IT is cold out there today. The wind sounded awful last night blowing they said up to 50 mph. Everything is fine this morning, but you always look around and see that it is. Temperature at 9:30 AM is at 14 degrees clear, sky. Cloudy sky with a high of 27 degrees and a low tonight of 7 degrees. I know you all were ready for spring, but it is still the middle of March here in IOWA. Stay warm, stay safe.
Planting Peas, which I learned this season you can plant Sow seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost date when the soil is cool, or when it is at the desired temperature: Peas planted in cold (40°F) soil will germinate slowly; peas planted in soil that is at least 60°FF (but not more than 85°F) will catch up.
Snow will not hurt emerging pea plants, but several days with temperatures in the teens might. Be prepared to plant again, if the first peas don’t make it. This I didn’t know. BUT the secret here is if the garden itself is ready to plant and not too wet. When do you put your peas in?
Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Peas by The Editors
The sweet taste of glorious garden-grown peas is nothing like what you find in grocery stores. They are nature’s candy off the vine! Peas are one of the season’s first crops, planted as soon as the ground can be worked, even if snow falls afterwards. See our tips on growing peas, from sowing to harvest!
Peas are very easy to grow but their growing period is very limited. It’s important to plant them early enough in spring so they mature while the weather is still cool. (This means planting in February, March, or April in most parts of the United States and Canada.) However, they can also be grown as a fall or winter crop in warmer regions.
Peas do not stay fresh long after harvest, so enjoy their taste as soon as you can! Those peas in grocery stores are often starchy in taste which you’ll find has no comparison to garden-fresh peas.
Three varieties of peas suit most garden and culinary needs:
Sweet peas, aka garden peas or English peas (Pisum sativum ssp. sativum), have inedible pods from which the seeds (peas) are taken.
Snow peas (P. sativum var. macrocarpon) produce edible, flat, stringless pods containing small peas.
Snap peas (P. sativum var. macrocarpon ser. cv.) produce thick, edible pods containing large/full-size peas.
Great planting companions for peas include: Chives, Mint, Alyssum, Carrot, Corn, Cucumber, Radish, Turnip and Beans. Learn more about Companion Planting.
Select a sunny location and well-draining soil. Although peas can grow in part shade, they won’t be as sweet or productive as those grown in full sun. Prepare the soil, preferable in the fall, mixing in aged manure and/or compost, and much well. Peas like well-draining soil.
When to Plant Peas
Sow seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost date when the soil is cool, or when it is at the desired temperature: Peas planted in cold (40°F) soil will germinate slowly; peas planted in soil that is at least 60°FF (but not more than 85°F) will catch up.
Snow will not hurt emerging pea plants, but several days with temperatures in the teens might. Be prepared to plant again, if the first peas don’t make it. Alternatively, try starting your peas in a cold frame.
A second round of peas can be planted in the late summer or early fall, approximately 6 to 8 weeks before your first fall frost date.
Here are some more tips on when to start planting peas.
How to Plant Peas
Peas are best direct-seeded right in the ground and do not like their roots disturbed. But transplanting is possible, if you start seeds in biodegradable pots; you’ll transplant the pot and all into the garden and the pot will disintegrate.
Where spring is long and wet, plant seeds in raised garden beds.
To speed germination, soak seeds in water overnight before planting.
Sow seeds 1 inch deep (slightly deeper if soil is dry) and about 2 inches apart. Do not thin.
Plant rows 7 inches apart.
In terms of crop rotation, do not plant peas in the same place more than once every 4 years.
Pea roots, like those of other legumes, fix nitrogen in the soil, making it available for other plants.
In terms of fertilizer, peas need phosphorus and potassium, but excess nitrogen will encourage foliage growth instead of flowers or pods. Learn more about soil amendments.
Bush peas can reach 18 to 30 inches tall. Pole types can grow at least 4 to 6 feet tall. Both types benefit from support (especially bush peas above 2 feet and all pole peas). Install thin tree branches or twiggy sticks (pea sticks), trellises, chicken wire, strings, or netting before plants establish their shallow roots. See instructions on how to build trellises and supports for peas.
Water to keep the soil moist. If seeds wash out of the soil, poke them back into it.
Water peas sparsely with no more than 1 inch per week, unless plants are wilting. We don’t want to encourage pea rot. But also do not let the plants dry out. If this happens, no pods will be produced.
Gently remove intrusive weeds by hand. If necessary, hoe or cultivate, but do so very carefully to avoid disturbing peas’ shallow, fragile roots.
Pea leaves turn yellow for several reasons. Often, this is due to the stress of hot weather. Provide partial shade (e.g., row covers) during the hottest time of day and water properly.
Fertilizing plants is not usually required if the plants are mulched deeply with grass clippings, shredded leaves, or another biodegradable material.
How do you know when peas are ready to be picked?
Most varieties of peas are ready to harvest 60 to 70 days after planting. Peas mature quickly, so check daily once you see the flowers in bloom.
Pick snow peas when the delicate pods begin to show immature seeds inside.
Gather snap peas when the pods become plump, yet are still glossy and filled with sweet-tasting peas.
Pick shell peas before the pods become waxy.
How to Harvest Peas
Harvest peas in the morning after the dew has dried. They are crispiest then.
Harvest regularly to encourage more pods to develop.
Use two hands when you pick peas to avoid damaging the plant. Hold the vine with one hand and pull pods off with the other.
Peas are at the peak of flavor immediately after harvest.
Pea pods that have hardened or turned a dull color are over mature. Mature plants usually stop producing and die back in hot summer weather.
If you missed your peas’ peak period, you can still pick, dry, and shell them for use in winter soups.
How to Store Peas
Store peas in the refrigerator for about 5 days: Place in paper bags, then wrap in plastic.
Or, freeze peas: Shell sweet peas, blanch, immerse in cold water, drain, and pack in sealed containers.
De-string/trim snow or snap peas and prepare as above.
WIT AND WISDOM
If a girl finds nine peas in a pod, the next bachelor she meets will become her husband.
According to folklore, St. Patrick’s Day is the traditional day for planting peas (in many regions).
Legend has it that the phrase “green thumb” originated during the reign of King Edward I of England, who was fond of green peas and kept six serfs shelling them during the season. The serf who had the greenest thumb won a prize!
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/plant/peas till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365