Peas

– Posted in: Garden chores, Seeds and Seed Starting, Vegetables
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Peas in a pod, in the pea patch

Peas ready for harvest

What have people heard about soaking peas the night before planting? Dad always did, and I had assumed it was necessary for germination. However, I recently read that pre-soaking peas supposedly causes “legume seeds to absorb water too quickly, split their outer coatings and spill out essential nutrients, which encourages damping off seed rot.” (The Organic Gardener’s Home Reference, by Tanya Denckla. Too much info, and some of it seems irrelevant. I honestly couldn’t care less about how long pea roots are!) Has anyone else heard, or experienced, this? Or should I just follow my instincts and keep pre-soaking peas?

I actually don’t have that much garden knowledge myself–when I have a question, I tend to ask one of the much more advanced gardeners around me. Sometimes this gets me into trouble. This year was the first year I’ve really done so much gardening, including putting together the order for the vegetable garden. I neglected to order inoculant for the peas, and then later found out that inoculating peas can increase their yield 50 to 100 per cent! Wow! Almost doubling your yield for a few dollars sounds like a good deal to me.

So this past Monday and Tuesday, Evan and I planted 2 pounds of peas (Dakota, from Johnny’s). I did pre-soak them, and I also had Teman pick up some inoculant for me. I couldn’t bear to plant almost 5000 seeds while knowing that they wouldn’t be performing as well as they could. That leads me to my second question: When you plant peas, do you carefully space them out, or do you just hoe a quick row and toss them in? I planted them the way Teman and I always had, hoeing a three inch wide furrow and planting two rows of peas. We spaced the peas about an inch apart, and the rows 18 inches. Rundy just could not believe we were planting every seed by hand. (Taller varieties of peas need trellises. However, with close spacing, shorter varieties can support themselves as long as you plant them close together.)

But peas, at least, is one area where I know more than Mom! When she saw I had gotten “shelling peas,” she was afraid that the peas where meant for drying and splitting. No, “shelling peas” just means that the pods aren’t tender enough for eating, and therefore must be shelled before they’re eaten.

About the Author

Talitha spent the last few years doing an absurd combination of work and school, and found it wasn’t very pleasant. Now she’s doing work, school and a garden, and life is a little better! She also enjoys photography and hand feeding her ducks. USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 AHS Heat Zone: 3 Location: rural; Southern Tier of NY Geographic type: foothills of Appalachian Mountains Soil Type: acid clay Experience level: advanced beginner Particular interests: herbs, vegetables, cutting garden, cottage gardening

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before.

~Mitchell Burgess in Northern Exposure

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