Let’s face it. Some old wives’ tales are something to roll your eyes at. If you cross your eyes, they’ll get stuck that way. Or the numerous omens of death, like a bird or moth or bat in the house. Then the infamous step on a crack and break your mother’s back.
Those old wives might have known a thing or two when it came to gardening. Years of experience provided them with countless tips and tricks for ease, efficiency, and success. After all, their livelihoods depended on the prosperity of their gardens. Their advice often was based around planning for holidays, such as the Fourth of July.
Plant so you’ll have peas for the Fourth. Peas are a cool weather crop. Depending on the days to maturity of the variety, if you have harvestable peas by late June you would have sown them in late April. This is a time when the soil is cool in many areas. Especially here in Maine, where some years we still receive snow in late April. Planting your peas when the soil is warm will result in lower yields.
Your corn should be knee high by the Fourth. Of course, there’s a reason they’re called old wives’ tales. Even if there was once some truth in them, it might now be dated to think that your corn will only be knee high. Treated seed and cold-tolerant varieties allow for earlier plantings, especially in ideal conditions
Whether or not you put any stock in them, these tales represent something that is important on any farm: the sharing of knowledge from one generation to the next.