Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gardening Folklore


Many of you may not have grown up into farming or
gardening families where Folklore was the Bible for
how to plant, when to plant or what not to plant but in
my poor farming family many folklore traditions were
held to when it came to gardening.
After I posted the article on the myth about “Peonies and Ants”, I got to thinking about some of the other folklore, myths or old wives tales that I grew up hearing.
I am wondering if any of you have heard some of them
and for those of you how have not maybe they will at least make  you shake your head or bring on a smile.


  •  Don’t plant your garden until the oak leaves are the size of  mouse ears.
    Now this one may be a safe reminder.
  • Bury nails around the roots of hydrangeas to make the blooms blue.
    Was it from nutrients of  the rust?

  •  To keep the crows from eating your corn, kill one and hang it in the field.
    My Granddaddy always did this one.
  • Always plant your potatoes on Good Friday.
    This one was kept to at extremes and they thought the potatoes would do badly if not planted on that day.
  • A snowy winter portends a good year of crops.
    It may be a bumper crop season for most of the states then this summer.

  • And then Tomatoes should be planted on Memorial day.
    This would be safe after the last frost deadline here of May 18th.
  • After planting a hill of beans , press the soil with your foot for good luck.
    I think he really did this one to mark where he was planting. LOL!

     nan g

  •  Never say ‘thank you’ if someone gives you a plant cutting or flowers.
    I have heard this one told to me so many times.
    Do you know how hard it is to not automatically spurt out thank you?
  • Finding a four leaf clover is good luck.
    I use to spend a lot of time searching for them.I think it was to get us out from under foot.
  • Hanging horse shoes upside over the door to catch good luck.
    Heaven forbid it should turn around the other way or fall off. 
  • Never plant vegetables that sound alike together,
    like potato and tomato.
    Oh, I don’t know…
  • Spit on your hand while chopping wood brings good luck.
    Not to mention the axe doesn’t slip out of your hands as easy.
  • Planting the Three Sisters: corn, beans and squash or pumpkins.


  •  If a bird pecks at your window it is a sign of a death.
    Thank goodness this one is wrong.
  • Not to mention girls do not go near the kraut or pickles at certain times.
    Sounds like a very good excuse though not to have to check the crocks.
  • The higher the hornets nest the deeper the snow.
  • Pounding nails on the northern side of your fruit trees will bring a higher yield.
  • If two peoples hoes hit together , they will work in the same field next year.
    Grandpa always hit my hoe with his when we were planting and hoeing together.


    And what was up with all of these….
    Blackberry winter, Dogwood winter, and Whippoorwill winters?
    Planting in the dark of the moon and in the light of the moon.
    Do you have any old folklores that you remember?

 Happy Gardening,


Becca's Dirt said...

I remember a few of those. Plant on a full moon or is that new moon - can't remember. Girls not going near th kraut or pickles at certain times - could this have anything to do with dating or hormones.. kinda wierd. I have picked up many four leaf clovers and daisy's - he loves me - he loves me not... Thanks for the memories. Have a nice day.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Lona, I love, love, all the folklore and the old pictures. I had never heard of these but I had a neighbor that always told me I had to plant radishes by the moon (as designated in the Old Farmer's Almanac) or they wouldn't form.

Maybe I should have listened to him, as I don't have much luck with radishes.


Stephanie said...

My grandma always planted potatoes on St. Patricks Day and she told me not to say thank you for a plant or cutting. She also said that a cutting would grow better if you took it while no one was looking!

Love the pictures~:0)

Patsy said...

I remember most of these, love the pictures and it was a fun post.

Alan said...

I love the old photos! Are they from your own family archive?

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

fabulous pictures... i love the little ones by the farm gate.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I hadn't heard of any of these. Around here they say not to plant any tender annuals out until after Mother's Day which to me is a great excuse to go plant shopping on Mother's Day.
You wouldn't believe the snow we're getting. My kids are excited and at least school is out this week, but I'm ready for spring.

Stephanie said...

Hanging horse shoes upside over the door to catch good luck - this made me laugh :-D Many myths are actually meant for practical reasons! Oh, I did add a rusty nail into my pot of hydrangea... I notice the flower turn more blue hehe...

Karen said...

Lona, what a great trip down memory lane. I have heard many of these folklore sayings before, and some of them have a valid basis, I think. I don't know about pounding nails on the north side of fruit trees,or not saying thank you for flowers? Dad always said that snow in April was a Poor Man's Fertilizer; when you saw Northern Lights we were in for a change in the weather; and he swore up and down that field stones 'grew' in the field so we'd have rocks to pick.

Janet said...

Some of those I had never heard, it was sure fun reading them. Your old photos are priceless. I love finding old family photos, they are such a treasure.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Becca: Some of them are so funny but there may be some logic to most of them.

Eileen: I cannot grow radishes either. It always irked me too.

Stephanie: I even heard one that said to plant them in the dark so the eyes would not see the light. LOL!

Patsy: The younger growers may never have heard any of these growing up. It is fun to teach them.

Alan: Yes, they are very old family pictures of us poor folk. I love them though.

DGG: Those little ones are me and my cousins. Those little fat legs and cheeks are so cute. LOL!

Catherine: We will take any excuse to buy flowers. It is snowing here today too. I hope the girls have fun in it.

Stephanie: Now the rust nails make a little sense to me. I am glad to see it really worked for someone though.

Karen: I have thought rocks were growing at times too because of all the ones we use to pick out of the garden. LOL!

Janet: Those pictures are near and dear to me. I am sad to admit that I was in a couple of them. I still have those chubby legs. LOL!

Balisha said...

I loved seeing your old family photos. My elderly neighbor would come out, while I was planting and just quietly shake her head...I knew that it was the wrong day to plant by her reaction. She always planted by the moon.

Tootsie said...

these are great! thanks for the visit today...I haven't been able to just pop over this past while...sometimes being a good single mommy means Tootsie has to be a bad blogger! lol
hugs to you friend...have a great weekend

pogonip said...

My mom insisted on giving me a copy of the Almanac's planting guide this year. My potatoes did so badly last year that I'm willing to try anything!

Love your pink banner, btw. Gives me hope that springtime might arrive someday.

Heather at Dusty Bay said...

Oh interesting! Some of those I've heard before and some well, not so sure... Thanks for posting!

Jeri Landers said...

"Never eat a pickle while crossing the street on a Sunday" I SWEAR! Maybe it doesn't have anything to do with gardening, but, well, it is about a vegetable.
I love all of them!

NellJean said...

Marvelous ancient family photos! Familiar sayings, except this far south potatoes are already in the ground. Mama always planted green beans on Good Friday without fail.

Are you going to the Garden Show? I look forward to photos.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Balisha: LOL! I know many who went by the signs of the moon. I think a lot may still do it that way.Have a wonderful weekend!

Tootise: I know how busy these single Moms can get because I was one too. Have a great weekend!

Pogonip: We will be waiting for that end of the year report on the potatoes. LOL!

Heather: Maybe it is our old Appalachian beliefs. LOL! I knew there would be some that had never heard of them.

Jeri: Now the one about the pickle is new to me. Maybe someone got hurt badly while walking and eating a pickle. LOL!

Nell Jean: I am going this Tuesday to the Garden Show. I hope to get some pictures if it isn't too dark indoors.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lona, Great post. I can't say I recall any more folk lore tidbits but these are sure fun. Love the old photos too, especially the children. :)