Appalachia Gardening

Planting by the Signs Calendar – May 2017


Our spring garden is coming right along. The green onions, radishes, and lettuce are starting to come in and the beets are doing nicely too.

Over the past weekend we got a lot of planting done. We now have beans, squash, zucchini, pumpkins, watermelons, cucumbers, cantelope, candy roasters, and cushaws in the ground. We still need to plant our tomatoes and peppers, but they need another week or two in the greenhouse.

Our grape vines are loaded with teeny-tiny grapes and our apple trees look good too so I’m hoping the cold weather is done for this year, although I think blackberry winter will arrive this weekend.

Drop back by in a few days and I’ll update you on my Sow True Seed Lettuce Test and tell you about our new raised bed.

Hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me how your garden is fairing.


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    May 4, 2017 at 12:28 am

    No planting yet, but this week I started tidying up the perennial beds. Lots of my flowers are sprouting up again, I’m happy to say. And tomorrow my Occasional Helper is coming to help me get the fence up around the vegetable garden, so the digging and planting can begin. Bit by bit, a little most every day 🙂

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    May 2, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    Loved reading about planting and the progress of gardens! How I miss the farm and my Daddy’s knowledge of planting by the signs. And he was a master farmer. We always had good crops, good garden, plenty of fresh and/or canned (and later frozen) foodstuffs to eat from what we grew on our Choestoe farm! I had a mini-garden when I first moved to Milledgeville (Middle GA) in 2003, but later decided I couldn’t keep it up, especially after deer–or some critter–kept cutting things down and ruining my okra, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and whatever was up and thriving. (Not to mention that I had grown old and I had a very sick husband to care for!) So I depend on others to grow “fresh” and buy at the farmer’s market.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    May 2, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Tipper, my corn and beans haven’t come up yet, When are the best times to re-plant both according to the Signs?

  • Reply
    May 2, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    No garden here yet. It has been too wet to be plowed, and that fresh turned earth will be a welcome sight. I have so many peppers and tomatoes it looks like a jungle under lights and in south facing windows. It is becoming a challenge each day carrying some plants to sunnier locations. We had hail one day and heavy winds a few other days, so I weighted some trays with heavy stones. Watching the hail my only thought was how glad my plants were not in the garden yet. As it warms I start cucumber and squash on my covered porch in flower pots, and later I plant flowers in those pots. A true farmer would find it comical to watch, but I end up with large healthy heirloom plants.
    I must agree with Miss Cindy. I have no idea how you come up with such fresh and interesting ideas plus keep up with all you do. Miss Cindy has a way with words , and I always enjoy her posts as well. I also managed to miss your blog yesterday, so just wanted to mention the love of green onions is a family tradition here. We never used salt on green onions, but some did ruin their wonderful watermelon by shaking salt all over 🙂

  • Reply
    May 2, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    That song about a little girl named athy falling in a well is based on truth- as so many folk songs are. I remember when it was happening and how terrified I was! Poor little child died after all the vālient efforts to save her. My Dad went out in our back area and filled our old well with bricks, then poured a concrete cap over it. God bless his soul. That was some 65 or more years ago.
    On a happier note, my Big Boy tomatoes are blooming and growing- can’t wait for a ʻ mater sandwich!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 2, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    My garden has hardly begun. I took a picture of everything I have so far.
    It’s something I have been wanting to try for years. Do you know what it is?

  • Reply
    Merle Dyess
    May 2, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    I live in South MS and already am eating fresh new Irish Potatoes and all kinds of greens and carrots. The weather has been co-operating this year. My husband plants by the signs. Most people around here doesn’t and makes fun of him, as he did our old folks until it was proven to him that it works.
    What are candy roasters and cushaws?

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 2, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Sunflowers are up! Morning glories and Moon flowers are up! Iris are blooming! Daffodils and Tulips have faded! Narcissus are holding on! All flowering trees, cherries, apples, dogwood have left the branches to make seed pods…Only the Kousa Dogwood is in full bloom. It is so green here with so much foliage, it is hard to find a place in the sun.
    Our beans are up and growing, onions are growing, lettuce is ready, radishes are ready, spinach is not doing well or the kale even though being planted on the right day and early…No potatoes this year except a few red ones planted in some old straw bales just for “poops and grins” to see if they make anything…No Spring Sugar Snaps or Snow peas planted this year either…I love them and pick and eat in the garden when we have them. Tomatoes are growing as well as the Okra although we have had only a couple of hot days that the okra love…Peppers are doing alright they too love the heat…Cucumbers are starting to run a bit but must be holding for warmth…It is downright cold here today and the blackberries have been blooming for a week…More rain expected the end of the week so I hope the temperature stays well while it is raining to ward off any blights that move around during cold and damp weather. Guess that’s about it, I am sure I forgot something…we have plants heather and yon and find yon when we forgot we planted them…Ha
    Thanks Tipper,
    I wish you good growing on the day after May day…I didn’t do a welcoming May Day dance, make a May Day Basket or thread the ribbons on the pole, but knew somewhere children were still carrying on the traditions…Maybe even at the John Campbell School!

  • Reply
    harry adams
    May 2, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Spent 2 weeks in Italy touring vineyards so the garden is behind a little. Of course as soon as we got back it has started raining and doesn’t look like it will stop for a while. Also has turned cold for the next week. There was even a mention of frost.
    Watch the full moon week. It is either extremely cold or hot. Next week is full moon so it appears it will be cold. If we can get past that full moon with no frost, we will be safe.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Miss Cindy said it all! How do you all find the time to do all that? My garden is not even plowed yet due to all the heavy rain that gives us a one day break before it returns. Today looks to be dry but rain and storms are expected through the weekend. Wouldn’t you know the weather would be ugly during all the Derby events – always is. The balloon glow was cancelled, the marathon was delayed and it looks like nasty weather is coming in for the parade and steam boat race.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    May 2, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I haven’t gotten a single thing done for the garden. It hasn’t been tilled yet even. We have an old friend who tills it for us with his tractor but there hasn’t been a time dry enough. I’m having to scale down a lot due to health problems but still want at least tomatoes to can. I’ve used up all I had & miss them so much. Bought is just not even close to home canned.
    My husband wants a tractor of his own but they cost a fortune. If he gets one I want it to be small enough I will be able to use it too maybe.
    Thinking of tractors brings back memories of Grandpa’s tractor–an Allis Chalmers. We’ve got a picture of Daddy and my oldest brother on that old tractor. So different from the modern tractors. I don’t remember it being used for the garden much–Grandpa had a pair of mules (Kate and Jack) and Daddy plowed the garden with them.
    I guess I’m in stream-of-consciousness this morning. While Daddy was plowing with the mules, one of their legs went down in the ground. They had discovered an old well in the middle of the garden that had caved in. Railroad ties were put down in it but there was always a depression there and I am scared of it till this day. Gave me nightmares and when my son was little I watched him like a hawk when we were at Mama’s.
    I think I have mentioned before the old song written about a little girl falling into an old well–maybe her name was Kathy. This added to my horror of old wells!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 2, 2017 at 8:42 am

    So far this season is shaping up as a good, maybe even very good, garden year here on the micro-mini farm. Hasn’t gotten too hot and rain has been generally coming regularly. (But there is a track record of drought setting in around late May – early June.) I have everything planted except one last planting of corn which, per your calendar, I should plant May 9th. I have planted corn three times, about two weeks apart. I did find a nematode-resistant variety of it.
    I am ahead of you all of course by about ten days to two weeks. I have okra up about an inch high but it is not going to like the 53 degrees this morning.
    I cut the suckers off the 21 Better Boy tomato plants last week and planted 21 of them. I didn’t need them but just couldn’t bring myself to throw them away and I had the room. (I was saving it to plant nematode-resistant peppers and tomatoes, but that plan failed.) They are looking rough still but none have died.
    I pulled all the remaining radishes yesterday. The lettuce and spinach is trying to bloom and is on its way out but weather has been especially favorable to them this week.
    I planted a whole seed pack of basil and have lots of tiny seedlings. Lord willing, I will dry a bunch of it in the dehydrator by and by. I have dried thyme, parsley, sage and oregano in the last week or two.
    The Red Pontiac potatoes have been blooming for a week or more and I will see about getting new potatoes around May 10th. On the other hand, the Kennebec have not yet bloomed but are close.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2017 at 8:38 am

    My mother spoke about blackberry winter. She said when the blackberries finish blooming, the weather would turn hot.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 2, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Wow, that’s a lot of planting you guys got done! Tip, how in the world do you get so much done? You both work full time, you blog every day, you and the girls performed twice over the weekend, you cook, clean, you grocery shop, you look after Grannie and your always planning your next post!
    You are amazing!

  • Leave a Reply