Eating fresh from the garden peas is an organic gardeners dream come true. Here are a few tips on how to plant, grow and harvest peas successfully. Happy gardening!
To get a great head start in the early spring, do chores the previous fall. This includes turning over your pea planting beds, adding manure to the soil, and mulching well.
Make sure that you have well-drained soil. Pea roots will fix nitrogen in the soil, making it available for other plants. This is especially important if you plan on growing nitrogen depleting crops like sweet corn.
Peas will do very well when a sprinkling of wood ashes is added to the soil before planting. Peas don’t need heavy doses of fertilizer, however they do like phosphorus and potassium.
Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost, when soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F. if any seeds wash out, be sure poke them back in in any seeds that wash out.A chopstick works perfectly for this.
Plant pea seeds 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart. For tall and vine varieties, establish poles or a trellis at time of planting.
A late spring light blanket of snow won’t hurt newly germinated pea plants, but several days with temperatures in the teens could.
Peas are best grown in temperatures below 70 degrees F. This means an early planting followed by replanting during cooler autumn temperatures can give you a second harvest. Be sure the peas have enough time to germinate, flower and set pea pods before the killing frost.
Do not let plants dry out, or no pods will be produced. Remember to keep your peas well picked to encourage more pods to develop. Be sure to pick peas in the morning after the dew has dried.
Always use two hands when you pick peas. Secure the vine with one hand and pull the peas off with your other hand. Peas can be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for about 5 daysbut are best when eaten as soon as possible.
For more information on growing fresh vegetables, please see the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service at http://www.attra.org