Planting Peas

Peas are a great cool-season crop to get into the ground as soon as you can work the soil in the early spring.  Even young plants can tolerate a little frost.  Because they need trellising, peas can be a bit of a bother to grow, but the pay off is well worth it.  Whether you’re eating them right out of the garden or adding them to salads or a stir-fry, nothing tastes better than fresh peas.

Another fabulous thing about peas is that peas are actually good for your soil.  Peas are a nitrogen fixing plant.  This means that peas have little nodes on their roots that area are able to take nitrogen out of the air (and not so much from your soil) to use for food.  To give the pea roots a little nitrogen-fixing boost, we coat our pea seeds with a powdery inoculant.  The inoculant contains bacteria that will help the roots of the pea plants convert nitrogen to food.  Since this is the first time we’ve planted peas in this bed, we especially want to introduce the inoculant’s bacteria to the soil.

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I sprayed the pea seeds with a little water then sprinkled the powdered inoculant over the seeds in the ratio recommended on the inoculant’s packaging.  The inoculant looks like I sprinkled black pepper on my peas.  I put these seeds into a plastic bag and took them right to the garden to plant.

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We are planting two rows of peas 10″ apart.  Peas are a larger seed and need to be planted about 3/4″ deep and 1-2″ apart.  Both of the rows I’m planting will share the same trellis.  If we wanted to plant more peas, we would make our next set of rows 2′ away.

We will keep the soil moist but not wet so our pea seeds can germinate and pop up out of the ground easily.  Once the plants are up out of the ground a good weekly watering may be sufficient depending on how much it rains during the growing season.

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