I don’t know what it is about seeing peas coming up in the spring, but the little pea shoots just make me so happy! I love the curly little tendrils and I love seeing the shoots growing so quickly day by day. Everything else likes peas too, which is why my first tip I wanted to share about planting peas is to always plant extra! Our friends planted peas this spring. The mice ate them. They planted again. That has happened to Jeff so many times over the years. Mice, chipmunks, birds, people… we all love peas.
I like to write down on the calendar when we plant things. (Sometimes Jeff and B plant so much though, I can’t keep track of it all.) I wrote that on Sunday, March 13th our family planted peas together, in pots in the greenhouse. [The pictures above show B’s busy hands planting the peas. He’s been helping his dad plant peas since he was just a little thing. Recently I shared a post from 2015 about Jeff & B collecting seeds together. Well, I also just came across this post from 2013 about them planting peas together when B was three. He’s eleven now, and seeing those tiny hands (and watering can) just melted my mama heart. Jeff has definitely passed on his love of gardening to B.]
Besides planting peas in pots, we also planted peas in the ground. We hung remay cloth from the trellis to discourage the birds from digging up the ones we planted outside. The ground looked disturbed and we thought the birds got them, but luckily they didn’t. The remay did help protect them. The ones we planted in pots, though, got too hot in our greenhouse, and sadly those got cooked. (It was cold outside that day and we didn’t realize how hot the temps got in the greenhouse with the sunshine, and didn’t open it up for enough ventilation to cool things down.) We planted more. Always plant extra peas!
On April 6th we transplanted some pea starts from pots into the ground outside, and made some wood trellises for them to grow up. The first batch of peas we planted outside are growing along the cattle panel trellis. We always put a trellis up for our peas, but I’ve heard that if the pea variety you grow is supposed to get over three feet to put up a trellis or plant them along a fence they can grow up. There are snow peas, shelling peas, and snap peas. We love to grow snow peas, and use them in stir fries. We don’t eat peas raw so don’t bother growing varieties for that purpose. The variety we planted this year is the Mammoth Melting Sugar Snow Pea from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Another tip Jeff taught me about growing peas, is to soak your seeds overnight before planting them because it helps get them germinating more quickly. (Also, you may or may not want to use inoculant. Jeff tried it once, it depends on what bacteria your soil contains. Though we don’t typically use it ourselves, it’s worth mentioning, particularly if you are planting peas for a cover crop. This site shares three reasons why you might want to: “If legume seed being planted has not been sown in the grow space for 3-5 years and the soil may be lacking essential rhizobia. If sowing legumes in a field or grow space that has never been tilled or cultivated. If legumes have been successfully sown prior, but the crop and subsequent yields did not seem to have benefited much from the legume cover crop.“)
The other thing I wanted to mention is to plant your peas a little deeper than you would smaller seeds. A good rule of thumb Jeff taught me for seeds in general is to plant the seeds as deep in the soil as the size of the seed is! I have loved that tip so much over the years because it really makes things so much simpler, and it’s easy to remember. That rule works in most cases, but with things like squash seeds he likes to plant them a little deeper. Also, peas are one of the things that can be planted deeper as well. They usually say to plant peas 1/2″ – 1″ deep.
Plant peas early, they like the cool of spring rather than the heat of the summer. “Plant peas as soon as the ground can be worked” you often hear people say. We usually plant our peas in March where we live in western Oregon. In southern states of the U.S., it would be earlier. If you’re in a place where peas are best planted in March to mid April, there’s still time to plant your peas (and more time than that in cooler places.) I thought we’d share a few of these tips with you today in case you’re planting some in your garden this year. Soak your seeds, plant at least as deep as the peas are big (or deeper), give them something to grow up, and always plant extra peas!
Happy Spring Everybody and Happy Pea Planting!