Appalachia Gardening

Planting By The Signs April 2014

Planting by the signs april 2014

April is here and I still don’t have my sugar snap peas planted! I managed to get all the other spring garden items planted but somehow didn’t manage to plant the peas Sow True Seed sent me. I hope to get them in the ground soon. As for the rest of the garden-

Sow true seed spinach


the spinach is up and doing good.

Black seeded simpson lettuce sow true seed


We planted two types of leaf lettuce-the Black Seeded Simpson is taking off fast-but the lettuce mix is barely poking out of the ground.

Radishes sow true seed


My sparkler radishes are coming up thick-I will need to thin them. I hate thinning plants even though I know it’s necessary. I always worry “what if the one I pull up is the one that was going to do the best?” My radishes did very poorly last spring and last fall. The plants were all tops and no radishes. I’m hoping this crop is better.

Beets seem to take forever to germinate-but mine are up. My green onions are also sticking their sword like leaves out of the ground. I love being surprised by a row of green swords where none were before.

Plum trees in appalachia
Since we live on the north side, everything takes a little longer to get started-which is a good thing when it comes to fruit trees and bushes that can sometimes get bit by a late frost. The only tree we have blooming so far is a plum tree Miss Cindy gifted me with last fall.

What’s growing at your place?


Today is Charles Fletcher’s 92 Birthday! If you feel like sending him a birthday wish-leave a comment for him and I’ll make sure he reads it. Chatter and Chitter sung for Charles last year-just in case you missed it-here’s the video.



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  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    April 1, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Happy Birthday Charles, I enjoy your
    comments when you lived in Canton. I
    bet you might know my Uncle (by
    marriage), Archie Pilkington. He worked
    and retired at Champion.
    I ain’t got nothing planted yet. Last
    year weaned me about the late frosts.
    But I’m excited and ready, just don’t
    want to use up all my energy…Ken

  • Reply
    b Ruth
    April 1, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    and Byrdell Hunter….you “rascal”! Don’t you think are playing a “April Fools” day joke on me!…..I know you, know what kind of bird it is! I don’t want to give it away by telling you on this post what kind of bird it is, O.K.!
    Because Tipper, I think, is going to do a post on this bird of the Appalachian woodlands…with the “spacial” name…I just love bird names the old Appalachian folks gave our birds!
    By the way, when my Crab Apples opened up this morning there were bees already in the blossoms…also it was so warm today that the lettuce that was growing, guit and started to bolt!…The green pea pods that are on the hill behind the house are so large they are splitin’ open and the peas are beginnin’ to roll right down the hill into the kitchen…I’m goin’ to have to put a kettle by the back door to catchum’ fore they come in!
    The watermelons have babyuns’, I “jobbed” some stakes agin’em to keep’em from rollin’. The cucumbers have growed and twined right up and pickled themselves into the jars that I had to warsh that was sittin’ on the porch railing!
    I knowed this would happen, Spring to Hot Summer in less than 24 hours…and rite cheer on April Fools Day!
    Thanks Tipper….

  • Reply
    April 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Happy Birthday, Charles! May you be blessed with good health and a few more wonderful years!
    I will be anxious to hear about the wonderful gardens. I haven’t returned to NC just yet, but my neighbors tell me I have flowers. I really haven’t thought of veggies just yet. Blessed gardens to all!
    No April fools today!

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    April 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    My cucumbers are up about 4 inches tall. I planted the squash seeds this past weekend. My mint and basil are growing like crazy. My tomato plant is over. I have two windows here, early spring then again in the fall. Between June and September it is too hot for anything to set fruit.

  • Reply
    Byrdell Hunter
    April 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    I spotted a bird on my back deck this morning. It’s belly was the same color the as the margins of this post. It’s head, back, wings and tail were jet black except interspersed with bits of pure white. When it flew the white seemed to flash on and off. It’s song sounded like Drink Your Teeeeeee! I’m not much of a birdee but this one caught my eye and I thought to myself “Self, one of Tipper’s readers might help you identify it.”
    I don’t know if birds can smell. If they can, this one should have known I was drinking coffeeeeee.

  • Reply
    April 1, 2014 at 12:54 pm


  • Reply
    b Ruth
    April 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    One other note…
    Everyone should have out their hummingbird feeders this week, at least in the southeast. I have mine ready to go out and noticed on the hummingbird migration website that ones were sited in Knoxville 3/28..Looks like a spotter noted birds in NC, more northeast of you Tipper, 3/28 as well.
    Here is an Appalachian tale from my Dad and his brothers that lived in Mars Hill. When they were kids, their Mother grew big Rose of Sharon shrubs…Dad said there were many, hummingbirds back then. They would wait, (there were 5 mischevious boys) until the “hummers”, as Dad called them, would start flying all around that big Rose of Sharon. When one would fly in that big bloom, they would slip up and close the bloom about the hummingbird. Then they would let it go…he said they were afraid of their long beak and because of the humming sound thought that they might sting as well. He said they would catch a dozen or so that way until his sister or Mother would catch them doing it and give them a good scolding, or worse chase them with the broom! I am sure they didn’t spend much time playing like that due to their strict Daddy hauling them to the tobacco field to work.
    I wish my Rose of Sharon shrubs had big blooms like the old timey ones…I saw that shrub on a visit one time and the blooms were huge. I always wanted a start of that Rose of Sharon, actually they are pretty easy to start from seed.
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    April 1, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for sharing your wonderful stories with us. Tipper, as I see your garden sprouting I’m imaging all the good dinners. Love and miss the blooming trees.

  • Reply
    b Ruth
    April 1, 2014 at 10:31 am

    and Charles…”Happity Burfday”, that is the way my sweet little grandbabies used to say “Happy Birthday” to me!…Any way you say it I love for someone to wish me a happy birthday. I send happy thoughts to you on this beautiful day, that was made special just for you! I love your books, Charles, keep on with your keeping on, you inspire us all!
    Our lettuce was put on hold, a few days last week. In fact we brought out the old scrap blanket and covered them for two nights.
    By yesterday after that little tidbit of rain and warm up, the lettuce is growing. We planted a mix. My button onion sets are little swords also, and growing.
    The radishes are peeping! Roy, planted one big bunch of his (orders from a Texas Onion company) slips in a new contraption he made. In fact he made two of them so far. He took
    a wooden pallet and stapled landscape fabric all around the bottom and up the sides..He raked and stired the ground a little bit where he wanted to lay the pallet. He filled it with good soil and planted his slips. He also planted a row of radishes.
    His other onions will go in the big garden raised bed. He wanted to try this method of pallet garden to see if it would work. These onions will be used only for eating. The ones in the big garden will be for storing. The red potatoes were an experiment for him this year as well. Last fall he laid down two big areas of cardbord on the ground where he wanted two new beds, “for funsies” to try! He piled scrap dirt, yard clippings, mowed leaves, etc. on it thru the last of mowing last fall. A few weeks ago he planted both small beds in red potatoes, white potatoes will go in the big garden…Will let you know how these work out.
    The peaches, apples are blooming.
    The flowereing white Yoshino, wheeping cherry, weeping red flowering peach and dwarf red flowering peaches are blooming. Of course the flowereing Bradford pear, as well as the fruiting pear. The forsynthias, daffodils, are in full bloom, exception some new ones that were planted last fall. The flowering crab apples are popping open, as well as the Red Buckeye..Our redbuds are blooming too and the dogwoods are opening and showing their bracts…The most beautiful flower I have blooming righ this very minute….the “Dandelion”, it is a ray of sunshine!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 1, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Happy Birthday Charles!!!
    It really feels like spring. I love it. I’m rooting for your radishes. I really like radishes as I know you do.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    April 1, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I don’t grow vegetables here because I have no space really conducive to even a small vegetable garden. The last time I tried, my okra stalks were knee-high and looking very healthy and like I might really gather some fresh okra pods in season. But alas, one morning I went out and all the okra stalks had been cut and/or bitten off and were lying on the ground. Now that was disappointing. But iris are looking like they might bloom in April, the daffodils have finished their splash of color, the yoshino cherry tree is in full bloom, and the Japanese magnolia has been aglow with purple blooms! Azaleas are just now beginning to offer their spring beauty display. And yesterday, a brave little rose had burst forth with its red petals! That’s what’s blooming/growing in Central Georgia.

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