My pea bed was finally unfrozen. Whoo hoo! Confession time. It turns out there were a couple of frozen clods left on the top right near the fence where it doesn't get very much sun. I prepared the pea bed anyway. I just shoved the little frozen bits to the side and ignored them. What a bad gardener. At least the soil was not too wet to dig. We haven't had much precipitation for the last couple of weeks and I've had a clear plastic sheet over the bed anyway that keep out what little we did. And to warm the bed which was really the point of my plastic.
If you look closely at the above photo you can see the little cracks that form over the winter on my soil. The ground freezes and thaws and heaves up over the winter. This bed had a pitiful cover crop of oats that winter killed. It also had a few vetch plants. This was where my tomatoes, peppers and eggplants lived and there really wasn't time to dig over the soil for a good cover crop. I'm thinking that next year I really should do a cover crop over the top of the soil from the nightshade crops. Just seed then cover with compost at the end of August. No digging in to disturb my tomatoes. That might get them started enough to really form some good protection for the sol over the winter.
Back to the main topic, my pea bed. To prepare the bed I raked off the dead plants from the sparse cover crop. Then I forked over the bed. I don't turn the soil. I just aerate it a bit. Then I leveled it with the rake, making sure that it was slightly sloped to the north. I usually slope my bed slightly to the south to warm the soil more, but these will hold my cool weather crops. I don't want my soil getting very warm during the summer. It will, but a slight slope helps out a bit.
Then I noticed that the soil was a bit high on the path side of my bed. My paths are usually about level with the beds on the uphill side, but since I'm sloping the dirt slightly the other way, there is a drop off to the path. Last year this was annoying. It washes flat as the summer rains wear on and doesn't hold its shape. So I went to my backyard and took one of the dead fallen trees and used it to hold up that side. I thought it looked rather nice. I had a few feet extra from the tree so I also lined the little path on the end of the bed. Now it all looks so nice and neat.
After that was done and the bed reraked flat, I added some amendments - greensand, bonemeal, limestone. I would have added some nitrogen source but currently I don't have any. If it were just peas in this bed, I wouldn't, but I will also have my lettuce and brassicas here. The peas are just going along the back of bed, all the way across. The greens will be in the front to get more sun.
I wanted to add some compost. I tried to stick my fork into it. Nope. It is still frozen solid. I'm assuming some year it will melt, but not in time to amend the bed before planting. I will just mulch with it this year. I'm sure my worms will turn it under in due time.
The last chore was to put up the supports. I have a lot of short T posts, but not many tall ones. So I typically use the short posts and extend them with maple saplings that I've cut down from my back yard. Last year's saplings seemed not to have rotted out too much so I will use those again. The maple saplings are probably 7' high though they aren't strong enough at the top to hold anything. Last year I had issues with the posts slowly falling together because of the twine tied between them. This year I put in cross bars along the top of the T posts. That ought to solve my problem.
Will the peas be planted soon? Probably. Maybe. I'm hoping. As I was working out in the garden I felt the temperature start to drop. We are getting very cold tonight, into the teens. As I write this we are getting a quick snow flurry. So the peas are not going in today. Tomorrow will barely get above freezing. Then it is one more cold night before we start to warm up again. The 7 day forecast is for warm weather to come in on Wednesday. They usually aren't very good with long range forecasts, but they can predict trends and the trend seems to be for warmer weather. I feel another whoo hoo coming on. WHOO HOO! Warmer weather. I can't wait. 50s sound so good.