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Good Friday might not be good for planting

Posted: March 24, 2013 - 12:10am
Ace Hardware employee Jacob Lewallen waters the plants in front of the Evans store. Tradition says that gardens planted on Good Friday will thrive.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Ace Hardware employee Jacob Lewallen waters the plants in front of the Evans store. Tradition says that gardens planted on Good Friday will thrive.

Many people will spend Friday planting their gardens because of a long-held belief that planting on Good Friday will bring about a successful yield. Others are skeptical about planting on Good Friday and wait a week or two longer.

The tradition of planting on Good Friday has its roots in theology and philosophy.

“Good Friday is the day Jesus gave his life on the cross,” writes Arty Schronce of the Georgia Department of Agriculture. “Christians believe his shed blood brings salvation and eternal life. Consequently, Good Friday is considered to be a good day for the nurturing, life-giving activities of planting and sowing.”

Harlem gardener Tom Blalock notes that Good Friday varies by up to 34 days, depending on the year. For that reason, he doesn’t plant his garden on Good Friday.

“The average last killing frost is March 25, so I don’t plant sometimes until afterwards,” he said.

Blalock said he’ll follow the Old Farmer’s Almanac guidelines and plant tubers such as potatoes in the dark nights of the moon and the rest on the full moon.

“It should be as unreliable as anything else,” he joked.

Richmond County Extension Agent Sid Mullis said that a late frost is bound to come after Good Friday because of the date’s early arrival this year.

“Sometimes one is taking a chance for a late frost when Good Friday comes early like this year,” he said. “I normally recommend two weeks after that.”

Mullis notes that our area has experienced frost many times during Masters Week.

“In 2007, it got down to 26 degrees on Masters/Easter Sunday,” he said. “I always plant a weekend or two after Masters because I rent my house and I don’t want to worry about having young transplants or seed watered that week.”

For some, planting the Saturday after Good Friday is a no-no.

“A less-commonly held belief is that of not planting on the Saturday after Good Friday,” writes Schronce. “It is sometimes called Rotten Saturday, and the tradition is that seeds, tubers and other things planted that day will rot in the ground because that is the day Christ’s body was rotting in the grave prior to his resurrection.

“Some gardeners have said they like to plant something on Good Friday even if the weather is not advantageous, because observing the old ways connects them with their parents and grandparents,” he added.

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