Appalachia Gardening

Planting by the Signs Calendar – June 2017

We’ve been getting plenty of rain and sunshine and our garden is thriving because of it. We also topped off the garden with a fresh load of mushroom compost so I’m sure that extra dose of nutrients is helping too.

Almost an entire row of beans failed to come up and the other two rows came up pretty spotty. Over the weekend we replanted them all and I’m hoping this time the seeds do like they’re supposed to and sprout. 

Drop back by in the next few days and I’ll show you how the garden is growing.


The winner of Southern Mountain Speech by Cratis D. Williams was Tamela who said: 

“The only ones I’m familiar with are “keen” (as first described and in describing a well-sharpened tool), “knob” (in these parts it’s usually a hill out in the middle of flatlands – “Pilot Knob” south of here, as the name suggests, is a landmark which pilots used to orient themselves before modern navigation instruments), and kernel (which not only is used to describe hard lumps that form just under or on top of the skin but also to describe “corns” which often form on the toes from wearing ill-fitting shoes). When I was growing up, “keen” was also used to express appreciation or admiration of something as in “That’s a keen sweater you’re wearing” much the same as “nifty” or “cool” were the slang of the day – only “cool” seems to have survived the passage of time. It saddens me, although I know it’s true, that some people think the use of terms like these indicate a lack of education. It reminds me of a student (7th grade) I once had who had written a wonderful short story with just the right amount of local descriptors and vernacular to bring the story to life. I praised her skills, not only of observation, but also of expression and encouraged her to enter her story in a coming competition. Unfortunately, her English teacher had other ideas and thought it was “too common”. The child never showed me another story – I was only the Science teacher. I do hope she found encouragement elsewhere and is writing today. Being able to use colloquial speech without mocking the speech and without being derogatory enhances the setting of the story and the understanding of the characters – she had that gift.”

Email me your address Tamela and I’ll get the book in the mail!



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  • Reply
    June 2, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Receiving the book, Southern Mountain Speech is very exciting. I received a Christmas (red, green, and white yarn) scarf and hat knit by Granny a while back and now this!! What good fortune! Thank you for your generousity.
    Summer’s heat is setting in around here and rain has been spotty (and we haven’t been in the right ‘spot’). The lettuce did very well on the back porch but I didn’t harvest any broccoli; nor did I get the rest of the garden planted. Still thinking about planting a few things but may have to put a shade over things for part of the summer if I do.
    Thanks for the book

  • Reply
    June 2, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Congradulations to Tamela on winning the book. It’s been a couple of years since I had a garden and I miss it. Mostly I miss the home-grown Maders, along with the Nantahala White Runners and Hickory Cane Corn with ears a foot long. Maybe next year! …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 2, 2017 at 10:57 am

    “Being able to use colloquial speech without mocking the speech and without being derogatory enhances the setting of the story and the understanding of the characters.” As an adult I was once chided by a friend for using colloquialisms in something I wrote. “I know people who talk like that!” Well guess what! I know someone too. Me.
    I can’t think of anything in my 66 years that hurt me more. It was like my very thoughts had been censored. I can think it but I can’t express it? If that one incident had such a drastic effect on an “old dog”, I can imagine what it can do to a child!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 2, 2017 at 8:33 am

    I would like to replant where I have pulled the early spring plants like lettuce, spinach and onions. June is the tag end of ‘early’ planting here. But I have to look ahead to where I will get the space to plant a fall garden about August 15th. I always hit this dilemma about now.
    So far this has been a good gardening year. The water balance of precipitation minus evaporation and plant use is about 11 inches positive but it was negative last year at this time and about 5-6 inches positive in 2014 and 2015. However, it has been known to just stop raining about now around here.
    Congratulations Tamela. I agree with you. Along the same line, I do not think wisdom is the exclusive property of the educated and it is unwise to think so. But it is asking too much to expect children to know that. It is up to adults to teach them with that principle in mind and not to be wise in their own conceits.

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