Peas are in the ground

Last week was full of family activities, so I had to work hard to squeeze in a little work in the garden.

I did manage to get my spinach, lettuce, kale, and broccoli seedlings planted. It snowed and dipped down to 24 degrees two nights later. I thought I had lost them, but later in the day  after the snow melted I looked at them again and they seemed to be fine.

I keep taking this warm weather for granted. I haven’t been good at watching the expected overnight temps at all. Luckily I haven’t been too aggressive in my planting outside yet.

My peas are in the ground, finally. It took me a while to decide where I would put them. I probably could have gotten them planted 3 weeks ago and they would have been a couple inches high by now. I’m afraid that its going to be really warm really early this summer and the pea season will be very short.

I am trying a few peas out along the northern side of our property, where there is a chain link fence. I already talked to my pea-loving neighbor, and she is excited to be able to pick and eat whatever grows on her side. Its often said good fences make good neighbors, but fences covered in peas make very good neighbors.

The pea varieties I’m growing this year are:

  • Oregon Sugar Pod (snow)
  • Sugar Daddy (snap)
  • Early Frosty (shelling)
  • Dakota (shelling)
  • Sugar Sprint (snap)

I always make sure to do one little row right by my back patio, so that when we have summer dinners on the back porch we can grab a few pods to munch on without leaving our seats.

I like to have some in the front yard and some in the backyard, so they are always easy to get to. Fresh peas are so tasty and so easy to pick and eat off the vine, they make a very good “social” vegetable. We chat with friends and neighbors in our yard while munching on a few pods in the early summer evenings. Kids seem to enjoy shelling peas, too. My son is way more likely to eat peas when he can open the pod himself. I think its like opening a little treasure chest.

Normally when I plant peas, I do two rows, one on each side of the trellis, and I loosely plant the peas about every inch or so. This year I tried a staggered formation. I dug a small flat trench as wide as my hoe, then I placed the peas in three staggered rows like this:

(The peas are the little pink dots you see above. They are pink because of the coating put on by the seed supplier to keep fungus at bay.)

I don’t know if this will make any difference at all in yield, but I felt like trying something new.

I didn’t worry that the soil wasn’t richly amended in some of the spots where I put my peas. Peas don’t seem to be super demanding on soil. They will also leave behind valuable nitrogen on their roots for the next plants that get planted there.

Hopefully we will be eating peas sometime in June. It seems like they usually peak right around the 4th of July here.

Have you planted your peas yet? When do you usually get to eat your first peas of the season?

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