Gardening on Good Friday

My Pawpaw was a firm believer in getting the garden planted on Good Friday, come hell or high water. We absolutely had to get those seeds and seedlings in the ground. The implication was that our garden would be an utter failure if we planted late.

Picture Credit: Van Gogh via

My “research” taught me that planting on Good Friday may have its origins in Ireland. Back in the 1600s potatoes were introduced to Europe. The Protestants in UK and Ireland thought it might be evil because they aren’t mentioned in the Bible. It strikes me as funny that despite their suspicions they planted them anyway. The Catholics didn’t really mind that part. They decided to plant them on Good Friday after sprinkling the garden with holy water! That helped to “redeem” the spuds and make them fit to eat because they’d been baptised. No fools, those Irish!

Here in the southern US all danger of frost is generally past by Holy Week and it’s safe to plant pretty much anything we fancy. The Good Friday gardening may come from the symbolism representing the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. In the days before that the season was celebrated by many cultures as a symbol of fertility and rebirth. So, there we have it.

Picture credit:

Now, if you go further south into Louisiana, you’ll find that the Creole culture held that working the garden on Good Friday was a bad thing. They believed that if you opened the ground on Good Friday that Jesus’ blood would flow into the tilled soil. That doesn’t sound delicious, does it?

Here at our house in central Alabama I’ll use just a soupcon of caution. I’ll get the beans and peas in on Good Friday, I reckon but I’ll wait a couple weeks until the ground is a tad warmer to get my tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and such in the ground. I do believe I’ll have a much more successful garden that way.

How do you garden? Do you try to get everything in the ground before the end of Holy Week, or on Good Friday itself? Or, do you rely on meteorological data to get your vegetables on the way?

Whatever your gardening plans are, Good Friday is still a bit far away. What you need is a good book to read. Click on either of these Amazon links and find your copy of New Yesterdays. You’ll thank me later! And, here’s a special offer that ought to be nearly irresistible. If you’d like a signed copy just email me ( and we’ll work out the details. I’ll send it to you, postage and shipping free! Now, who can resist that offer?

Picture credit: Jim L Wright


About Ol' Big Jim

Ol' Big Jim, has been a storekeeper, an embalmer, a hospital orderly, a medical biller, and through it all, a teller of tall tales. Many of his stories, like his first book, New Yesterdays, are set in his hometown of Piedmont, Alabama. For seven years, he lived in the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Amman, Jordan where he spends his time trying to visit each one of the thousands of Ammani coffee shops and scribbling in his ever-present notebook. These days, you can find him back stateside, still filling notebooks.
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1 Response to Gardening on Good Friday

  1. I had a ten-acre farm when I lived in Indiana in the 70s. We always planted by the Farmer’s almanac. Never had a problem. Can’t remember now what it said about Good Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

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