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Version one I would like to note that this whole planting potatoes on Good Friday thing is just a tradition dating to way back when. Way back when, potatoes were a rather new thing in Europe. Way back when, Irish Protestants were not so fond of potatoes as they are now. In fact, way back when, they sort of had this idea that potatoes shouldn’t be eaten because they weren’t mentioned in the Bible. Irish Catholics skirted the issue by planting them on Good Friday, thereby baptizing the little spuds and making them holy. So now both Protestant and Catholic Irishman are well known for their love of potatoes. And the rest of us are stuck planting them on Good Friday and not even knowing why.
Version two Planting potatoes on Good Friday is merely tradition. In past times when cottagers worked long hours with few holidays then Good Friday was the first suitable day off that they got. Remember that potatoes were a staple part of the diet then and they would have had a large family,, so they planted many more potatoes than we would today.
Version three Here’s what the gardening experts at Iowa State University Extension advise: Potatoes should be planted in early spring. Appropriate planting times are late March or early April in southern Iowa, early to mid-April in central Iowa, and mid to late April in northern portions of the state.
Since potatoes are susceptible to several diseases, buy certified, disease-free potatoes at garden centers or mail-order nurseries. Gardeners can purchase seed pieces (tubers that have been cut into sections) or whole potatoes.
Small potato tubers may be planted whole. Large potatoes should be cut into sections or pieces. Each seed piece should have one or two “eyes” or buds and weigh approximately 1.5 to 2 ounces.
After cutting the tubers into sections, place the freshly cut seed pieces in a humid, 60 to 70 F location for one or two days. A short healing period allows the cut surfaces to callus or heal over before the seed pieces are planted. Healing of the cut surfaces helps prevent the rotting of seed pieces when planted. Plant seed pieces (cut side down) and small, whole potatoes 3 to 4 inches deep and 1 foot apart within the row. Rows should be spaced 2 1/2 to 3 feet apart.
So now it is up to you to see what version you like. We have seed potatoes here whenever your garden is ready to plant potatoes.
For the Irish in all of us...
May you always walk in sunshine,
May you never want for more,
May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.
Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa