Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

First Fruits – 2011

This evening, we had fresh squash and zucchini from the garden. The first of the beans are ready to pick, and the tomatoes should be ready soon.

Squash from the garden, and 11 eggs from the hens. What a great way to live!

Tomato plants overflowing - this is a group of 4 plants, with zucchini to the left and beans to the right. Photo taken on 05/19/2011

Squash - 05/19/2011

Tomatoes - It won't be long... 05/19/2011


  1. John Yelvington

    Congratulations sir! I just planted my little garden 2 weeks ago. I hope that I didn’t start too late.

  2. Stephen Clay McGehee

    Thanks! If you’re too late, then what I’m doing today will be in vain. I have some collards that are ready to be removed (you can see them in the background in the second photo), and will be replacing them with some pole beans. I have been working on different ideas for supporting plants, and I’ll be testing out one idea with them. I have a 16′ cattle panel that I have formed into something that will (hopefully) be structurally sound and work to support the beans. I was originally looking for a way to support tomatoes, but I’m not sure if this design will help there. I’ll do a post on this idea later on after I get it set up.

    On the other hand… One thing that I’ve learned is that the earlier you can get things started, the better. In the North, they need to get an early start due to a short growing season. Down here in The South, we need to get the gardening done before the really hot weather comes and the bug population reaches its peak. I’ll do a post later in the summer on really hot weather crops – there are only a few plants that can successfully be grown through the summer in The South. Okra and New Zealand Spinach are two that come to mind.

  3. John Yelvington

    I hope everything works out well. This is the first year I’ve ever really tried to grow anything. My garden is just a wooden box about 4′ long, a foot wide and about a foot deep. My wife and I are trying tomatoes, cayenne peppers, bell peppers and cucumbers. Along with this we planted a hydrangia, some hostas (I think I spelled that right) and I’m going to try to plant some soft mast oak trees soon.

  4. Stephen Clay McGehee

    It may be small, but you’re taking a giant step forward. Growing your own food – even if it is just enough for a sample every now and then – gives you the hands-on experience that you simply can’t get from reading books or blogs. You’re learning what works for your situation, and there is no substitute for experience.

    Congratulations, sir! I hope that you’ll share your experiences here as your garden progresses.

  5. Wyandotte

    Nice photos; keep them coming. I’m not clear on the gardening cycle where you reside; are you able to plant 2 or 3 successive crops or what. Or is there a cold or rainy season where you can’t grow anything?

  6. Stephen Clay McGehee

    Thanks – I’m glad you like the photos. I enjoy photography and try to use a lot of them here.

    There is a hot season where only a few crops will grow – okra and New Zealand Spinach are two that come to mind. The Winter is when the garden is the most beautiful here – lettuce, cabbage, carrots, collards, parsley, broccoli – they all grow right through the coldest weather here without any special care. The coldest it gets here is in the mid-20’s (F), and every few years it will get down to maybe 19. The summer is generally the rainy season here, but it only helps the garden.

    I don’t really think in terms of “growing cycles” here – there are warm weather crops and cool weather crops, and I try to keep something growing all the time. The warm weather crops that transplant well, such as tomatoes, are started right around the end of December or first of January. When they’re ready to move out to the garden, the cool weather plants are usually finished producing and are ready to be pulled out. The cool weather plants are started in the Fall, and they go through until the Spring.

    In reality, it doesn’t work quite that smoothly since there is always some overlap, but that’s the objective.

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