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Proctor's Garden: St. Patrick's Day greenlights Colorado gardening season

Now is the traditional time to plant peas and potatoes.

DENVER — St. Patrick's Day is the traditional time to plant peas and potatoes.

It doesn't have to be done exactly on that day, it's just the beginning of the time frame to do so.

Cool season vegetables have to be planted during cool weather. If you wait, they won't develop properly. Snow or cold weather can't dissuade you. These plants can cope.

Peas

Peas that are planted too late will burn up in the summer heat. They'll withstand below-freezing temperatures although you may want to cover them.

The safest way to grow them is in pots that can be brought indoors if necessary. After soaking them in water overnight, plant the peas an inch deep and two inches apart. Provide a trellis for the tendrils to cling to.

The dwarf sugar snap peas are your best bet. They can be grown in pots or in the ground and most varieties grow to two feet or less. Taller varieties rarely reach their full growth before summer heat ruins them.

Credit: New Africa - stock.adobe.com

Potatoes

Potatoes are grown from "seed" potatoes but they're not seeds. They're potatoes that have been stored over winter.

You'll need a trench at least ten inches deep or a deep pot. Cut the potatoes into pieces with each piece having an "eye." That's the point where the new growth starts. Cover the pieces with about two inches of soil. As the plants grow, gradually fill in the trench with soil. Potatoes will form along the underground stems.

Other cool-season crops that can be planted within the next two to three weeks include onions, carrots, radish, kale, lettuce, spinach and cabbage. Consider covering them if it drops below 25 degrees. In general, however, they will shake off the cold.

You've got the green light to plant!

More Proctor's Garden:

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