April 24, 2013
The Peas Have Finally Been Planted!
I keep mentioning what a cold spring it's been. It was so cold, in fact, that back in mid-March, when it was officially time to plant the peas, the ground was still frozen. We're nearing the end of April and it still feels like mid-March, but the peas have finally been planted. Peas thrive in cool temperatures and they really should be planted as early as possible in the spring so that they'll grow and produce a full harvest before hot summer weather arrives, which puts an abrupt end to production. A variety of peas was planted along the fence in the new vegetable garden.
1 Peas are divided into two categories: shelling peas and edible pods, like snap peas and snow peas. To speed up germination, Ryan soaked the peas in lukewarm water overnight.
2 Ryan started the pea planting process by smoothing out the garden edge along the fence using a hard garden rake.
3 These peas were soaked and drained.
4 Like other members of the legume family, peas have a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobia bacteria that colonize the roots of the plants and help them fix nitrogen in the soil.
5 After soaking and draining the peas, it's a good idea to inoculate the seeds to ensure that the proper type of Rhizobium for the legume you are planting is present in your soil.
6 Sprinkle the inoculant over the peas just before planting.
7 Toss to coat - The inoculant will boost the pea plants and produce higher yields.
8 Sugar Sprint is a snap pea and Sienna is a shelling variety.
9 Ryan plants the peas against the fence.
10 All peas, even the dwarf varieties, grow best with support. Peas are more productive and less susceptible to diseases when given some support, like a fence or trellis.
11 Ryan demonstrated planting using a pointed wooden dibber.
12 Dibbers can be traced back to the early Romans and this clever tool design has remained basically the same ever since.
13 An inoculated pea is dropped into each hole.
14 Peas grown close together shade out weeds, keep the soil cool, and increase yields.
15 And planting like this makes for the most efficient use of garden space.
16 The peas are covered over with about an inch of soil.
17 Water and don't fertilize too much. As light feeders, too much nitrogen will make the plants develop lush foliage at the expense of pod production. Do not thin the plants as they germinate.
18 Don't forget the label.
19 Ryan plants each section of fence with a different pea variety.
20 However, he plants the shelling peas in a different section away from the edible pods to avoid any confusion.
21 After planting, water deeply once a week, but never allow the soil to dry out totally. This stresses the plants and drastically reduces pea production.
22 To determine when to pick shelling peas, examine the pods. If they feel round and have a nice bright green sheen, they're ready.
23 For snap peas, you can pick at any time, but they're tastiest when the pods still have some play around the peas when you squeeze the pods. Pick snow peas before the peas start to enlarge in the pods.
24 An alternate method of planting is to use a garden hoe.
25 Dig a narrow furrow against your support.
26 Drop the peas in the furrow.
27 And smooth soil back over the peas.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE SEED SOURCES
Johnny's Selected Seeds
The Home Depot
John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds
Seed Savers Exchange
Kitazawa Seed Company