Peas are a crop that thrive in cooler climates. While they are generally quite fuss-free and simple to grow, they do have a short growing cycle. Once they are harvested, you only have a short period of time to cook and eat them. Despite this, it is great to grow peas in your own garden and to have access to a fresh batch. Here are some tips for a great harvest:
Planting the Pea Plants
The best time to plant peas is about a month or a month and a half before the final frost of the spring. You should ideally plant the seeds in soil that is around 45°F. While the peas don’t do well in continuously cold temperatures, they don’t function well in high temperatures either. Try to plant the peas when the temperature is well below 70°F.
The soil that you plant the peas in should be cool but not clogged with water. You will need to find soil that drains well or plant the peas in a raised garden. Planting the seeds in waterlogged or overly cold soils could lead them to rot.
Prior to planting, sprinkle wood ash over the soil. Make sure to plant the seeds at least an inch into the ground. You should leave about 2 inches between each of the plants.
There are certain plants that choose to grow upright. In this case, you can use twigs or even chopsticks to give the plants the support that they require.
Caring for the Pea Plants
Pea roots are great for fixing nitrogen in the soil. Due to this, they don’t need a lot of fertilizer, especially those that are rich in nitrogen. Instead, focus on adding small amounts of phosphorus and potassium which they can utilize instead.
Pea plants don’t need too much water. Therefore, you can water them less unless you notice that the plants are wilting. It is important that you don’t let the plants dry out or they will not produce pods.
It is best to avoid weeding around pea plants. Any movement of the earth or using tools could cause the roots to get damaged. Another enemy of pea seeds are birds. This is why, until the plants have germinated, you should use netting or chicken wire to keep them protected.
Harvesting the Peas
If you want a greater number of pods to be produced, you will need to harvest the pods quite frequently. Typically the peas at the bottom of the plant will be the ones to mature first. When picking the peas, do so in the morning, once the dew has dried off. This is how you ensure that they will be crispy.
When removing the peas from the pod, you will need to do so gently. Hold the vine firmly in one hand and then use the other to remove the peas. This prevents the vine from getting damaged in the process.
This is what you should be aware of if you wish to start growing peas in your garden. Just make sure to plant them during the right time of year, use the right manure and water adequately.
To learn more about vegetable gardening of various kinds, you should absolutely check out The MiniFarming Guide to Vegetable Gardening.