Appalachia Gardening

Results From The 4th Annual Planting By The Signs Test



The 4th Annual Blind Pig & The Acorn’s Planting By The Signs test kicked off in May of this year. The growing conditions the participants endured have been varied. In my neck of the woods summer start off with a heat wave. We had several days of over 100 degree weather with not a rain cloud in sight-a very unusual occurence in my area. Other places have had so much rain their plants have almost floated away! Such is the way of Mother Nature.

Sow true seeds october beans

October beans were this year’s test plant. The seeds were generously donated by Sow True Seed. My bean plants were very interesting to watch. My bad day plants were almost twice as big as my good day plants from the start. The good day never did catch up in size to the bad day plants. Both day’s plants seemed to produce the same amount of beans over the course of the summer.


I went to check on the plants one last time about 3 weeks ago. The beans had sufficiently dried enough for me to pick and hull them out. The strangest thing had happened to the actual plants. Something had eaten every last leaf off the bad day plants-they were completely bare. But the good day plants-growing less than a foot away had not been touched by the munching leaf eater.

I had a few participants send me their results from the test:

  • Warren: Our entire garden was a bust this year. My beans started out great but the dry heat took over and we just couldn’t water sufficiently. We got a few squash and a single mess of green beans. The only thing that seems to be still somewhat ok is the sunflowers. Anyhow, I cannot comment on planting by the signs this year because nothing was going to help.
  • Ron Creager: Three out of four seeds emerged from both the good and bad planting days. All produced heavy loads of pods about 2 weeks sooner than 1/2 runners I planted about the same time. Not anything scientific but I would judge a slight advantage to the good day seeds both in size and production. We suffered a long and severe drought this summer so the seeds proved a hardy variety. I allowed the pods to mature and have been hulling them out. They produced a large, pretty white and purple bean that I will save for seed.
  • Barbara Gantt: The good day beans did far better than the bad day ones. I am saving my beans for seed for next year so we can have a whole row. Hopefully, they will get planted on the good days.
  • Quinn: This has been a difficult planting season for me…either days and days of rain, or very hot and humid. I confess, those h&h days are when farm stands seem like a very fine idea to me! I did get out and plant both vegetables and flowers on a day in between the rainy spells, but not one seed has come up that I’ve discovered! I think the seed must have rotted…or maybe they were even washed downslope in the rainy days that followed? Kind of disappointing, and I’ve been no help at ALL in the planting by the moon project…sorry, Tipper!
  • Jeanna Morgan: I will have to go look but my husband forgot I planted them and started a ridge over top of them. He then realized what he had done and took back  off some of the dirt he had put on them. So mine are a bust. I hadn’t seen but two small sprouts and one was a good day one and one a bad. So anyway I guess mine are a no go.
  • Linda Kerlin: My beans did not do well at all the good day beans died —–for awhile the foliage was beautiful blossoms and then the next day dead—the bad day beans followed shortly—to be honest as well I ended up not taking very good care of my garden this year so perhaps some of what I lost was my fault –did not even get to water some days—my Dad fell at the end of June and spent wks in the hospital and then when he went home he needed much care.
  • Tammy Fletcher: I planted on May 23 (good day) and May 26th (bad day). I got 50%  germination on the May 23rd planting and 100% on May 26th. May 23rd planted beans seemed to yield more per plant.

So there you go! Do I dare say our experiment didn’t amount to a hill of beans : ) Oh well we had fun-and that’s what matters most!

If you participated in the test-please feel free to leave your results in a comment. If you’re interested-be on the look out next Spring-I’m sure I’ll find something for to use in another planting by the signs test.

A big THANK YOU to Sow True Seed for sponsoring my test-and to all the folks who played along.




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  • Reply
    missy steiger
    December 30, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    We were in the process of moving and I somehow missed sending in my results. If anyone is interested I had 3 plants germinate from both plantings. They were planted in one row with identical growing conditions. The bad day quickly surpassed the good day and at harvest I had about twice as many seeds from the bad day planting. I probably harvested about 100 seeds from the 6 plants. I enjoyed taking part in this experiment.

  • Reply
    Bob & Inez Jones
    September 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Thank You Tipper for directing me to the post,re- preparing pumpkin for winter. It is a simple process for sure and I will try some this fall. We like anything pumpkin and it will be nice to have our own. Appreciate your prompt reply. Many thanks for such an interesting and enjoyable blog.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    September 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Humm! Such mixed results; I think you should try it again next year to see if the results are the same, similar or way out of whack. I only planted green bell peppers; not by the signs. The deer ate the flowers before peppers could form, but —- right now I have three baby peppers. I watch them daily; I have a net over the two plants.

  • Reply
    September 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I didn’t participate in planting
    your beans on the good and bad
    days, but I did go by the Signs.
    And I got to say, the tomato plants you fixed for me from your
    greenhouse were the most and biggest I’ve ever had. The crows
    helped me with my corn, but I
    still had plenty and I picked 12
    bushels of white runners from my
    three rows. Even through the dry
    spell, my garden did Super…Ken

  • Reply
    September 12, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I had some, too. They got washed away by somewhere between 6 to 8 inches of rain in 10 days right after they were planted. So there was nothing to report. @Sheryl, I get a little envious of the cousins in Florida when they talk about the fresh produce coming in at the farmers markets in the middle of winter.

  • Reply
    September 12, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Only one plant germinated and it produced one pod. It was a good day planted seed. Other varieties of beans I planted nearby did very well.

  • Reply
    September 12, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I am always fascinated by how gardens fare. There was a remarkable amount of October beans while some of my tender beans were eaten by bugs..perhaps the hard shell wasn’t as tasty. I like to flash freeze the Octobers while they are still soft but dried to tan color. They cook up fast and make a thick soup.
    The tomato crop was productive but produced small tomatoes. I have only planted underground crops by the signs, as I need all the help I can get with them. I wish I could participate in the planting by the signs test, but I am afraid things could get too crazy around here right when I need to concentrate on planting progress.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 12, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Well, you know it’s always interesting. It seems that a lot of folks had poor gardens this year no matter when they planted.
    Those shelled out beans in the picture sure are pretty. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten October beans. Are they good? How do you cook them?

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 12, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I would like to participate if you do the test again next year. I had a garden this year for the first time in years. It was only a 10 X 20 plot I hacked out of a wilderness. I bought 9 tomatoes, 2 squash, a pack of beans and a pack of okra. All the beans and okra came up and started off well. The tomatoes all did fine until the wind blew them all down. I staked them back up and the wind blew them down again. After the third windstorm I left them laying. Meanwhile my two hills of squash are flourishing. In fact, turning into monsters, smothering out everything they encountered. They overgrew most of my beans, 2 tomatoes and half of my okra. The wind didn’t hurt them. The insects didn’t hurt them. I had squash out the ying yang. I fried squash, I dried squash, I froze squash! Finally I let them go to seed and they quit blooming. I had squash as big as basketballs that went to seed. I didn’t save the seed. I was afraid to bring them into the house!
    After I pulled up the squash, my beans recovered enough for a couple of messes for me. My wife wouldn’t eat them because they weren’t white half runners. More for me, right! The bugs and blossom end rot got most of my tomatoes. The okra came on late and now I have way more than I need. Next year, if I survive the winter, I plan to spread out a little (if my fine son in law will loan me his Bobcat) and give everything room to grow. I will be anxiously awaited my good day/bad day seeds!
    Oh! and I am about to forget my three bell peppers. After a battle with windblown tomatoes, they finally took ahold and are producing well now.
    You know, I should have tried roasted squash seeds!

  • Reply
    Lena Little
    September 12, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I traded all my beans for a milk cow!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 12, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Interesting, in Florida we don’t even plant until the end of Sept or Oct. Our harvest in in Feb. or March and depending on the crop into May. Polar opposites you might say.

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