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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Mar 29, 2013

Everyone who has an interest in farming is wondering what this year will bring, especially after last year.

We are still dry here in the western corn belt, while the eastern corn belt has received the rain it needed to return their water table to normal.

Next week is April and we are wondering what that month will bring.

I can already tell we are going to miss one planting date.

Today is Good Friday and not only is the ground not ready, it has a layer of snow on it and I am sure there is frost in the ground yet.

What is the big deal about Good Friday?

Well, my wife seems to think that potatoes are to be planted on Good Friday.

Why? Because somebody (I think it was her grandfather) told her that is the day.

Not only is the ground not ready, but we do not have our seed potatoes bought because we haven’t seen them in the store yet.

Everybody is either behind or not taking this Good Friday planting date seriously.

I really doubt if the potatoes know the difference.

About half the time we plant on or near Good Friday and the other half we do not.

The potatoes come up anyway. Although we have to admit planting them early has a lot of benefits such as we get to eat them earlier.

When we serve a meal to our company, be it friends or family, it is so much better with potatoes that have only been out of the ground for a short time, sometimes mere hours.

So while we will miss our Good Friday goal for planting, the crop is not lost nor is it even in danger.

The seed potatoes will get bought, cut up, and planted.

Last year’s potatoes were planted in our new garden at our new location on a piece of dirt that was especially black with a slight tilt for good drainage.

Because it stopped raining sometime in May, drainage was not a problem.

We ran a hose from the hydrant to the garden and the sprinkler ran frequently all summer long.

Of course, the results were worth it. Maybe more so, in a drought year.

It is amazing how $5 to $10 worth of seed potatoes can bring so much enjoyment.

All it takes is those seed potatoes, good black soil, and some water, preferably from the sky, but from below the ground if we have to, and from early July on, the only question we ask is “How do we enjoy our potatoes today?”

They can be baked, fried, mashed, or creamed into soup, salad, or just lying on the plate coated with butter next to a good piece of meat.

When they are baked, those potato skins I left on my plate as a child are my favorite part today.

So yes, we are going to plant our potatoes and my wife has some ideas from last year to improve things. It won’t be on Good Friday, but it will be as soon as we can.

Our next important potato date is Thanksgiving when by that day they have all been either eaten or given away to visitors for their enjoyment when they get home.

Then we wait for Good Friday.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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