Pickling By The Signs

Coming in at number 12 in the most popular Blind Pig & the Acorn posts is Canning By The Zodiac Signs. I published the post on July 16 of 2009 (Pap's birthday!)

I frequently get questions from folks about the correct time for making kraut or other types of fermented pickles. Even Granny has called me 3 different times this summer to see if I'd ask The Deer Hunter if the signs were right for what she's wanting to make. After the second call, I said "You have the same calender we do and no it's not in the right signs." She said "I know I just wanted to ask you anyway." 

Pickles in the Jar

We've already talked about how the Zodiac Signs dictate the time to plant your garden-but what about telling you when to can all that garden goodness?

Granny only worries about the signs being right-if she's making Kraut or fermented pickles (pickled beans and corn). The same for The Deer Hunter's family.

The Deer Hunter and I go by the zodiac signs for pickling/fermenting too. Sounds like it's all hunky dory and settled right? Actually-not so much. Choosing which sign is the right sign is where it gets confusing.

Our families agree-the Zodiac Sign should be in the head for the best results when pickling or fermenting-and you can still have a fairly good chance for success as long as the sign is above the heart-but never ever below the heart or all your hard work will be for naught cause the produce will rot-or never pickle. But other folks see it totally different.

Just this week I've had 2 people tell me their preferred sign for pickling/fermenting is the feet-and if you do pickle when the signs are higher in the body-your produce will rot or be slimy. So who is right? I tried researching online to see what the general consensus is-but there isn't much information available. 

After seeing the lack of information available on the Internet-I know when folks search for details on pickling/fermenting by the Zodiac Signs in the future-they will find this post. Please help me-answer the questions they'll be looking for:

  • Do you follow the Zodiac Signs when canning everything-or like us just when you're pickling/fermenting?
  • What sign do you think is the best for pickling/fermenting? For canning? 
  • If you don't know-does anyone in your family have information about preserving by the signs?

Tipper

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Blind Pig & The Acorn's 4th Annual Planting By The Signs Test

Blind Pig

The Blind Pig & The Acorn's 4th Annual Planting By The Signs Test kicked off last week. Sow True Seeds generously sponsored this year's test. 22 participants signed up to be part of the planting test. As I told them, it will be interesting to see if there is a difference in our good day and bad day plants-but mostly I hope we have fun and end up with a bumper crop of beans.

Blind Pig & the Acorn's 4th annual planting by the signs test

This year's test plant is a Heirloom Bean that is good for drying-around here we call them October beans-because that's typically when they are vine dried enough to be shelled out for later use. The following is a quote about the bean from Sow True Seed:

Rare Heirloom. Native American dry bean variety dating back to the 1830s from the Cherchei Nation in Tennessee. Prolific producer and a great winter staple. Bush habit. Direct seed after danger of frost has passed.
 Planting by the moon signs test

Each participant was given 8 seeds. 4 to plant on a good sign day; 4 to plant on a bad sign day. May 23rd and 24th both fell under the most fruitful sign of Cancer, so the good day seeds were planted on either the 23rd or 24th of May.

May 26th and 27th both fell under the unfruitful sign of Leo. So the bad day seeds were planted on either the 26th or 27th of May.

I'll keep you posted on the test as the season progresses.

Tipper

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4th Annual Planting By The Signs Test - And Results From Last Year

Planting by the signs 2011

If there was one word to describe the Blind Pig & the Acorn's 3rd Annual Planting By The Signs Test it was bad.

Our test subject for last summer was cucumbers. All participants plant a few seeds on a good day according to the signs-and a few on a bad day-then we compare how or if the plants developed and produced differently. But mostly-we just have a whole lot of fun.

I couldn't tell any difference between my good and bad plants last summer-because they both were horrible. We had the poorest cucumber production we've ever had-so did Pap and Granny. The only difference I noted-was the bad day seeds sprouted before the good day seeds-even though they were planted a day or so later. The plants all came up good-but just failed to produce as they should. Pap wondered if it was because we saw so few bees around them.

Results from other testers:

Penny: I think it was so strange that my bad day cucumbers seem to do better...I did get a couple more cucumbers from them than the good days. 

Nicole: Sadly, mine were a flop.  BUT--we had fun trying it and checking them! 

B. Ruth: Our cucumbers did great....the bad day came up first even though they were planted later...but the good day came up and soon were growing great...not all the bad day came up....We had so many cucumbers this year that we had to sneak up to the neighbors house when he was gone to prayer meeting and hang them on his door...LOL

Sylvia: We planted them all, 3 of the plants didn't come up at all, and three did, but only one of them produced anything. I think all in all we got 3 cucs! Cest la vie! Maybe next year they will be better! 

Terry: Mine burned up so fast this year,we didn't get any.

Mark: Mine did right well for a while, but then they were overtaken with gourds. We may have gotten a couple of cukes off them. For a while, I thought I could tell a distinct difference between the ones planted in the bad signs and the good signs, but then once they became hidden in the gourd jungle, I lost track. Sorry about that. Nevertheless, it was fun while it lasted.

Helen: Here's the post with the final report. Reddirt Woman Mine didn't survive the heat. I got a few but not like on past tests.

Jennifer: The good day ones started out ahead of the “bad” day ones, but then it all evened out. There was no difference in the number of cukes in the end and frankly, they all pooped out earlier than I had hoped.

David Templeton: I planted both good day and bad day cucumbers in close proximity so earth was same. Although we had a long period of hot, dry weather, I kept them watered. I kept the growing vines on tomato cages rather than allowing them to lay on the ground. Having said all that, none of the vines produced. The yield was almost nothing. 

Rachelle: Mine were a total flop. I think that cold snap that we had about the time that we planted them done mine in. I am not planting anything outside next year until June. LOL

Barbara: Mine were a flop. I got a couple of cukes from the bad day plants. Then the squash bugs killed the plants. I was so mad. I had planted marigolds, nasturtiums to help kill the bugs. Didn't work, I really got no cukes or squash all summer. One pumpkin that didn't turn all the way orange. 

Carrie: The chickens ate our's so they were a flop too. lol...not a good cuke year!

Stacey: I did have some sort of cross pollination and the cucs were orange in color and more fat(ish) rather than long. The production wasn't great for either but the ones planted on the good days did a bit better in the production department.

Becky: The bad day seeds grew 5 vines and I picked exactly 7 cucumbers from those vines. The good day seeds grew 2 vines and I picked exactly 7 cucumbers from those vines. With less than half the plants the good day cucumbers yielded the exact same amount. Even though they didn't produce many cucumbers I still say it was somewhat of a successful  comparison of good day/bad day examples.

Mamabug: My poor cucumbers just died from the intense heat we've had this summer. No matter how much we watered the sun just baked those plants. We plant so much earlier here in Florida they just didn't have a chance to make it being planted in May.

Warren: Both my good and bad plants did well until deer or something ate all of the good plants and some of the bad plants. The 3 bad plants that are let are doing great though! 

-----------------
I told you it was bad-I believe the only folks who had success in any form were B. Ruth and Mark-the rest of us were attacked by heat, rain, chickens, deer, bugs, and just plain bad luck.

 

Sow true seeds october beans

But hey this year is a brand new summer with a brand new garden so I say lets move on to the Blind Pig & The Acorn's 4th Annual Planting By The Signs Test! Sow True Seeds has generously decided to sponsor this year's test-and they've donated enough seed for close to 40 participants.

Sow True Seed partners with Blind Pig & the Acorn

This year our test plant will be a Heirloom Bean that is good for drying-around here we call them October beans-because that's typically when they are vine dried enough to be shelled out for later use. The following is a quote about the bean from Sow True Seed:
Rare Heirloom. Native American dry bean variety dating back to the 1830s from the Cherchei Nation in Tennessee. Prolific producer and a great winter staple. Bush habit. Direct seed after danger of frost has passed.
Now for how the test details-I mail you the seeds-you plant a few on the best day according to the signs-and you plant the others on the worst day according to the signs-informing me through out the season how each 'days' plants are doing. Along with the package of seeds I send-I'll also send detailed instructions about which days to plant on. If you want to play along-let me know by emailing me at tipper@blindpigandtheacorn.com

If you missed yesterday's post about my Sow True Seeds sponsorship-be sure to jump back and read it.

One more thing-if you know anything about the Cherchei Nation in TN-please leave me a comment-the only information I could find just kept bringing me right back to the heirloom October bean.

 

Tipper

Summer In The Mail Box

Planting by the signs calendar for 2011 
It was Thursday before any us decided to hike out to get the mail-and it wasn't me who decided to go. But once the snowy trip had been made-I gladly received the bounty of summer that was found in the mailbox-my garden seeds.

Hometown Seeds the best seeds to buy 
The kind folks over at Hometown Seeds are sponsoring the Blind Pig garden again this year-in addition to round 3 of the Blind Pig & The Acorn Sign Test. If you've never heard of the seed company-let me tell you a little about them. 

Hometown Seeds specializes in providing quality seeds to home gardeners. They offer vegetable, flower and herb seeds-and guarantee their seeds to be top notch quality, true to type, shipped right, and to be great producers. Hometown Seeds does not sell GMO-genetically engineered seeds-to their customers as they do not believe enough research has been done on the subject.

Planting calendar for 2011 
So even though my garden-and Pap's big garden are covered with snow-and Mother Nature has even adorned the bean poles with massive snow balls-I'm thinking of warm soft dirt-of sunshine on the back of my neck, of small green heads poking through the earth to reach upward. And of course I'm thinking about planting by the signs.

Last summer was the first year I managed to plant my entire garden by the zodiac signs-and it was the absolute best producing garden I've ever had. For the last 2 years I've asked Blind Pig readers to play along with a planting by the signs test. Due to the generosity of Hometown Seeds-I'll once again be asking readers to plant along with me this year. If you're interested here are the details:

I mail you some seeds-you plant a few on the best day according to the signs-and you plant the others on the worst day according to the signs-informing me through out the season how each 'days' plants are doing. Along with the package of seeds I send-you will get detailed instructions about which days to plant on. Last year we chose May as our starting month-that gave most folks time to make sure their last frost date had past. This year cucumbers will be our test plant. If you want to play along-let me know by emailing me at tipper@blindpigandtheacorn.com

How to plant by the zodiac signs 
In addition to the sign test, I'm excited about:

I was thoroughly pleased with the seed quality and customer service of Hometown Seeds last year. If you haven't picked up your seeds for the coming summer-jump over to Hometown Seeds and look around-I think you'll be glad you did. I found their Survival Seeds Packet especially interesting. And if you let Hometown Seeds know you're a Blind Pig & The Acorn reader-they'll give you 10% off your entire order. Just use the word acorn for the coupon code as you're checking out and the 10% discount will be applied. Even better you can use the code multiple times if you need too-and the discount lasts through March 2011.

Hope you'll leave me a comment and tell me what your gardening plans are for 2011.

Tipper

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Planting By The Signs For September 2010


Planting by the signs calendar for September 2010

Need an easy to use planting by the signs calendar for 2011?-Check out the Blind Pig & the Acorn's Planting By the Moon Signs 2011 Calendar by clicking here.

The cooler temps we've been experiencing set me to thinking about my fall garden. We still have okra, peppers, onions, and a few tommy toes growing/producing from our summer garden.

Planting a fall garden 
Determined to continue planting by the zodiac signs-I planted my root crops on Monday. Beets, radishes, and turnips were on my list-and now they're all in the ground. Hopefully over the coming weekend-when the signs are right for above ground crops-I'll add mustard greens and lettuce to the mix.

What can you plant in a fall garden

I feel lucky to live in a climate where you can sneak in another growing season-of cool weather plants. So many folks barely get one growing season. Then there are the folks who can grow gardens year round-hard for me to imagine. Recently, Garland, a friend who lives in Hawaii was telling me how he once kept a okra plant alive-and producing for 3 years-wow.

So what about you-are you able to plant a fall garden or garden year round?

Tipper

p.s. Drop back by tomorrow for a post about saving seeds from heirloom tomatoes.
 
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Planting By The Signs For August 2010

Planting signs for august 2010

Need an easy to use planting by the signs calendar for 2011?-Check out the Blind Pig & the Acorn's Planting By the Moon Signs 2011 Calendar by clicking here.


My summer garden is winding down. I do believe it's the best garden we've ever had. The lack of rain has almost completely dried up the big garden we share with Granny and Pap-but our smaller one here at home has benefited from our watering cans.

With the heat continuing to soar-it's hard to think about getting ready for the fall garden-but before we know it-those cooler temps will start sliding in and I'll be thinking of spicy radishes, stewed turnips, and greens. Our garden has been so successful this year-I'm going to continue my planting by the signs venture with my fall garden too.

Granny has already planted her mustard greens and turnips. I said Granny isn't it a little early? She said well I planted them too late last year so this year I figured I'd plant them too early and come out even. Who knows-maybe her logic will work.

Since Hometown Seeds sponsored the Blind Pig garden this year-I was able to plant a few new things-that I'd never tried before. Hearing Pap talk about the type of squash his Mother grew when he was a child made me want to try a variety of squash that would have a longer shelf life.

Green hubbard squash 
I planted Hometown Seeds-Winter Squash Green Hubbard. It seemed to take them forever to get started-but now they're growing like crazy. The vines have twined all over the garden-and the yard-till they look like some kind of alien invasion. See the size of the squash-it's double that now. Seriously the squash are as big as watermelons. So now I'm wondering what to do with them-how do I store them-how do I cook them? If you have any tips on green hubbard squash I'd love to hear them.

What was the strangest thing you grew this summer?

Tipper

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Planting By The Signs July 2010

July 2010 Planting calendar 

Need an easy to use planting by the signs calendar for 2011?-Check out the Blind Pig & the Acorn's Planting By the Moon Signs 2011 Calendar by clicking here.


So far my July has been hot and dry-and the garden isn't really enjoying the weather. We've been watering the garden at our house-but the big one we share with Pap and Granny is harder to water-and it desperately needs rain.

We've been getting squash, green beans, cucumbers, onions, cabbage, beets, zucchini, peppers, and a few tomatoes from the garden. This is my favorite time of the year to eat.  

Picking wild blackberries
With the help of these 2-I've made 3 runs of Blackberry jelly-and been eaten alive by chiggers along the way.

I've gotten a few updates from the Squash Test Participants:

On 6-24 Martina noted:

I planted the seeds on the 18th and 19th of May.  Two of the bad day ones came up, one of the good day.  I'm not holding much hope for success. So far the plants have three dinky leaves and are about 1 in. tall.   The tomato plants are just starting to bloom so I think that your growing season starts much sooner than around here.
 
On 6-24 B. Ruth noted:

I did want to report on the Squash seed plants.....Roy my husband said that the seeds he planted on the good days were (plants) about three times bigger than the seeds (plants) planted on the bad days.....even though the seeds on the good day were planted later than the bad day seeds.....I wasn't here but he planted them for me and marked the seeds....They are just now getting ready to set fruit so it will be interesting to see the size of the good day plants.

You can go here to see Twisted Fencepost's first report. And you can go here to see Reddirt Woman's latest Squash Report.
 
D squash test
David Templeton sent me this photo of his Squash Test-along with the following information:
 
I'm sure a scientist could think of all kinds of questions to ask to try and assure that the study is being done using the "scientific method" but I have made sure that all conditions have been controlled and each hill of plantings has received the same treatment.
 
The hill on the left is the "Bad" day planting, the one on the right planted the day before on a "Good" day.
 
"Good" came up on schedule, "Bad" was slow to germinate and showed up about a week after the "Good"
   
The planting was during the last set of "sign" days in May.
 
In this case, so far, the "Bad" (on the left) is visibly bigger; taller, with larger leaves.  Both hills have buds forming and will bloom in just a few days.
 
I'll get many squash from each hill and I will try to compare yields (number of pounds per plant, or something). Mainly, I like yellow crookneck squash and that will be the bonus of the fun test.
 
Squash test 
This was my attempt to show you my 'bad day' squash-but my garden has turned into such a jungle-it's hard to get an individual picture of each of the test plants. So far my 
'good day' seem to be doing better than the 'bad'. The 'good day' squash were bigger from the beginning and sprouted faster-2 of my 'bad day' did not even come up. I've gotten a few squash from my 'good day'-but none from the 'bad day'-although the 'bad day' is setting squash.
 
Remember my volunteer Squash plant? Well it was a disappointment-it grew some rock hard small blobs then promptly died. But I found something even better volunteering for me-
Growing watermelon
A watermelon! Last year, Hubert (a past Mountain Folk interviewee) gave me several watermelon seeds-they all came up-but not one made a watermelon-or so I don't think they did. Anyway-I noticed this one when it was just tiny-now it seems to grow bigger over night. I'm not sure if it came from one of Hubert's or not. He says if it's yellow inside-I'll know it was his. Gardening is funny-last year I tried so hard to grow a watermelon and made a total failure at it-this year I made no effort what so ever-and I've got a dandy one growing in my garden.
 
If any of you are taking part in the Squash Test-please leave a comment and update everyone about how yours are growing-or email it to me at tipper@blindpigandtheacorn.com
and I'll post it for you.
 
Tipper
 
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Blind Pig & The Acorn's 2nd Annual Planting By The Signs Test

2nd annual planting by the signs test at www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

Yesterday we kicked off the 2nd Annual Blind Pig & the Acorn Planting By The Signs Test. This year's test was sponsored by Hometown Seeds-they donated enough crooked neck squash seeds for each participant to plant 10 seeds-5 on one of the best days for planting during the month of May-5 on one of the worst days for planting during the month of May.

This year's Participants are: Stacey, WKF, Janet, Paul P., Helen, Warren, Becky, Bev, Jennifer, David, Martina, Barb, Paula, and Jeannie.

Wall of green in western nc 

The rain we've had over the past few days-has made the green greener around my house-and it seems everywhere I look I see a waving wall of green.

Planting squash by the signs

May 17th and 18th are both in the fruitful sign of Cancer (sometimes called the Crab by old-timers) so those are the days I chose for folks to plant their 5 good day squash seeds. Yesterday started out drizzly and grey-but by lunch the sun was shinning.

How to plant squash

Pap taught me to plant squash in mounds-is that how you plant them? I mound up the dirt-then use my pinky finger to make a hole-a small stick or pencil works good too. I usually plant at least 3 seeds in each mound. Since I had 5 good day seeds to plant-I put 3 seeds in one mound and 2 in the other.

The 'bad days' I picked for planting the other 5 seeds are the 19th and 20th-both fall under the sign of Leo-which is a fiery, barren and dry sign.

Throughout the growing season I'll post updates on how everyone's good day squash and bad day squash are coming along-and by the end of the test hopefully we'll be able to clearly see if the good day squash did better than the bad day squash.

Tipper

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Planting By The Signs For April 2010

Planting by the sign calendar for April 2010 Blind Pig & the Acorn 


So far I've accomplished my goal of planting by the signs this year-well I've had one minor glitch-but I'm still claiming success.

Growing tomatoes from seed

Just a few miles down the road, my peppers and tomatoes are thriving in a local greenhouse. I planted the seedlings on the 'right day' several weeks ago.

Growing radishes in the spring

In the garden, my radishes, spinach, and lettuce are coming right along. 

Warm weather heats up NC

The weather we've been having over the past week has made it seem like summer here in the Southern Highlands of Appalachia-making us all want to be outside.

I've waited all winter to finally catch a cold in the spring-I've been pretty miserable for the past few days. But the garden has been calling to me-and the knowledge that I couldn't plant on just any day-has been weighing on my mind as well.

Three indian princesses help in the garden

Friday after work, I decided it was time to plant something-and according to my calendar it had to be root crops. I enlisted the Three Indian Princesses to help.

How to plant beets

With their help, I managed to plant 2 beds of beets and one full of carrots. I've never planted beets before-but thanks to Hometown Seeds I was able to this year. I made sure the beds were thoroughly tilled-then added mushroom compost as well as some wood compost-the mixture was light, fluffy, and deep-hopefully it'll work.

How to plant cabbage

The glitch I mentioned at the beginning-was 15 cabbage plants Pap gave me. No way would I turn them down-but once I looked at my calendar I knew I couldn't wait 2 weeks to plant them either. Since I planted them on Good Friday-I'm claiming that was going by the signs-if not the Zodiac signs-then the garden folklore passed down in Appalachia-and I'm starting my own piece of folklore-"Always plant cabbage on Good Friday."

Now that I've updated you on my garden-I hope you'll leave me a comment-and tell me how yours is coming along. And if you're an experienced beet grower-I hope you'll tell me I planted them right.

Tipper
 

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Planting By The Signs For March 2010

Planting by the sign calendar for March 2010 Blind Pig & the Acorn

Need an easy to use planting by the signs calendar for 2011?-Check out the Blind Pig & the Acorn's Planting By the Moon Signs 2011 Calendar by clicking here.


I've been itching to get my early spring veggies planted-but as I've told you before-I'm determined to plant my entire garden by the signs this year. Between my busy life and Mother Nature-I've already had a taste of how hard fulfilling that dream may be. 

During the right days for planting root crops last week, I had appointments, work, and mushroom growing to do. I could have planted on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday this week-but the signs weren't right. Yesterday was taken up by a busy schedule-and this morning I awoke to rain clouds and a forecast for heavy rain through tomorrow.

Planting a spring garden

After dropping the girls at school, I came home and hurriedly put my work clothes on. As soon as I stepped outside the basement door I felt the rain start. I turned around, took my boots off and came back upstairs-defeated-fretting that I would have to wait till the end of the month to plant what I was hoping to plant today. I kept running to the back deck to check on the rain-when finally I realized-I won't melt and I might have time to plant at least one thing before the heavier rain started.

When to plant radishes and onions

As I pulled my boots back on and headed out-I kept thinking of the old song-"I fought the law and the law won" except I was singing "I fought the signs and the signs won". I quickly re-built one of my long narrow beds by turning the soil over and adding some mushroom compost along with some of my compost. 

When to plant by the signs in western nc

Before I knew it-I had it done. A bed full of radishes and a bed with 2 different types of onions-all planted by the signs. I was dirty and soaking wet-but hey I fought the signs and won-at least for today.

Tipper

p.s. I can't wait to see if the seeds-supplied by Hometown Seeds do better than what I've used in the past-I'm so happy they're sponsoring my garden! If you haven't purchased your gardening supplies yet-jump over to their site and look around. Through April 30, 2010 Hometown Seeds is offering a 10% discount on orders to Blind Pig & the Acorn Readers. Just enter the coupon code "blind" when you check out.

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