Appalachia Gardening

Starting the Garden Season


The Deer Hunter and I took advantage of the beautiful dry weather on Saturday and did some outside chores to prepare for this year’s garden. Task number one was cleaning out the greenhouse.

Normally we put the greenhouse to bed after we’re done using it for starting our plants. That never happened last year. We just walked off and forgot about it like we had moved to a far and distant land. There was literally weeds taller than my head throughout the area, not to mention more than a few mice and bird nests.


The floor of the green house usually stays nice and dry, but we’ve had so much rain the water has seeped up from the ground and the floor is a muddy mess, much like every other part of the yard.


Lots of spring blooms around the house, including my silly plum tree which always blooms too early. I think it’s at least eight or nine years old and it has never produced a plum. I want to cut it down and put something in its place, I just have to figure out what.

Although I’m super excited about this year’s garden, I have had one small set back. It doesn’t look like Sow True Seed will sponsor my garden this year nor sponsor our reporting at large project.

Everything was a go a few months back when I mailed in my contract. Anxious to receive my seeds, about a week later I contacted the lady I’ve always worked with and she confirmed she had the contract, but said she’d suddenly found out that she would no longer be with the company. I’ve contacted them several times, but have heard nary a word in response. Since time was getting away from me, I had to go ahead and procure my own seeds for this year’s garden. Whatever has happened at Sow True Seed, I certainly wish them the best. They’re doing good important work for us all.

I’m kicking around a few ideas for my reporting @ large project so stay tuned on that front.


Appalachian Cooking Class details

Come cook with me!

Location: John C. Campbell Folk School – Brasstown, NC
Date: Sunday, June 23 – Saturday, June 29, 2019
Instructors: Carolyn Anderson, Tipper Pressley

Experience the traditional Appalachian method of cooking, putting up, and preserving the bounty from nature’s garden. Receive hands-on training to make and process a variety of jellies, jams, and pickles for winter eating. You’ll also learn the importance of dessert in Appalachian culture and discover how to easily make the fanciest of traditional cakes. Completing this week of cultural foods, a day of bread making will produce biscuits and cornbread. All levels welcome.

Along with all that goodness Carolyn and I have planned a couple of field trips to allow students to see how local folks produce food for their families. The Folk School offers scholarships you can go here to find out more about them. For the rest of the class details go here.

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  • Reply
    March 7, 2019 at 11:30 am

    We. Can’t even think about the garden , it’s just so wet. It takes a long time to dry out. I do love having one . Bless you

  • Reply
    March 7, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Tipper, I read somewhere if you spray plants, trees etc. with water after a frost and before the sun reaches it will prevent most frost damage. Back when I used to make a mad dash and throw sheets over trees and spray early morning…not fun. I once had an apple tree that had apples only on one side. I attributed it to the early morning mad dash with large spray bottle. Then again it could have been with sloping yard the frost was only on one side.

    It is so common in Appalachia to have more outdoor work than we can get done. I suppose it is best to enjoy and just do the best we can. I am trimming way down on anything outdoors. I will try one row of well thought out plantings in the yard and a community garden. That is it, and I must stick to my guns, because the community will frown and revoke my privileges if I let the community garden get unsightly. I enjoy your gardening posts so very much.

    Sorry about Sow True seed not being reliable. It could be they are so overwhelmed they are getting unreliable which is never good. Hopefully, they will realize how important loyal people are to their company, and go back to their former good practices. We are protective of Tipper, so hopefully they will do some damage control!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2019 at 8:55 am

    My garden didn’t do well last year with all the rain we had. I had beautiful vegetation that produced nothing. Hopefully this year will be better. I plant my tomato seeds on St. Patrick’s Day every year and put them in my mini greenhouse on the enclosed porch. The weather still gets so cold during that time that I find myself moving them in and out of the house often.
    Sow True Seed had a sweet potato plant that is hard to find. I hate to hear there could be issues with their company.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 7, 2019 at 8:17 am

    Yep, it is time. I always have to motivate myself to get started getting ready before it is time to plant. For one thing that lets me do my spading before it gets too hot. I have about 2/3’s of the garden dug. And, as usual, I found potatoes I missed, a nice surprize. But I found sweet potatoes I missed which were rotten, a disappointment.

    I found Red Pontiac seed potatoes last week and some unspecified kind of onion. I hope to plant them next week.

    If you can find their seed, D R Mayo seed company in Maryville, TN sells seed particularly well-suited to the Southern Appalachians. And their seed quantities are a great value compared to the big name seed houses. In my case though it leaves me with extra, more than enough for second plantings.

  • Reply
    Mark Swisher
    March 7, 2019 at 7:16 am

    Have you been able to turn over your Garden yet? Mine is so wet and soft from the ground water that I sink just walking across it.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 7, 2019 at 7:10 am

    Tipper–I usually have some early stuff in the ground before the beginning of turkey season, because once that rolls around I’m a bit on the far side of useless. That won’t happen this year. We’ve had so much rain it’s going to take 10-14 weeks without rain jut for the ground to dry out enough to be tilled. It looks like the whole region has become a temperate rain forest zone.
    Too bad about Sow True Seed. It sounds like maybe they’ve got some growing pains, and all too often when entities of this sort expand a great deal, with some of the wearing of big britches comes a bit of forgetfulness about what brought you to this place. I hope that’s not the case because you’ve been a grand supporter of them and have, without doubt, directed business their way. A wee bit of it came from me.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 7, 2019 at 7:09 am

    Something good will turn up, it always does!

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