Our mild winter has taunted northern Nevada gardeners for weeks, tempting us to work in the garden before we should. But Saint Patrick’s Day is here, and the long wait is over. It is time to plant cool season crops.
Great Basin tradition holds that gardeners should plant peas on Saint Patrick’s Day. The patron saint of Ireland used shamrocks to illustrate parables and grew a living tree from his walking stick, but the yearly ritual of planting peas on March 17 is not based on the cultural and spiritual history of the holiday. Instead, the link between Saint Patrick’s Day and peas is a simple one.
Peas should be planted when soil temperatures reach 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and they thrive in temperatures less than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Peas planted in proper soils during cool temperatures have a sweeter flavor than those planted in warm temperatures. In Nevada, these conditions are met in mid-March; a fact easier to remember when linked with Saint Patrick’s Day.
Reno offers many ways to celebrate the holiday, but if you choose to spend March 17 planting peas or other cool season crops, follow these tips:
Andrews, A., 2015, Peas for St. Patrick’s Day and Other Cool-Season Gardening Tips, Reno Gazette-Journal
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