Appalachia Gardening

How Does My Garden Grow?

Growing tomatoes in appalachia
Our garden is coming right along. The tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse seem to be growing an inch every night. It always seems to take forever for them to germinate and get their first real leaves but from then on they grow by leaps and bounds.

My purple asparagus is spearing its way through the earth and my is it tasty!

My apple trees are blooming and their sweet smell is perfuming the backyard. We’ve only had our grapevines a couple of years, but they are looking great! Maybe this is the year I’ll finally get a few grapes.

You may remember we used a few of our old mushroom logs to build a new bed in the backyard. Apparently the mushroom logs like their new location. I’ve been gathering mushrooms from them. I guess they showed me they weren’t quite through after all.

One row of my Sow True Seed Radishes didn’t come up. I planted the bare spot with more green onions. Chatter got most of her herb/medicinal seed planted in the greenhouse and they have sprouted.

A few days before Pap passed away he felt like getting out in the garden for a while. He discovered something had eaten most of his cabbages. He thought it was a deer that’s been hanging around, but The Deer Hunter said it was likely a groundhog since there was more damage than rabbits usually do but no deer sign. I checked on Pap’s little garden today and the cabbage seem to be making a come back so maybe Granny will be able to make kraut this summer.

Please tell me how your garden is doing.



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  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 7:19 am

    The temp here dropped below freezing twice in the past week, and I’m biding my time! Nothing planted yet, but garden prep is underway. A winters-worth of “enriched” bedding from the larger goat barn is now neatly distributed across my largest vegetable garden. Can hardly wait to see the rows of Sow True Seeds sprouting 🙂
    I was wondering yesterday if Chatter ever tried her hand at that jewelweed salve you mentioned some time back? I’d love to know more about it. A few days ago I made the mistake of absent-mindedly scratching at one of the many, many blackfly bites on my arm, and now I have a lump AND an itch. Bug bites seem to last longer on me than a lot of folks…just special, I guess.

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    April 27, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    In my herb harden, just a little bit of my parsley and none of my thyme has come up, so I’ll have to reseed that the sage, on the other hand, is sprouting well.
    After several years of successfully reseeding itself, the Four O’Clocks didn’t come up at all, so we got more seeds to reseed them along with some other garden flower seeds along the side of the house where we have a cottage garden.
    The roses have gone totally crazy, growing so much they’ve covered the front walkway with a glorious profusion of flowers, but my two gardenia bushes died, after doing so well for a couple of years.
    It’s so strange how we lose well established things after a year or two here, yet other things grow so well. Maybe it’s the sandy soil.
    As for Pap’s cabbages coming back up again, it reminds me of our resurrection after death, when we’re welcomed into the arms of Jesus.
    Prayers everyone’s having a good week.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 26, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    I am late and a tired old lady tonight…Worked as best I could in the garden this morning. Giving directions (overseer) which he doesn’t cotton to…ha
    Made strawberry freeze jam this evening…and put up a gallon of berries in the freezer…Some in the fridge for shortcake…
    I will send you pictures of some of our raised beds in front of the house…A bigger garden is on the side past the azaleas and columbines…this one holds taters, onions, soon to be okry (we plant when it gets hot) and some more cukes….
    B Ruth

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    April 26, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    My garden now, unfortunately, does not have veggies. The last I planted here in Milledgeville all got “eaten down” at the ground when the okra plants were more than knee high. I don’t have a good place to plant except the back yard–not good–and so my long-time farming-gardening instincts are curbed here. But I like to read about others’ successes with gardening! Maybe I will do some potted tomatoes. But spring has come to my address in Georgia. My irises are in full bloom, three beautiful rose bushes are in fluent bloom, and Stella d’ora daylilies are brilliantly yellow! So I do have a flower garden! Spring, the time of great hope and future promises of bounty! How reassuring!

  • Reply
    Debbie Nobles
    April 26, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    My grandpa Robert Wilson that grew up in WNC always had a huge garden here in Pensacola, Fla.I grew up helping him.He died onMarch18,1973.He had planted a huge garden which was early for here.He had finished it on March17.He died in his sleep.That garden turned out to be his best ever.It fed us all until Fall.I bet your Dad’s will do the same.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 26, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Plow hath not turned the soil,
    in which best plans were laid.
    Beds of radishes and onions,
    with coverlets of weeds are made.
    The bones of last year’s harvest,
    point starkly toward the sky.
    The seeds of this year’s bounty,
    still, in their packets lie.
    As April wanes and May appears
    and Summer’s heat draws near,
    closer looms the prospect,
    ‘twill be a Sabbatical year.
    I hope the mice do better!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2016 at 11:58 am

    It seems that gardens are constantly evolving. The first couple of years I planted and the deer and rabbits reaped. Then my husband decided the dogs would be house dogs so I commandeered the dog kennel panels and put them around the garden. After that, we got to enjoy the gifts from the garden ourselves. A few years after that, my daughter-in-law was the recipient of about 20 baby chicks that had been hatched for school projects which she thought would get along just fine in our garden. Problem was (and is) we have lots of owls and hawks out here as well as foxes and raccoons and my husband and I were getting ready to leave on a two week vacation. So-o-o-, we added a peaked roof frame and covered the roof area and the dog panels with a finer mesh cloth. The chickens seemed happy and with “automatic” feeders and waterers daughter-in-law and granddaughters only needed to make the 45 minute trip every two days. That went fine for their first two trips. The next time as they are driving in, granddaughter asks why the chickens left their clothes all over the floor – – and where are the chickens. Needless to say the garden was gone too. Must have been quite a scene. Never did find any remains so I’m wondering if the culprit was the two legged kind but didn’t find footprints or drag marks or any other evidence. That was the last of our chicken adventure but since then even the squirrels have left our roofed garden alone.
    I had saved discussion about supports for vining plants and contacted Ken Roper about his neat idea. But, as usual with anything I suggest, my engineer husband takes the idea and runs away with it. As a result the current garden evolution includes a jungle gym for vining plants. I’ll send you a picture soon. It’s a hoot!!
    By the way, I tried making kraut last year – my storage places here in Central Texas were either too hot or too cold. Since we live a ways out and neither of us still travel into town daily for work, we have two refrigerators at the house and my husband has one refrigerator in the shed for drinks for him and his guests. (I know – this makes us sound really fancy; but this also helps when the whole family gathers for a couple of days.) I’d like to claim one of the refrigerators and set it at 45 or 50 degrees for making kraut and other pickling ventures; but so far, the engineer is opposing the idea. Any suggestions?
    Sounds like kraut making may become a 3 generation endeavor around your place – new traditions – the evolution of gardens and life.

  • Reply
    Rosamary Christiansen
    April 26, 2016 at 10:53 am

    What kind of grapevines?
    My folks had a concord grapevine that was a rather disappointing looking thing when mom got it. Over the years it became massive! Dad built a large arbor and it produced bountifully! One of the fall harvest chores was making jars and jars of the best concord grape jelly ever! I miss all that now. I still have the recipe of anyone would like it.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I love all that is spring and getting back in the dirt. Those tomato plants look great, and I will be looking forward to your spring and summer pictures. The earth offers such renewal to the spirit.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    April 26, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I challenged Mother Nature and planted my Peppers, Squash and Tomatoes about three weeks ago, they saw their first rain last Friday and they have started growing, I just hope Blackberry Winter doesn’t get them. My onions, Lettuce and Potatoes are finally taking off after the rain last week. The Dear is keeping my asparagus sprouts flush with the top of the ground, I didn’t misspell Dear since it’s Dear Old Bill that’s keeping it cut and it is wonderful, I just have trouble getting it to the house, I love it raw and usually munch on it as I cut it. Corn, Beans, Kale and Okra haven’t shown their heads yet but I have high hopes the warm spell will wake them up. This time of the year brings up memories of my Dad who passed away in 1983 as he was a true son of the soil, he loved gardening pert near as much as fishing. Tipper you and your whole family are in my thoughts and prayers as I know working the soil will keep Pap with you all in your hearts and memories as he seemed to be cut from the same bolt of cloth as my Dad.

  • Reply
    Steve in tn
    April 26, 2016 at 8:49 am

    I want some asperagus. I tried with spotty results. I am going to try again.

  • Reply
    Maggie Roberts
    April 26, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Things are looking good Tipper! We can’t plant much yet, but my broccoli is about 6 inches high and the greens, like spinach, chard, etct are about an inch high. So are the radishes, but the beets are a little slow. Potatoes coming up. Our tomato plants in the greenhouse are 18 inches high at least, will plant next weekend. Trying some tomatillas this year, and they are really growing! Our apple trees are also blooming but they are still very young, so won’t get apples. Blackberries blooming. Had some asparagus already. I’m late getting my squash seeds started, but planted them anyway. Wow, I didn’t realize I had done so much until I started typing this. This doesn’t count what I’ve done in my little nursery business, and also bought 13 baby chicks. Couldn’t do anything last year because of illness and surgery, so guess I’m making up for lost time!

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    April 26, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Looks great! I would love to try growing asparagus sometime. The apple blossom looks so pretty and I’m sure smells that way too! I have six different tomato plants growing along with cucumbers and green onions. Oh yes and mint and herbs.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2016 at 7:59 am

    I’m excited to have a few things popping up in our garden…beets, beans and radishes from seed. Since we used soil from the compost pile we also have a few yet unidentified sprouts! Our garden area is very small but I love seeing how things grow. I’d like to have an asparagus bed…maybe next year. Good thoughts for a happy day!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 26, 2016 at 7:52 am

    I so miss being able to garden, life in a condo

  • Reply
    Melissa P (misplaced Southerner)
    April 26, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Way too early for a garden up here in Michigan (we typically get a late freeze in late-April/early May). I am thrilled to see my perennial trillium and wood poppies coming up and blooming. We even have more daffodils than usual. I think the squirrels that I cuss for stealing all my bird seed have paid me back by bringing new (probably purloined) daffodils to our yard. I’m seeing varieties I never bought.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 26, 2016 at 7:25 am

    I finished planting yesterday and if blessed with rain should have a good year. I planted more corn and beans than ever before, over 60 feet of bean rows and about 160 feet of corn rows in two varieties. Growing Kennebec potatoes for the first time this year, about 40 feet of row, plus 15 feet of Red Pontiac row. Haven’t told my wife but I planted about 20 feet of okra row which is about 15 feet too much but when one has dirt and seed and weather and the ground has been limed and fertilized what else is a wannabe farmer to do ? Somebody is always glad to get it. Sowed parsley and basil as well as a pack of perennial Gaillardia (Indian blanket flower). Outsmarted myself again thinking I had bought 6 sweet potatoe plants only to discover it was actually 9 or about twice as many as we need. Same with onions, about twice what we need. Planted 28 tomato plants, including 6 mystery ones that came up at the compost pile. Kinda neat to have them but risky to !
    I’ve been thinning and picking lettuce and giving it away at church. It grows incredibly fast. I thinned on Wednesday then picked again on Sunday and could pick it again this morning.
    Watching the Little Marvel peas anxiously, hoping they will bear before it gets too hot. Always a gamble here. They look great but have not bloomed yet and temps forecast to reach the 80’s this week ….. Bell pepper, jalapeno, summer squash, cucumber and radishes finish me off. I tried to get peanuts to plant and was told I couldn’t get them here.
    Now comes the maintenance !

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 26, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Oh Tip, that asparagus certainly looks good. I don’t think I’ve eaten purple asparagus before, is it good?
    The tomato plants are looking good too. Spring is so exciting and so full of new life and new experiences. life.

  • Reply
    Carol Reid
    April 26, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Started pepper and tomato plants with children at TLC in their new green house. Very exciting to see young plants growing.

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