What about the old wives tale about planting your garden in conjunction with Good Friday, which happens to fall on March 29 this year? No one is really sure how that tale originated, but it doesn’t hold up to the fact-o-meter.
You don’t have to be a horticulturalist to understand the fallacy of that tale since Good Friday doesn’t come on the same date every year. It fluctuates from one year to the next, varying by four or five weeks.
Keith Mickler, University of Georgia Extension Service director for Floyd County, said this year you could possibly get by planting on Easter weekend.
“If you can get an idea of when the last frost is each year, that’s a much better gauge,” Mickler said.
And many years, that last frost has come during the second week of April.
When most people start their backyard garden for spring crops they’re going to start with their tomatoes, Mickler said. Unfortunately, a hard frost can quickly kills a tomato plant and they don’t grow well when nighttime temperatures are below 50 degrees.
“Green beans can go in now, it takes them a little while to get up and going,” Mickler said “Okra likes a real warm soil and usually corn goes in around late May to June, squash around the same time.”
Broccoli, cauliflower, collards, turnips and onions can stand cold weather and are already growing in many gardens, according to Mickler.
In this part of the world, a frequent concern for backyard gardeners is protecting your veggies from the deer. “People have tried multi-strand wire at two feet, three feet, five feet and on up,” Mickler said. “You have to make sure any repellants can be used for vegetable gardens, sunlight, rain, they go away and have to be used again.” Mickler said that garlic could be effective.
The heavy clay-based soil that is so prevalent in the Rome area can be a challenge. Mickler said that blending in some organic or composted material could be very beneficial.
Composted leaves are a good source of compost but “if you can look at them and say those are still leaves they haven’t been composted enough,” Mickler said.