I may have started some seeds indoors a couple of weeks ago, but the true impetus of the gardening season, in my opinion, is when you get your peas into the actual earth.
So, with the sun unexpectedly shining on us yesterday, we got down to business and did just that.
I’ve been planting out peas at the end of February for about 10 years now, ever since I first heard that old saying (“peas in by President’s Day” or some such thing), and even though it seems wrong, too early and too cold, it’s actually always worked for me. That said, I warmed the soil by laying black plastic over it for a few weeks beforehand and I do live in the temperate Pacific Northwest. If I lived somewhere much colder or snowier, I would probably wait for it to get a little warmer before I put those seeds in the dirt.
I planted them in tidy beds oriented from north to south, and Iris helped me place each fingernail sized seed. We counted as we went and all told we got about 250 peas planted.
The first four rows are Lincoln (Homesteader) peas, just like last year. They produced so well and tasted so good that I had to grow them again. I’m giving them more space this year though, increasing their air circulation and sun exposure, to see if I can squeeze even more production out of them. I’ll plant the middle fifth row with lettuce and flowers of some kind, probably calendula, and then the remaining rows are Alderman (Tall Telephone) shelling peas.
Hopefully this will be enough to keep us in frozen peas next winter!
The next step will be to set up trellising along each row. We used bamboo and old gillnet last year, but I want something much sturdier and reusable. I think we’ll use metal t-posts and some kind of woven wire. It may not look as quaint, but it will sure stand up to the elements and the weight of the peas better! I may also shroud these rows with quilted covers if the weather turns very bad on me, as March is wont to do. I’ve had to do that before when faced with a surprise snowfall, but I do think peas grow better and taste sweeter when planted earlier, and row cover is simple to put out.
Elsewhere in the garden I’m also planning on growing Super Sugar snap peas and Green Arrow shelling peas, but I haven’t gotten to them yet. All in good time. This is, after all, just the very exciting beginning.