Peas and Potatoes by St. Patrick’s Day…

Last year, we had a series of 80 degree days in March. This year, we’ve had snow, sleet, freezing rain, regular rain, and mud. It’s freaking cold, and it’s also depressingly grey.

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, and I did not get the peas or potatoes in. Why? Three reasons:

1. I spent most of the weekend talking about gardening at the Indiana Flower and Patio Show and the Indy Winter Farmers Market.

2. I just took down my rye cover crop last week. Rye can inhibit germination of newly planted seeds, so I’m giving it another week before I plant in beds that had the rye.

3. The soil’s still a bit too cold. For peas and potatoes, the soil temperature should be at least 40 degrees; 45 degrees is better. Mine’s still just a bit colder than that.

What do you mean, how do I know? I stuck a meat thermometer in the dirt. Don’t judge me; I washed it off after.

I’ll get these Irish-y crops in the ground next weekend, provided we don’t have yet another March snowstorm.

In the meantime, enjoy this completely unrelated picture of pansies filling the back of the truck last year:

Picking up pansies at the nursery last spring.
Picking up pansies at the nursery last spring.
Fraudulent Farmgirl
I teach garden and homesteading skills—the stuff your great-grandmother knew how to do. But if there's a faster, cheaper, or easier way to do it, I'll find it!By day, I design earth-friendly gardens for Spotts Garden Service. By night, I don my Wellies to become the Fraudulent Farmgirl. On my small urban homestead, I've ripped out the front lawn to plant vegetables and fruit trees, turned the garage into a chicken coop and grown enough strawberries to feed half the neighborhood.


  1. Good to know about the ground temperature. I found a half bag of potatoes sprouting eyes in the pantry and was so eager for garden season, I planted them all. I have actual seed potatoes coming in a couple weeks, and know that it’s early for plantings, but I think after last year’s ghoulishly warm March, I felt like I’m late with everything. Likely, I’ll be digging up rotten potatoes in a month or so and putting something real in their space, but it did scratch an itch. 🙂

    1. Cindy, I also feel like i’m way behind, mostly because last year’s freakishly warm spring skewed my normal calendar. My normal to-do lists indicates I’m about a week to two weeks behind where I’d normally be this time of year. But man, I’m ready for spring already!

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