It being past Easter, any of the old-timers you run into are bound to ask you, “Did you get your garden planted?”
They mean, of course, did you spend Good Friday planting all your summer vegetables? With only a few occasional exceptions, like potatoes going in earlier, or beans going in later, the normal practice around these parts was to plant your vegetables on Good Friday.
My Dad was not particularly superstitious—he laughed at an uncle who planted by the phase of the moon—but he never missed a Good Friday planting that I can recall.
“Anything you plant on Good Friday will come up in three days,” he would tell me as I helped him drop seeds into a new furrow.
“Really?” I would ask, gullible every year of my early childhood.
“Yes,” he would answer with a hint of humor in his face. “As long as it’s something that comes up in three days.”
Completing the ritual recitation of the ancient superstition, he would add, “And anything you plant on Rotten Saturday will rot in the ground and never grow.”
“Really?” I would repeat.
“No, the seeds won’t know the difference,” he would reply. That’s why he would have us working in the garden on both days while some of our neighbors would do other things on Saturday. I think he would have planted on Easter in some years if our garden had been shielded from the road and the view of fellow Baptists.
And, sure enough, as far as I can recall, the crops planted on Rotten Saturday did about the same as those planted on Good Friday.
This year has been one to test the old planting practices. Our winter was extremely mild, so much so that I was able to grow greens, onions, and garlic right through the cold months without fear of freezing. Yet our spring has had some very late frost, so that I had to scurry around covering cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers two weeks after our average last frost date.
Luckily, I waited to plant corn and beans until well after Easter, so they were not subject to the late freezes.
Well, I hope not. A week ago, I planted my first corn and beans. Our last (I hope) frost was Tuesday, just three days later. Fortunately, Good Friday was a couple of weeks ago, so the seeds did not sprout in those three days and thus were resting comfortably underground.
I hope that, as Dad used to say, they didn’t know the difference.