A West Virginia Garden


You know you’re in West Virginia if you’re gardening sideways.

We like unpaved roads with steep drop-offs, no guard rails, hairpin curves, and all other things that are difficult, too. If anyone can garden on a slant, we can.

Well, okay, sometimes I just garden on a slant in a secondary role. At least, you know, when the hard part is going on. Like that digging stuff. But look! I am like Vanna White turning over letters. I hand over the stakes and tell 52 what a great job he’s doing. “You look so cute when you’re hammering, honey.”

And look at me and my farmgirl boots standing on the wire. I’m a good helper.

This is the fruit section. We planted three thornless (THORNLESS!) blackberry bushes and a self-pollinating blueberry bush to join last weekend’s peach tree.

Grow little blackberry, grow. Look, do you see that cut on my hand? I bet Vanna never got a cut from turning over letters. She couldn’t handle this gardening on a slant thing. She’s not tough like me!!

We (using the term “we” loosely) staked out a 30-foot by 40-foot section in the yard near the house, overlooking the river, bordering the “fruit section” along the bank by the driveway, for the kitchen garden. I see asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs.

And I see a dog at the end of the day in the shadows of pink sunset on my farm.

I live on a farm!

And I got a cut on my hand and everything, so I’m a real farmer now. Right? I think my farmgirl boots got a little muddy, too. Then I went inside and baked some bread because I am a multi-tasker.


  1. Ann from Montana says:

    Hey, it looks a LOT greener around the house.

    I didn’t actually garden, but I DID think about gardening…although I’m doing container gardening this year and in MT – where I’ll be in a couple of weeks – growing season is pretty short. I’m going to try those upside down tomato things and pots of herbs, peppers and ???

    I have asparagus going – which I LOVE!!!

    So much fun playing in the dirt – And what fun with a new garden on your own farm!

  2. Christine says:

    I wanna be a farm girl too! :hissyfit:

  3. Heidi says:

    I wish we could get our gardens started up here!! We are SO far behind from the long winter that I dont even have my potatos in!!!! AGH!!!! I love your farm boots – they are SO profession farmer they scream it!!!! LOL How is the rest of the house coming along…. is it all finished and ready for partys?? I bet your readers could throw a great bash of a ‘New Home’ party… 🙂

  4. Kim A. says:

    Wow, you are on a roll. Hatching chickens, planting….Or maybe 52 is on a roll. 😆

    Oh, yes, cuts on one’s finger plus muddy boots qualify for farm girl status. Hmm, well, maybe you need a few calluses on your hands too.


  5. jenn says:

    I’m so jealous that you’re planting already. I’m off to rake last year’s leaves out of my perennial beds, but here in Maine we’re still quite a ways from actually planting. I love hearing about what you’re putting in your new garden. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as spending the winter plotting and planning a garden, then to watch it actually take shape in the spring. Good luck!

  6. Cyndi Lewis says:

    I am so jealous. What a fun way to spend the weekend. I so want to have a farm. I’m not sure about the whole planting on a slant thing. I don’t have any Virginian blood in me. My blood comes from North Dakota and Minnisota- flat lands.

  7. Lora says:

    I’m feelin’ like you’re nearly a bonafide farmer now, especially with the boots.
    Now all you have to do is shovel some manure. (you can go to somebody elses farm for that)
    Oh, I forgot….you have to aquire a blister that someone will notice and say, “Wow! You have really been working hard!” to which you will reply along these lines, “Just puttin’ the garden in.” In a modest (read cool, like the Fonz) tone of voice, and look down at your now really dirty farmgirl boots.
    Then, your in!

  8. Lora says:

    You can sort of look at the manure shoveling, blister and dirty boots like girl scout badges.:)

  9. Granny Sue says:

    Your excitement really comes through in your posts. Your garden plans sound lovely.

    My weekend (after the storytelling conference) included a lot of porch sitting, admiring the dafodils and early blooming bushes. The peach trees are coming out, and the pear is ready to burst with bloom. But besides sitting, we did transplant a peach seedling (don’t let anyone tell you that seedlings that sprout in your yard aren’t worth planting!), got the strawberry plants in and the potato ground worked up for planting tonight. And checked on the chickens who are growing like crazy, and the pigs–they are happy as pigs in muck in their little place.

    It was a beautiful,beautiful mountain spring day, wasn’t it? I’ll be posting photos on my blog in a little bit.

  10. Christine says:

    My daughter just got home from a spring break trip to West Virginia. She told me how they had to stop and shoo the chickens out of the road. I, of course,instantly thought of you.

    BTW, I don’t think we can call ourselves farm girls until we step in a big ol’pile of manure. Something about a right of passage…

  11. Pamela - Atl. says:

    Hi…I made yesterdays bread recipe. It turned out wonderful and talk about easy. It will be a regular among my recipes. Mine didn’t seem to brown much on top though. Any suggestions?

  12. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Hi, Pamela! I don’t know for sure, but the first thing that comes to mind is how high your oven rack is that it was sitting on? It won’t brown as well on a low oven rack. Otherwise, I’m not sure! I’m glad you enjoyed it, though!

  13. Jen-o-topia in TN says:

    Ah, sounds like a perfect weekend! We too are prepping the garden for spring planting, but I won’t be putting out my herbs and veggies for another couple of weeks here in Middle Tennessee.

  14. Bayou Woman says:

    Wow! Great post! I’m curious, though, as it seems you live so far out–who goes to town and buys all this stuff for you? Like trees, plants, fencing, etc. With writing, blogging, baking, etc. when do you have time to go to town?

  15. Jill S. says:

    I wish I had your green thumb!! (But not the cut, lol — hey, I cut myself slices peaches this weekend, not growing them. Does that count?)

  16. Suzanne McMinn says:

    I go to town quite often, even though I’d rather not! 52 got the garden fence supplies, actually. And the blackberries, blueberries, and peach tree came mail-order from Gurney’s.

  17. Lisa J says:

    My weekend was GREAT. Rode the train (first time) to Ft.Worth Stockyards, and had a wonderful experience. Not what I expected, I thought they sold cows at a stockyard. Take a peek at my pics if you have time.

  18. Tipper says:

    Just stumbled on to your blog from The Noble Pig blog. My garden is like yours-slanted but not quite as much. We had wet weather all weekend so no gardening for me. I love anything Appalachian-so I really like your blog!

  19. Tori Lennox says:

    I love your farm so much!!! Though I know I couldn’t manage half what you do!

  20. kacey says:

    Oh, a “kitchen garden” so jealous.

    So a cut hand makes you a real farmgirl? Who knew? I would have thought the boots did… :mrgreen:

  21. Annie says:

    Being a real farmgirl now you might want to make sure your tetanus shot is up to date!

    I’ve lived on my place eight years now, and had livestock for most of them, but it wasn’t until last year when I baled my own hay that I actually felt like a farmer.

  22. Becky says:

    Awesome! I’m envious of the peach trees.

    And a self-pollenating blueberry bush? I never knew there was such a thing. Shows how much I know!

  23. Amy Addison says:

    Thornless Blackberries? Self-Propagating Blueberries? Envious! We have raspberries and blackberries and Sylvans and Marionberries, but they all have thorns. Which helps keeps the animals out, I guess. But our Blueberries aren’t self-propagating. Though I think I’ll have to get some of those and plant them this year!

    :shimmy: You live on a farm! How cool is that?

  24. catslady says:

    Ahhh but think of all the good eating 52 is going to receive in return for all his hard work – and we got to see his leg 😆

  25. Susan says:

    I would say you most certainly have become a full fledged farmgirl! Welcome! :shimmy:

  26. Brandy says:

    I wish I could have a garden! But, Son won’t give up the space his swing-set is in even though he hardly ever gets on the darn thing. *g*
    And I was JUST going to say your boots were too clean, but then you got them muddy! A true Farm Girl! *G*

  27. Estella says:

    That’s a large garden!
    I had company over the weekend.

  28. Renna says:

    That sunset picture from your porch is heavenly.

  29. Cathy says:

    I recently found your blog & it’s wonderful!
    All my kinfolk is from WV & I spent many of my summers there as a child so all of this is bringing back fond memories.
    I’m a state away in Virginia Beach, VA which even though is just a state away, it looks like our weather is alot further along here.
    Tulips & azalias have bloomed here & most the trees have their green leaves now!
    I want to look into those thornless blackberry bushes!

  30. coquet's cache says:

    Saturday: attack of bronchitis, so I called out sick and watched tv all night

    Sunday: slept in, worship, drove straight to work and changed into my uniform in the staff bathroom, got home @ midnight, and ate boxed mac and cheese.

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