The vegetable growing season is upon us

Gregg Eyestone

By A Contributor

St. Patrick’s Day is the unofficial start to the vegetable gardening season. Peas really kick off the planting season when the soil temperature averages above 40 degrees. That commonly occurs prior to St. Patrick’s Day. Plant your peas an inch deep.

Potatoes can be planted around March 17 each year. On average, the soil temperature is 50 degrees at that time. That is the temperature that triggers growth in the seed potato. The potato is covered by 1 to 2 inches of soil or mulch. Mounding continues during the growing period to shade the developing potatoes.

Asparagus is a perennial vegetable crop that is best established in March to mid-April. This crop is planted in a trench with the top 6 inches below ground level. Initially, the crown is covered with 1 to 2 inches of soil. As the stems grow, they are covered to fill in the trench by summer.

Rhubarb is the other perennial crop. Along with asparagus, it is planted where they can grow without soil disturbance. I’ve had a challenge keeping mine to survive. Plant them on raised beds with good soil drainage and only slightly cover the bud.

If you are interested in more instruction, I’m conducting a vegetable garden class on Thursday, March 29. It is at 7 p.m. in Pottorf Hall at CiCo Park. We will be making seed tape along with discussing vegetable growing.

The Manhattan Community Gardens has expanded and has plots available. If you don’t have room or mostly shade, this is a great opportunity to garden. You can call 785-539-8763 or write to for additional information.

My best vegetable gardening friend is the “Kansas Garden Guide.” We have them at the office for $5 or you can download this 76 page publication from

I have noticed a few lawns that have been mowed. That must mean it is time for the Youth Lawn Mowing Clinic. Register youth in fourth to sixth grade by calling the office at 785-537-6350, for the March 13 program beginning at 4:30 to 7 p.m. in Pottorf Hall. We will instruct the youth on how to mow, stay safe and earn some money.

If you would like additional information on a horticulture topic, please contact Gregg Eyestone at the Riley County office of K-State Research and Extension. Gregg may be contacted by calling 537-6350 or stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail: and at

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