. It ain’t over yet though. We’re under a tornado watch right now!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 23, 2022 at 1:59 pm

    Tipper–I’m surprised you are fooling with elderberries. They grow wild and in great abundance all around your area–there just waiting for the picking. Of course they are considerable trouble in various ways (have to be cooked or they can cause major digestive stress), have to be taken from the bloom cluster, etc. If they do really well trying eating some elderflower fritters. I’ve only done it a couple of times but I liked them. The same is true of squash blossoms, although I’ve fixed them far more frequently.

    • Reply
      March 23, 2022 at 2:29 pm

      Jim-I know elederberries grow here, but I’ve never been able to find one nearby 🙂 We take elederberry for medicinal purposes-it’s a great preventative, so that’s mostly why I want to grow them, but I hope to use the berries in other ways too 🙂

  • Reply
    March 23, 2022 at 10:32 am

    I’ve only put out onions and potatoes and wanted to put out peas and lettuce today. Nope, it’s raining right now. With the price of everything going up I pray to have a good garden this year. My potatoes are red pontiac saved from last year and the onion sets came from rural king. They are the purple sets and only cost 99 cent a pound. I imagine there will be a lot more gardens this year and a good time to put some extra seed back.

  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    March 23, 2022 at 9:29 am

    Excellent early spring gardening and family article, Tipper!…..I also enjoy your many interesting comments from readers!….Thank you!….Rick and Mary

  • Reply
    March 23, 2022 at 9:15 am

    You are way ahead of me on your gardening. I got four varieties of tomato seeds in their pots last week with little or no sunshine to help them along. I finally got a grow light and placed them on a heated pet mat as I said a little prayer.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 23, 2022 at 8:49 am

    I’m similar with you in the garden. I have lettuce, carrots, radishes, onions, potatoes and early peas planted. I covered everything but the potatoes and onions on those two nights in the 20s that we had. Even then, for the first time ever my first planting of radishes didn’t come up. The early peas came through fine. Hope they have time to make before it gets too hot. Lettuce came through fine. Carrots were not up then but have started now.

    I am trying an experiment with potatoes. In spring 2021 I planted four rows. Through the summer I dug two but left the other two. They of course put up a second set of tops. I didn’t know if they would have time to make anything or not. After they died back, I dug those two rows and found two ages of potatoes. The older ones were rough and brown (though they were Red Pontiac). The fall ones were small but the typical red. Anyway, I planted a row of the brown ones and a row of the red ones. I think the brown ones are going to do poorly, if at all, but the red ones will be OK I think.

    I didn’t try to eat the brown ones because I think I have figured out that if potatoes sprout (in the field anyway) they change and become no good for cooking. They get those hard clear spots in them and are soupy with lumps when cooked.

    Hope your elderberries do well for you. I am amazed at all the things you grow, especially on that north slope and surrounded by woods. You could do a lot more with this place than I do. Shade is a big constraint on where and what I plant.

    Wish I could still sit like Katy (?) is. I used to could do that and not think twice about it. Anyway, I’m grateful for that time.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    March 23, 2022 at 8:45 am

    It sounds like you and the deer hunter are putting your plan into action for another wonderful garden this year! The elderberries sound just wonderful to me! And let’s be positive (with the Lord’s assistance) the bushes are going to thrive and be loaded with berries! I’m absolutely waist high in negativity and I’m refusing to wallow in the mire! Here’s my stand in faith and great blessings! I planted some seeds and all I can say is we will see how it goes. I got no greenhouse but I am determined to build a sunroom on this beast of a home in time. That is, if I’m alive, Lord willing. Then I can hot tub, have a place to watch the snow and rain, raise plants and keep cats…

  • Reply
    Catherine Spence
    March 23, 2022 at 8:39 am

    I love to garden; can’t wait to get in there and start. Early mornings are my favorite time to be out there in it, when it’s cool and the sun is just coming up. Gardeners get to see so much that other people miss: last year when I was working among my squash plants one morning, I saw a bumblebee and a honeybee curled up asleep together inside one of the squash flowers. I wish I’d had my phone to take a picture of them!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2022 at 8:14 am

    This is my favorite time of year – time to get the garden going and being able to get outside more taking in all of creation. There is nothing like home grown vegetables, the produce in the grocery stores doesn’t even come close. We will be building some new raised beds this year and we’re really excited about that.

    Enjoyed last night’s video. My hubby is a knife collector too. He has always wanted that Case knife Matt has so this morning I ordered that one and a Mora for him. By any chance does Matt read Backwoodsman magazine? They have a lot of articles about knives and such.

    P.S. Tipper, can you give Donna Sue my e mail address? Hate to bother you but don’t know how else to get my info to her. Thanks!!!

    • Reply
      March 23, 2022 at 8:31 am

      Mint2Bee-Thank you for the comment!! Matt loves Backwoodsman magazine 🙂 He’s subscribed to it for years. I did send Donna Sue your email address 🙂

      • Reply
        March 23, 2022 at 9:25 am

        Tipper – Thank you so much – I really appreciate it! Have a great day!!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 23, 2022 at 7:13 am

    Tipper, you are always so meticulous with your planting, and you manage to produce a lot of vegetables in spite of living on the side of a mountain with limited sunshine! I love watching you this time of year. You are always so busy with planning and getting starters planted in red plastic cups that ALL have the contents documented on the side of the cup with a big black Sharpy!
    You are absolutely amazing with all the different things that you do! I think you are the most productive person I’ve ever known!

  • Reply
    Rita F Speers
    March 23, 2022 at 7:00 am

    Tipper, I’m really delighted to have found your blog and videos. I almost feel like a creepy stalker anxiously awaiting each one! The thing is….it’s bringing so much joy and fond memories to me and to my older sisters that I have shared your posts with! We are three sisters, ages this year will be 69 (me) 77 (Sue), and 80 (Evia Jean). We’re all blessed with good health. We grew up as a gospel singing family. Our Dad was a musician (fiddle, guitar, mandolin & anything with strings really). I remember him setting us all down in the living room when I was about 6 yrs. old and saying “We’re going to be a singing family”. It was a real case of “Daddy Sang Base” (Mama did sing tenor) my oldest sister sang lead and the middle sister sang alto. I was just expected to sing, so I’d pick whoever I wanted to sing with. We practiced almost every evening. We sang in church and later learned to play instruments. When our children came along they picked up instruments as well. Now some of their children play music. Your posts take us back to our roots…times of big gardens, canning and preserving and homemade entertainment. Our mother even sewed our clothes! So, Miss Tipper, your contribution to the electronic community fills a much needed niche in todays world! You understand the importance of our culture and your stories and book readings are precious to many. You bring people closer together! May your garden grow tall and the bugs be scarce! And know that your are much loved and greatly appreciated.

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