Appalachia Gardening

What’s New In My Garden This Year

Sow true seed sponsors squash test

Having Sow True Seed sponsor my garden allows me to try new things. Since we have limited garden space, I try not to go overboard with my experiments…but Sow True Seed’s generosity makes it hard not to want to try it all!

Chatter and I have become more interested in herbal remedies over the last year. When it came time to send my order into  Sow True Seed she helped me pick out seeds that would be a great addition to our herbal arsenal.

Sow True Seed Chicory


Chicory: A somewhat woody, perennial herbaceous plant with bright blue flowers, rarely white or pink. Many medicinal uses, but often cultivated for salad leaves. Roots are also roasted as a coffee substitute. Full sun. Perennial.

I wanted to try this one because I love Perennials! I’m all about planting it one time and enjoying it for the summers to come. Being able to use the roots as coffee give it an interesting twist.

Sow True Seed Valerian


Valerian: Sweetly scented pink or yellow flowers appear in the second year. Believed to have strong sedative effects. Direct seed or transplant in spring. Prefers moist, well drained soil. Needs light to germinate so sow on top of soil and press down but do not cover. Full sun to partial shade. Perennial.

I’ve read varying opinions about this one, but Chatter and I decided it sounded like something that could be useful if you didn’t have access to modern medicine.

Sow True Seed Oregano Greek


Oregano: No kitchen garden is complete without oregano! Aromatic delicious leaves accompany many favorite dishes. Also known for a wide variety of medicinal uses, including antibacterial and antinflamtory properties. Quick spreading plant. Seeds benefit from being stratified. Full sun. Perennial.

We use oregano all the time-so this one was a no brainer. I’m not sure why I never thought of growing it before.

Sow True Seed Stinging Nettles


Stinging Nettles: Drying or cooking eliminates the sting, and the attractive plants have a long history of use in herbal medicine. Young shoots taste like spinach and are rich in vitamins and iron. Nettles are the exclusive larval food plant for several species of butterfly. Part sun. Perennial.

Chatter picked this one. She insists she’s used it before with good results and that she enjoyed tea made with dried stinging nettle leaves. I was reluctant because I have memories of finding myself standing in a patch of Stinging Nettle with a pair of shorts on back in the day when The Deer Hunter and I were fishing up the Pigeon River in the Sunburst area.

Sow True Seed Feverfew


Feverfew: Well known for many, many uses as an herbal remedy. Produces 24″ plants with citrus-scented leaves and small daisy-like flowers. Easy-to-grow by direct seed or transplant. Full sun. Hardy in zones 5-9, self-seeding annual in colder zones.

I’ve read a lot about Feverfew in the last year and find it fascinating. And it has pretty blooms to boot!

Sow True Seed Chamomile


Chamomile Bodegold: Highest oil content variety. Flowers are used to make calming tea with sweet apple-like flavor and fragrance. 30″ high plants. Sow seeds in spring on soil surface and press in lightly. Full sun. Easy-to-grow. Self-seeding annual.

The Deer Hunter and the girls are big hot tea drinkers-me not so much. Their choice tea is Chamomile.

Sow True Seed Mexican Sour Gherkin


Mexican Sour Gherkin: A rampant yet delicate vine producing dozens of 1″ green and white fruit that will delight children and adults alike. Great for pickling whole and snacking on straight from the vine. Trellis for best harvest. These crisp juicy fruits seem to sit around lazily on the ground, just waiting to plucked because nothing quenches the thirst on a hot day in late July quite like a cucumber. While most people are familiar with the common dark green slicer cukes, they actually come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and even colors. Any cucumber can be pickled, but some varieties are bred for uniformity and girth and are specifically labeled for pickling. Slicers, which are mostly eaten fresh, are thinner and longer with some that can even grow up to two feet if given the opportunity. Nutrients: vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, thiamin, potassium, magnesium.

This last one isn’t a herbal remedy but I couldn’t resist trying it. I’ve been growing Sow True Seed’s Lemon Cucumbers for a few years now and can’t wait to see how this one does in comparison.

Now that you know what’s new in my garden tell me what’s new in yours. Drop back by in a few days and I’ll update you on the rest of the garden.



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  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    May 31, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I planted some Sow True Seeds mixed perennial wildflowers and some thyme this year. Got my two beds in front of the house cleared this winter of everything but mint and my beautiful old Rive D’Or climbing rose. The flowers are coming up nicely. Hope they reseed well.

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    May 28, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    New in our garden this year – sage, thyme and poblano peppers. They should do well because the various leaf lettuce seeds I planted popped out of the ground in 2 days, without rain. Yipee!!!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 28, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    I remember a jingle by Roy Acuff from the Grand Ole Opry that went;
    ♪♫ Luisanne coffee with chicory,
    that brings out coffee’s flavor.
    You only use about half as much.
    Luisanne’s a money saver♫♪.
    I’ll bet a plug nickel don’t remember it but I’ll bet Pap and Granny do.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 28, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Tell Jim that “horseradish” will gallop all over his garden…I planted mine down in the very corner to help curtail the race!
    I know I shouldn’t eat it…but I love a good prime steak with a good hot horseradish sauce…Of course some think it kills the flavor of the steak! I say if it is already good, then more good ain’t going to hurt it! LOL
    PS…We are growing some of those black cherry tomatoes this year, along with the yellow sun glows…the flavor is fantastic…I never get a bowlful to the kitchen before they are half gone! Mine are already loaded in little tomatoes…also my Marconi peppers are good to go this year as well as several other varieties we are trying for the first time…

  • Reply
    May 28, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Valerian I have used for sleepless nights, but it kinda gave me a hung over effect the next day.. FeverFew is a God send to me.. I worked almost a full year in rubber gloves everyday, most don’t do that everyday but we had a huge project going on and I was one of them chosen, almost ruined my arms and hands, I got to the point I had to drive with my wrist and my wife some days had to tie my shoes, Doctor put me on high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs that upset my stomach awful, My wife ran across the feverfew and with in 3 days of taking it my symptoms were gone, I couldn’t believe it, I still take it from time to time when I start having trouble,( be careful thins the blood which is not a bad thing but don’t over do it) also my wife takes it at times for migraine headaches.. Her Doctor approved, said it was the only herb in his medical book that suggest it..

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 28, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    If I am not just romantisizing my youth, chicory used to be much more common on the roadsides in the 50’s and 60’s. When I was a kid the sky-blue of chicory was one of the signs of summer. I had read once somewhere that almost all American coffee had chicory but I think that has changed. I think only the Cajun coffees, such as Community Coffee, may still have it. Chicory has the peculiarity that each flower only blooms one day, like day lilies.
    I forgot to say that last year I planted 3 fennel plants. I had never grown it before and didn’t know what to expect. I grew it because the ground up seed in tomato sauce is really good (to me anyway) and I think most – or maybe all – of the chain Italian restaurants use it as a ‘secret’ ingredient. It is not so easy to find in the store and then is pricey. It has a licorice-like flavor. BUT it gets really big from such tiny seed, about 6 feet. Needless to say, I had enough seed to supply probably my whole voting district. It is also a perennial, so IT’S BACK. The leaves are very finely divided, sort of lace-like similar to asparagus, and the smell like licorice also.
    My daughter gifted me with a dehydrator and I use it to dry herbs to give away and some for us for winter. I have fun with it.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 28, 2015 at 11:39 am

    The only new plant I have in my garden this year is dogfennel and I didn’t put it there. I’ve had it on my property for a while but now it has migrated into the garden. I can’t pull it up when it’s little. The top just pulls off and it comes right back. If I dig it and leave any roots, it comes right back. I can spray it but I don’t want to do that in the garden. Any ideas on how to control or eliminate it?

  • Reply
    May 28, 2015 at 9:36 am

    I don’t even know most of the herbs you talked about. Yesterday, I finished up my planting but they
    are traditional garden things. But this year I didn’t plant any taters and I had to downsize all my gardening needs. I love to grow things in this rich soil, but the tillering for weeds makes it hard anymore…Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 28, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I have Chicory about everywhere along the roadside…the blooms are beautiful blue in the morning. Italian herbs have I…Oregano and Basil for spaghetti pie…LOL I grew the little Mexican Gherkin last year…fun to watch and eat…sort of a sweet/sour taste. Loves the hot muggy weather.
    Your post today reminded me of this poem…Hopefully not a widow, but me in the future…
    “A poor old widow in her weeds
    Sowed her garden with wildflower seeds;
    Not too shallow, and not too deep,
    And down came April drip-drip-drip.
    Up shone May, like gold, and soon
    Green as an arbour grew leafy June.
    And now all summer she sits and sews
    Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss blows,
    Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet
    Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit;
    Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells;
    Clover, burnet and Thyme she smells;
    Like Oberon’s meadows her garden is
    Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.
    Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
    And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes;
    And all she has, is all she needs–
    A poor old widow in her weeds.”
    by Walter de la Mare…Peacock Pie
    I just love me some wildflower weeds….LOL
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    May 28, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Interesting! Who would have thought chicory and chamomile could be grown in your area. I guess I always thought they were grown in foreign land.

  • Reply
    May 28, 2015 at 8:29 am

    I had my first experience with “Stinging Nettle” on a visit to Ireland last year. My granddaughter and I, while photographing a snail in Merlin’s Wood, both got the full effect! Makes me smile thinking about it. I have since discovered Nettle tea. Maybe I’ll try some in my herb garden!

  • Reply
    May 28, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Aside from your regular plantings, these new ones look like they may add some interesting specimens. I always wondered how numerous years ago the people knew what to use for wounds and other related illnesses.
    (Hope Pap is improving!)

  • Reply
    May 28, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Forgot to say (sorry I’m so wordy today!) – I make a lot of herb teas to drink cold in the warm weather. There’s a mason jar of chamomile in my fridge at this very minute 🙂

  • Reply
    May 28, 2015 at 7:57 am

    I’m also a big believer in perennials, Tipper! And this year I happened to get to the feed store right after they had set out their tables full of young plants, and treated myself to several flowering perennials. A couple are varieties I want to grow for dyeing,and most are favored by butterflies…we’ll see if I get more butterflies this year 🙂
    I’ll be very interested in your herb experiments. Do you use comfrey for anything? I’d like to do something useful with the very prolific comfrey plant in my garden. This year it was the only green thing in my garden for quite a while! It’s such a pretty plant, and I swear it puts out more big leaves every night.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 28, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Tip, I’m wondering if those little cucumbers would work with our 14 day pickle recipe. We might have to try it this summer.
    I’m glad to hear about the herbs your planting. It will give us a chance to learn more about using the herbs.
    The Valerian will be interesting too. All the Valerian I’ve come across smells worse that dirty feet. I think what I’ve had was the dried leaves. I’m glad to hear that the flowers are sweetly scented!
    It’s gonna be a fun summer!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 28, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Tipper–I guess I’m a bit amused that there’s a market for chicory seeds. The stuff grows wild along roadsides all over the place, although admittedly digging it up in such locations might pose a bit of a problem.
    Speaking of problems, oregano can present its own. I started with a single plant decades ago and now I have to do some work every year just to keep it under control. Like you say though, it is a wonderful herb with a great diversity of uses.
    As for things I’m personally trying new this year, they involve a couple of new kinds of heirloom tomatoes and horseradish. They all came, incidentally, from Sow True Seeds, and you can tell those folks they made at least one sale thanks directly to you.
    Jim Casada

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