Gardening lore calls for planting potatoes on Good Friday. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Gardening tradition calls for planting potatoes on Good Friday, but this year, at least in Iowa, that might not be a good idea.

With muddy grounds and temperatures still falling below freezing, this Friday, March 30, won’t be ideal for planting potatoes or much of anything else.

Iowa State University Extension advises gardeners to plant potatoes in late March or early April in southern Iowa; early to mid-April in central Iowa; and mid to late April in northern portions of the state. New potatoes are then generally ready to harvest by July.

In general, potato planting requires soil temperatures above 45 degrees Farenheit, and this map from ISU Extension, as of this week, shows no areas of Iowa are quite there.

Gardening lore that calls for potato planting on Good Friday is likely tied to moon phases.

The date of Easter changes every year, but is set as the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls on or after the vernal, or spring equinox.

Generally, that would set Good Friday during the waning of the moon, the time to plant below-ground crops.