Friday, March 19, 2010

Peas in the Garden

My life is very crazy right now. I either get a lot done all at once or I'm acting like a deer in the headlights. I really needed a bit of time in the garden to regain my peace. And luckily my peas needed to be planted.

I couldn't ask for better weather for it. It got up to 65F (21C) yesterday and the sky was a brilliant blue. My first chore was to lay out the bed and figure out where everything would go this year. The alliums get the full four feet width (1.2m) of the bed so I marked one foot for the leeks and four feet for the onions and put in little sticks to mark the edges of where they go. I marked out 32" (0.8m) for my chard I want four rows this year. It might be too much but I wanted more to freeze than last year and I'm sure my friend Caroline wouldn't mind some if I have too much even for the freezer. If you remember I do owe her for winning that Asian green book from the Yankee Swap way back at Christmas.

Then on the east end the garlic is already growing. I marked out three feet of space for the lettuce and one foot for some herbs. The rest is all for Asian greens and other brassicas. They always get the leftover part of the bed. Though right now the overwintered spinach takes up some of the space. It will get ripped out in spots as the Asian greens go in. When the Asian greens get bigger all the spinach willl get ripped out, but it might have bolted before then anyway.

You noticed that I haven't mentioned where the peas go yet. The peas get trellised at the back of the bed behind all the greens. The onions get the whole four foot width, but the greens only get three feet. The peas will get the whole back of the bed which is about 14' (4.3m) in length.

But first I fertilized the whole bed except the garlic section. I fertilized only lightly in the pea section at the back of the bed, but the rest are heavy feeders and will get even more side dressing as the year goes on. I'll keep the whole section in alliums or greens going continuously all the way through the fall. Or at least that is the plan.

Once the fertilizer was lightly raked in (or watered in in the spinach section), I made two rows 6" apart for the peas. I planted two types. Cascadia which takes up just over half the pea section is a snap pea that grows to about 3' tall. Blizzard is a snow pea and grows about the same height (or so the package says). I'm going to put in a trellis that is only 3' tall this year. I'll be much happier with the shorter height. For now I just pushed the T posts into the ground. I won't add the strings until the peas start to grow.

I've found this set up really gets the most out of my garden, but it is a pain. Once the peas grow I won't be able to reach into the Asian green from the back of the bed and I'll have to reach in 3' to get to them. My arms really aren't that long. I'll deal with it, but it will be a pain.

Once they were planted I watered them in. You would think the ground would be wet enough, but it really dried out on the top inch over the last few days.

This is the ground where I planted my spinach. I didn't mulch the ground and it was over saturated with water during the flood and now the top is drying out fast. Clay soil is a pain, but at least it holds nutrients and water well. I'll have to keep the top moist or the little seedlings won't be able to make it through the hard soil.


  1. You're off to a flying start! Before you know it you will be harvesting and enjoying your tasty veg! I must say I'm a bit envious. But my time will come soon. hehe

  2. Isn't this weather awesome? I was out planting today as well. It's very odd to be able to do so much this early. I hope we don't end up with a weird April snow storm.

  3. Isn't it great when you can start doing stuff in the garden, I love it!

  4. Sheila, Oh yes and a nice day is priceless.

    Ceara, I hope you get to play in the dirt soon too.

    The Mom, I just can't believe the weather. It is just too beautiful. I'll take it though. Much better than floods.

    Jan, I'm so happy to be working in the garden again.

  5. Your garden is looking happy! Happy gardening and planting to you!

  6. HURRAH Daphne is planting peas! Pea planting is the event tha seems to really resonate that "spring has arrived" for me. I have some cascadia peas that I started in some cell packs that I am hoping to plant out today (gorgeous weather forecasted for here today too!). I did not get a good germination rate on the indoor starts though, so I am going to plant out what did grow and then direct seed another section that will be a couple of weeks behind the first group.

    The garden is looking good! Hope things calm down a bit for you soon.

  7. Hi! I came across your blog today and looked at your preserving. I see you preserve pickled snap peas. Do you use those like pickles? Thanks. Nancy

  8. I'm dieing for fresh peas! Sounds like you will have lots before long.

  9. We just picked our first snow peas. Such bounty! I'm going to have to make something yummy with them tomorrow like the risotto with peas I made tonight. This is a sweet, sweet season!

  10. Kiwi gnomes, thanks

    kitsapFG, it does seem like spring when you plant your first peas out in the garden.

    cozthyme, yes I do. I love them on hamburgers. You don't even have to slice them since they are fairly flat.

    Dan, I hope so.

    Stefaneener, risotto sounds good. I can't wait to pick my first ones. That will be quite some time. I usually start picking in June. I would love to pick earlier this year, but who knows.

  11. Yep I've got clay soil too. I hate how it packs and cracks after a rain but you are fight; there isnt any runoff. I planted my peas three weeks ago and only half of them came up so I have to replant. I was afraid of that. We havae just had too much rain and the seeds rotted.
    Your garden plans sound delightful. I dont string up my peas. I just let them go all willnilly over the ground! ;)

  12. I put some Cascadia peas in as well. Hoping for a better pea season.

  13. Wow, impressive garden! I also have a garden, albeit a smaller version, but I've been on the hunt for organic bug spray products. I saw Safer Brand EndAll spray online. Have you ever used it? It looks like it would do the trick since it targets many different insects at all stages of development. Thanks!

  14. Ronald, I don't spray the garden much and with insecticides even less. In my entire life I've only used soap sprays, bt or sluggo (new this year) for insects. Even with those I rarely use them. For the last decade I hadn't used a thing. Only this year I brought out the sluggo and am going to use bt again soon (the winter moths, a recent foreign invader, are eating all the blueberry buds). So I'm not the person to ask about insecticides. I really prefer to hand pick and let the good bugs get to reasonable numbers to take care of the problem.