Planting Lucky Taters!

Does planting potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day really bring you good luck?

While many have religiously planted their crops based on this superstition, planting potatoes in March actually has less to do with luck and a lot more to do with the weather. If planted too early, seeds will freeze and not germinate. The sweet spot for planting crops is mid-March to late-April. While you may not win a million dollars or find a pot of gold, you will be rewarded with a high yield of good Irish potatoes.

Not only are potatoes and peas a staple in many traditional St. Patrick’s Day dishes such as colcannon and Shepherd’s Pie, they also happen to be perfect crops to plant in March.

Planting peas in cooler temperatures allows for slower growth which creates stronger vines and prevents peas from quickly turning to starch. Peas grow best in temperatures between 45 and 70 degrees. Prior to planting, allow seeds to germinate. After germination, seeds should be planted 8 to 12 inches apart in well-draining soil.

Adding a trellis or posts with netting will allow the plant’s tendrils to climb and spread out. This will ensure your plants get enough light and air. Peas can be harvested when the pods become plump. Don’t wait too long to harvest, though, as peas can become very starchy and lose some of their sweet flavor.

The best time of year to plant potatoes is between March 15th and 31st. One of our favorite potato varieties is the “Irish Cobbler” a.k.a. ‘Old Reliable’. As it’s nickname implies, you can expect a strong yield each year. An early variety, this potato has one of the shortest growing seasons and is ready to harvest well before common diseases hit other potato varieties.

Potatoes should be planted two weeks before the last spring frost. Prior to planting, cut your sprouted seedlings into hen egg-sized pieces and allow them to dry a bit. This will prevent your plants from rotting once they’re in soil. Plant seedlings in damp, well-draining soil about 12 inches deep and 24 inches apart.

Once your plant is about 8 inches high, create hills around your plant by gently moving soil up and around your plant (about 2-3 inches). This will encourage tuber development and result in a higher yield. Repeat this process two weeks later by adding an additional 1-2 inches of soil around your plant. Harvest your potatoes gently as each nick or bruise can decrease the storage time.

Visit our Pinterest page for delicious St. Patrick’s Day dishes!


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