Remembering Planting Day on Good Friday

Saturday, April 15, 2006 - by Harmon Jolley
Where is Eb when you need him?  Click to enlarge.
Where is Eb when you need him? Click to enlarge.

As of this writing, I’ve been busy with spring planting in our garden. Like Lisa Douglas used to say on the TV show, “Green Acres,” the seeds are now in the rich brown earth, and will be “shoosting” up to the sun and the sky. Carrying on what is a definitely a southern tradition, I took off from work on Good Friday in order to plant our garden.

Concerning Good Friday as a day to plant a garden, Roots Web (www.rootsweb.com) says, “Certain lore ruled the weather and the planting and harvesting of gardens and crops. Most all our forefathers planted by the signs of the Zodiac and by certain Saint's days. Potatoes were planted on St. Patrick's Day and all other vegetables for an early healthy crop should be planted on Good Friday. The idea was that as Christ was buried on Friday and came forth from the grave on Sunday, so would these garden plants.”

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org) mentioned that the traditional planting day can also be traced to the parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-15). The good seed was seen as a metaphor for the burial of Jesus on Good Friday, since the seed had to be buried in order to produce fruit.

The planting day on Good Friday and gardening in general are part of our family’s tradition. My grandparents on both sides of the family had gardens, though out of necessity more than pleasure. A garden was a way to keep a large family fed during the Depression. My mother’s family had a large garden on their farm near Jasper, TN while my father’s family sowed a smaller plot behind their home in St. Elmo. The experiences were similar in my wife’s family.

My parents lived in the city for many years before moving to Middle Valley. There, they were able to get back to their roots by having a garden. My mother said that one of the biggest grins she ever saw on my father’s face was when he dug his first sweet potato. He also kept the office staff at Combustion Engineering supplied with fresh produce for several years.

There are many benefits of having a home garden. Working in the garden provides good exercise, and gives families an opportunity to be together. You can have fresh fruits and vegetables all summer, and save some for the off-season by canning or freezing. If you have a bumper crop, there are now opportunities at places like the Chattanooga Market to sell your produce.

We grow a variety of items in our garden, but the one that generates the most questions and comments is popcorn. Many folks seem to think that popcorn is something made in a factory, not grown as a crop. Some do not realize that it is suitable for a home garden. . When our daughter shared some home-grown popcorn with other dorm students at her college, one of the students asked, “Are you Amish?” Once you’ve had fresh Tennessee popcorn, you never want to go back to the microwaved variety.

If you have memories of planting a garden on Good Friday, please send me an e-mail at jolleyh@bellsouth.net.

Ready for the pantry.  Click to enlarge.
Ready for the pantry. Click to enlarge.

Mountain City Milling Advertised The Health Benefits Of Graham Flour

“Exercise regularly.    Cut back on sugar and salt.   Get adequate sleep.   Eat more fiber.”   Those may all have been instructions from your physician at your last physical.   However, the belief that a healthy lifestyle is good for you goes back much farther in history.   John Harvey Kellogg, M.D. (1852-1943) promoted diet and exercise ... (click for more)

Chester Martin Remembers The Clarence T. Jones Observatory

A true example of American   - and Chattanooga - ingenuity, it was Clarence T. Jones's childhood dream to build a telescope of worthy size and importance. As a professional architect he was able to connect with all the necessary local sources to produce the handsome instrument shown here. Working with the new Barnard Astronomical Society, the telescope with all its component ... (click for more)

County Schools Prepare To Set Priorities For Next Round Of School Building Funding

County school board members are gearing up to set priorities for the next round of new school construction in Hamilton County. Lee McDade, assistant superintendent, said officials may know by the spring how much money will be available to build new schools or add on to existing ones - or do a combination of both. Board member Rhonda Thurman said a proposal to build a new Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Walker County Will No Longer Have Full-Time County Attorney Under Whitfield Tenure; Will Add Full-Time Communications Director

Incoming Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said under his administration there will no longer be a full-time county attorney. "We will outsource this service on a fee basis," he said. Mr. Whitfield said he has begun interviewing attorneys who might be able to help out the county from time to time. Don Oliver has long been the county attorney for Walker County ... (click for more)

Vehicle Emissions Testing Causes More Pollution Than It Prevents - And Response

While a noble cause to make sure vehicles are operating efficiently with the minimum amount of pollutants, a simple analysis makes it somewhat evident the VET program in Chattanooga causes more pollution that it prevents.  Though I don't know how many vehicles are tested on an annual basis, if you assume an average round trip of 10 miles to the nearest testing station (five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Cost Of No Discipline

At the start of the current school year, state education officials gathered at some “state testing task force” when disciplinary records from across Tennessee happened to be revealed. You probably are unaware of this, as it seems to have been kept on the “down low,” but statewide a full 20 percent of the black males in our public schools were suspended at least once during the 2014-2015 ... (click for more)