Celebrating Appalachia Videos Gardening

Tried and True Seeds

Tipper holding seeds

On the cold days of winter my mind turns to spring vegetables and warm summer soil.

I’ve been keeping warm by the woodstove while I plan this year’s garden.

Watch my latest video to hear about the tried and true seeds we plant every year along with a few new things I want to try.

Have you started dreaming about this year’s garden? Hope you’ll leave a comment and share your tried and true seeds to grow every year.

Help me celebrate Appalachia by subscribing to my YouTube channel!

Tipper

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Susan Bentrup Johnson
    January 17, 2021 at 10:18 pm

    I have been thinking about gardening. I just got some rattlesnake beans from Baker’s Creek. I checked out Sow True Seed and I like the site. I gave them your name as to where I heard about them.
    Living in Ky the neighbors had leather britches or shuck beans hanging to dry and they fixed them for me. I loved them! I would like to grown beans and string them this year. Do you have a recommendation as to which bean you like. The True Seed mentioned a couple you could dry. I just did not know which to try.

    My husband and I just found your channel recently and are binge-watching them. We live on my family’s centennial + farm in southern Illinois and many of the same sayings and mannerisms can be found here. I guess many of the families that live here had family that came from your area many generations back. Mine although they moved here in the 1870s came from Vermont and had very different ways. My Grandmother said when she went to school all the kids had cornbread to eat and her mother always made white bread. The kids always wanted to trade. Also, our family says were different. As a young bride, I moved to the hills of eastern KY and learned how to cook more in the mountain ways. Thanks for sharing your life in the videos.

    • Reply
      Tipper
      January 18, 2021 at 6:15 pm

      Susan-so glad you’re enjoying my channel! We like Sow True Seed’s greasy beans-I think we’ve tried all the varieties. Also the Mountain White half runner is a good bean. We like October beans for drying, but I think they may be out of that one. I’m sure all the others would be great too 🙂

  • Reply
    Bob Russell
    January 8, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    I really enjoy your website very much! My mom was raised in the Big Pine section of Madison County, NC
    so your website brings back a lot of memories! While searching for greasy cut-short seeds, I found a website
    called Sustainable Mountain Agriculture. Great people to deal with. Here is their address:
    https://www.heirlooms.org/
    This is a non-profit and their seeds have come from generations of mountain folks from KY to NC.
    Mostly beans and tomatoes, but they have a few other things as well, like candy roasters.
    Thank you for all that you do!!

  • Reply
    Troy L Carroll
    January 8, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    Tipper I have about the same area you have for a garden. I not only plant in the ground but containers and raised beds. This past year I experimented with a rain gutter garden. I know you are saying to your self (do you actually use your rain gutter on your house) the answer is no, I use a 10 ft section of plastic rain gutter attached to two ten foot two by fours. then I place buckets of different sizes on that frame. The buckets have hole in the bottom that holds a net cup, they are then watered by a float valve system feed from a 55 gl barrel filled with water. when the plants use all the water from the barrel the valve opens and fills the gutter up again. All you have to do is keep an eye on the water level in the barrel.
    These are above ground so no weeds or grass or animals to eat your produce. I have very good fortune with the sweet variety of peppers. this past year I had really good success with three different varieties of sweet of sweet peppers, One was a coolapena it is a jalapeno with out the heat, another was a Zavory that is a cool version of a Habenero, also one that is called a Cubanelle. these are all sweet peppers. I planted these along with some Purple, Orange, Yellow , Red and Green sweet bell peppers.
    I also Have time to care for about 140 varieties of Day Lilies.
    I really enjoyed your video on the seeds you plant where you live I live in Dutch Cove about 4 miles south of Canton.

  • Reply
    Annie Shaw
    January 8, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    I have a small yard that is mostly vegetables and herbs. I usually buy from https://www.southernexposure.com/ but this year I ordered from Baker. Mostly I grow greens (fall) and beans – bush and rattlesnake pole beans. I also have jerusalem artichokes, tomatoes and peppers don’t do well in my yard. Blueberry bushes, beets, lettuces, walking onions, sweet potatoes, bak choi, chards, tatsoe, sorrel, lots of basils, I have a volunteer black raseberry that is delicious. My fall garden is larger and more productive than late spring and summer. (strawberries are mostly eaten by the birds — until fall when I can eat more of them. I do have some flowers too. I’m currently harvesting kale and spinach and also sage and parsley (which I forgot to mention)

  • Reply
    Hank Skewis
    January 8, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    My wife and I grow Sungold cherry tomatoes; they are prolific n our hot California summers iand as sweet as candy.

  • Reply
    Catherine Spence
    January 8, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    When we were growing up, our mom always kept a HUGE garden. My brother HATED working in it and my sister could take it or leave it; I’m the only one who got bitten by the gardening and canning bug in our family. Where my husband and I live now we have a small space – only about 45′ X 100′ – and part of that doesn’t drain very well. I haven’t been able to garden the last couple of years, but I plan to have one this summer. We mostly grow tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash and beans; that about all we have room for. I have experimented with growing asparagus, but unless you plant a lot of it, it’s hard to get a sizeable harvest at one time. It would be worth it, though; the difference between asparagus you harvested 10 minutes ago and store-bought asparagus is like night and day!

    I prefer to use an heirloom variety for everything. My favorite tomato to grow is Aker’s West Virginia, but my daughter and her family are living with us along with their two cats who are complete hoodlums and who have no respect for indoor plants, so I don’t dare try to start anything indoors with them around. I will probably find heirloom plants somewhere else this year. We grow half-runner beans and I used a tripod the last time, which made picking them so much easier! I also order my cucumber and squash seeds from Sow True Seed – they are wonderful to work with. When the beans I ordered from them one year didn’t germinate well, they sent me free packs of another variety to grow. Highly recommend their company! I do try to save my own seeds whenever possible, though.

    I have two new varieties of beans to try this year that came from my great-aunt. One is a type of cranberry bean like an October bean, but she called them “Texie beans” because she got them originally from a neighbor named Texie Lambert. The other is a pole bean that she just called corn beans. Can’t wait to see how they do!

    I also love to try new things. One year I planted peanuts just to see if I could grow them and they did well. Peanuts are fascinating plants. And sometimes I’ll plant just a small patch of Carl’s Glass Gem popcorn. i don’t care for it as an eating popcorn, but if you want to make your own decorations for fall or Thanksgiving, this is a gorgeous ornamental corn. Every ear has a different color scheme, and the colors run the gamut of the rainbow – shucking one is like getting to open a present!

    This is running long, but one quick story from a visit to a farmers market a couple of years ago: I was talking to one of the vendors, David, when this guy pulled in and got out of his car. He was clearly one of what we call the “Lake People,” meaning he had moved to Smith Mountain Lake from somewhere up north. He came up to us and said, “I’m looking for a type of bean, some kind of runner?” David said, “You mean a half funner?” The guy said, “Yeah, I guess that’s it.” David said, “Naw. I got full runners and quarter runners, but I don’t fool with those half runner beans.” The guy said, “Okay,” got back in his car, and left!

    • Reply
      Tipper
      January 8, 2021 at 2:59 pm

      Catherine-we have 2 asparagus beds and I totally forgot to mention them 🙂 Never heard of the Aker’s tomato I’ll check that one out!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 8, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Cushaws! We didn’t grow them but the neighbors did. They called them “coo-shaws”. Coo like the doves do!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 8, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    I store most of my seeds in empty medicine bottles. The amber color is supposed to block the rays of sunlight that made them go bad but you can still see what is inside. All my bottles have white caps with not much printed on them so I can easily mark and date them with a Sharpie. They are small enough to carry in a pocket without sweat leaking through onto the seeds.
    I used them for other things too. Sitting in front of me now are a bottle with guitar picks, one with little screws, one with old copper pennies, one with ear plugs and one with silver shavings. I have several empty ones just waiting for me to fill them with “stuff”. I don’t throw anything away.

  • Reply
    dee
    January 8, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    My parents always had a garden and when they retired it seems they planted more seeds. They planted Kentucky Wonder Beans and they canned a lot of them. They are still the best tasting to me. Now that I am a lot older, my youngest son has bought planters that are about 3 1/2 feet tall and he plants them for me on Mother’s Day. I can just walk out on the patio and pick a handful of tommy-toes, cucumbers, yellow squash, lettuce and green bell peppers. It is a smaller garden but I love it. He also planted basil, garlic, and rosemary in pots. He has had them at his house and they have wintered over so I will see how they do at my house. I used and still use clear medicine containers to store vegetable seeds and flower seeds. My Mother used envelopes labeled with name of seeds and stored in freezer.

  • Reply
    Randy
    January 8, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Most everyone is commenting on different ways of saving seeds and freezing the seeds seems to be one method. I have a friend that believes if he will freeze his seed before planting them they will come up better. I know he does this with his corn, beans and okra. I don’t know if he does any other seed this way. He also saves any left over seed by freezing them. I have not tried freezing mine but I do soak my okra seed in water overnight or maybe a little longer before planting them. We live in Greenville country, SC and I now our weather is warmer. We direct sow a lot of our seed.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 8, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Tipper, I loved the video! I have loved your blog since day one but the videos add a whole new dimension to your message!
    Your voice adds such a lovely addition and there you sit in the basement between the wood pile for the wood stove and the wood stove itself. What you give us is real…so much of life now is not real it’s hype of some kind but not you, you are real and sincere through and through and your love for all things of Appalachia warms my heart and makes me so proud of you.
    Thank you!

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    January 8, 2021 at 11:05 am

    I have not watched the video yet, but will. There does not seem to be a bean more prolific than a half runner. They fall apart easily with the long cooking sometimes used in Appalachia. I lean toward stir frying anymore. I found a large red cherry tomato that is prolific and tasty, so I save those seeds every year. My neighbor used to plant a perfect garden and marked the largest tomato from each variety, and the he saved seeds each year. As he grew older he would get the seeds mixed up, and when he shared his seedling there were great surprises. I found myself returning his kindness and I would take my excess cucumbers and tomatoes to him. I have given up on Winter squash because they require so much space. Memories of my Mother running to the garden for leaf lettuce and green onions to wilt keep me planting these old time favorites year after year. Planting and shelling October beans was a favorite, then freezing after they are allowed to turn tan and only slightly harden. They cook up fast and have really thick soup. A couple of years I did not spread them thinly enough to dry and they molded. Live and learn.
    Mom had a cold frame built at one time, and there were hundreds of tomatoes. She furnished the entire mountain with bare root tomato plants one year. They always got bare rooted tomato plants growing up, and they always seemed to do fine. We would go along and plant, fertilize, and water in one step. No matter how many years pass, I am still so excited to see those first plants from a mere seed peep through the soil with their first leaves.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 8, 2021 at 10:25 am

    I have lots of garden challenges and they seem to get more and worse each year. Right now I’m in doldrums but I should be out turning the garden and holding down the purple dead nettle.

    I store turnip, mustard and lettuce seed in spice jars because I can broadcast using the shaker top. I also use the smallest ziploc bags for most of the other seed, except beans. I got started using them because the paper packs would start dribbling seed when I sweated on the creases and they came apart. I like being able to see what kind of seed it is and refresh my memory about spacing and depth without having to handle the paper pack. Plus they take up the least amount of room.

    I have the same problem you do about too many seed, too little planting space. Because of that I tend to buy the plants when I can find them. I get a fair match to what I need that way but the timing is not the best.

    I have been growing Rattlesnake bean three seasons I think it is. I started growing them because the runners were supposed to be something like half as long as half white runners, which was supposed to mean about 8 feet instead of 16 or so. However, I am sceptical. They still run out the end of the poles and tangle up in the air. We like the taste of them very well though and they bear well. The purplish rattlesnake stripes disappear in cooking.

    I try to keep some garden year round. It is too hot here for cool season plants to do well growing into the heat. But they do well growing from the heat into the cool. We never grew a fall garden when I was growing up. In fact I didn’t know anybody who did. A big reason may have been that the whole garden was already taken up with summer garden and was not going to be sacrificed at its peak of production to get planting room.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    January 8, 2021 at 9:36 am

    Something that Tipper doesn’t tell you is that this winter she supplied me with the Chambers Creek pumpkin seeds which I’d originally shared with her. I’d had them come up volunteer for several years, so had quit saving seeds. Like in too many other ways, 2020 was no good for my Chambers Creek volunteers – I didn’t get a one. Thankfully, Tipper saved some and shared. These originally came from Christine Proctor, and although I never asked her, I’m sure they must have come from the family of Christine’s husband, Troy Proctor. Troy grew up in an area that they called Frogtown, an elevated flat spot just east of Chambers Creek. Some of it is a little marshy, and no doubt was the place that many a frog called home.

    Sharing seeds is one of our finest traditions.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    January 8, 2021 at 9:20 am

    It’s the seed catalogs that keep me sane on these cold winter days. No matter what kind of green beans I try, I always go back to White Half Runners. During last years spring planting, my sister found some bean seeds that were 20+ years old. We planted them and they produced better than any of the others in the garden. You can bet I saved seeds from them. Mom saved her seeds in a glass jar with a few moth balls in them. When she got a freezer, she put the jar full of seeds in there and kept them for years.

  • Reply
    Randy
    January 8, 2021 at 8:58 am

    Tipper, I laughed when you said as a young child you didn’t like a garden, I didn’t like one either. I and others have said in the past a large garden, 1-2 acres plus a field of corn was a necessity not a hobby for my family. Very little of the food we ate was bought in a grocery store. We were doing organic, free range (if you ever watch a free range chicken, you will learn real quick how they got the nickname of barnyard buzzard) and other of the “in things” done today and didn’t know it. I am lucky in having enough land to grow a garden as large as I want, the problem with doing this is deer. They will eat everything up. Tipper, the reason I laughed about the garden comment was because my parents, my wife’s parent’s and my friends parents had a way of making us children change our attitudes about a garden. After a dose of hickory tea we were glad to help with the garden. I know the exspurts think this is cruel, but I have not saw any harmful effects on any of us. Yes I spelled it like I meant it. Our parents were not being mean, it just took all of us working together to get by.

    Tipper, what bean seed do you plant for October beans? My aunt from Tennessee would plant these but like you she called them October beans. I have not been able able to find seed by that name.

    • Reply
      Tipper
      January 8, 2021 at 11:26 am

      Randy-I haven’t planted them in several years but Sow True Seed had a good October Bean-and that was the name of the variety.

  • Reply
    Wanda Robertson
    January 8, 2021 at 8:58 am

    Rattlesnake beans are my favorite. Taste so good, and they keep bearing until you are tired of them!

  • Reply
    O. P. Holder
    January 8, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Have you heard of a Kleckley Sweet watermelon? 75 years ago my grandfather grew these. The seed is still available, but try as I might they won’t get ripe. There must something to the weather changes over time. They are huge. A regular size would be 40 lbs. Many are bigger. I have never tasted one near as sweet. They have a very thin rind. So because of that they can’t be shipped so they are never in stores. My grandfather grew them in a sandy place near where the creek, using cow manure. Would love to have another one.

    • Reply
      Tipper
      January 8, 2021 at 11:27 am

      O.P.-I haven’t heard of that watermelon but your comment makes me wish I could taste one 🙂

  • Reply
    SUSAN WARNER
    January 8, 2021 at 8:42 am

    Have you ever tried turkey craw beans? They are an old pole bean seed that makes the awfullest mess of beans you ever saw! Also the only ones I have ever grown that are fit to eat without any meat – the flavor is the best. I have plenty and will gladly send you some to try. Guarantee you will love them!

    • Reply
      Tipper
      January 8, 2021 at 11:27 am

      Susan-never tried them! Thank you for your generosity-I’ll send you my address!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 8, 2021 at 8:38 am

    Tipper–One method of seed storage you didn’t mention that has a long-established tradition in Appalachia is keeping seeds in snuff. Apparently the powdered tobacco will keep out pretty much anything that might destroy seeds, and it is especially good for legumes. A useful type of container for saving seeds is baby food jars (although I don’t know if they make glass ones any more).
    As for things I grow every year you didn’t mention, they include field peas (also known as crowder peas or clay peas), yellow pear tommytoes, Swiss chard, and ground cherries (I know you have them and once they get started they come back as volunteers).
    I’m going to try the Juliet tomato you mention and also check out Baker Creek seeds, which is a company I hadn’t heard about.

    Jim Casada

    • Reply
      Tipper
      January 8, 2021 at 11:29 am

      Jim-I totally forgot about ground cherries and you know I love them 🙂 I’m excited to try growing your field peas this year too!

    • Reply
      Catherine Spence
      January 8, 2021 at 1:53 pm

      Miniature jelly jars work pretty well as a substitute for baby food jars.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein ( and Murray the peanut gallery)
    January 8, 2021 at 8:27 am

    I made the mistake of listening to your morning blog within earshot of Murray. He keeps saying (with a big grin spread across his face) how “ I just love that gal’s accent!” If he said it once, he’s said it 10 times…. I said “that’s the lady in NC” and he said “oh, I know that Tarheel accent and it’s the best!” Our Carly was born on Ft. Bragg and she tells everyone “I’m a Tarheel!” Mara ( baby girl) just gives her a look because she’s from NY as she must remain silent. I got sow true seeds because I’d seen you used those and I’m planning on a few raised beds topped with chicken wire to keep kitties and other critters OUTA there! I ordered Aliquippa tomatoes ( which stay green and are pear shaped) and cukes ( Puerto Rican and straight 78’s.) I ordered flowers like crazy and I still think my stuff will be more healthy and hearty than the Blue box home improvement store. If you’ll leave your pumpkins outside, the seed will grow this spring. All in all gardening gives us a connection to the earth and our creator as we watch the miracle of life spring forth. And I think to myself “ what a wonderful world!”

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    January 8, 2021 at 7:55 am

    My garden days here in the mountains are over except in pots on the deck. Last year I had to put them on rollers and move them around to keep up with the sun. I will do a few tomatoes both cherry and slicing. My parsley patch is still going strong from last year so I won’t have to reseed it this year. That is the only thing left in my garden from past years. Since we don’t eat or entertain as much as we did in the past I would just end up giving it to the neighbors and friends. I will miss the exercise and feeling of accomplishment a garden provides. I think I will just prop up my feet this and read a few good books.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    January 8, 2021 at 7:47 am

    I have very small gardens these days compared to the ones I used to have. My mother taught me about gardening. Therefore, I started out planting the varieties that she favored. She always planted Iowa Chief sweet corn (listed as IO Chief in seed catalogues) and Top Crop green beans, so that’s what I planted for years. However, the Iowa Chief was an older variety and wasn’t much sweeter than green field corn, so I plant a few seeds of a super-sweet variety now, Bodacious being my favorite. However, my dad didn’t care for sweet corn that was too sweet, so that may be why Mother stuck with Iowa Chief. I do plant my mother’s favorite green bean variety, even though I know there have probably been more prolific green beans developed in recent years. I stick with her favorite because I remember how, every time she talked about green beans, she’d say, “I plant Mom’s good old Top-Crop beans.” The memory of her saying that, and the realization that my grandma planted Top Crop, makes me smile. So that’s what I plant… sort of in memory of my mother and grandmother.

  • Reply
    Nancy Patterson
    January 8, 2021 at 6:52 am

    When I talk to my friends about you, I call you my newest best friend. This post in particular brought back wonderful memories of Mother saving her seeds, and she had her favorites, just like you. I was blown away to learn what a small space you have. God bless you in your mission to hang on to the tried and true ways of living, and to pass it on to others.

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