Puttering In The Potager – Week 2 of 2010
(Week 2 is January 11 to the 17th)
Grandson Sean is nuts about peas. So peas are going to star in my veggie garden this summer, because he will be 3 years old and able to pick peas for himself.
Since peas are best planted when the soil warms to 40 degrees and when squeezed into a ball and dropped on the ground, it’s dry enough to crumble, I’m making plans now so I will have everything I need on hand when planting day comes. That will probably be some time in April. You don’t want to jump the gun on the first warm day in March and plant too early, or you chance having the seeds rot before they sprout.
Peas need full sun, a minimum of six hours of sun a day, but more is better. Organic rich, moisture retentive soil, amended with compost and mulched to keep it moist and the roots cool is also a must.
Trellising is also key to success. Pole types can climb to six feet or more, but bush varieties only reach between 15 and 30-inches in height.
A high nitrogen fertilizer will produce lots of vines and few peas so I use an organic slow release fertilizer when planting and give my plants a liquid feed of compost tea every now and again.
I usually plant snap peas and snow peas that are eaten like snap beans, pod and all, but this year I’m including old fashioned shelling peas so little Sean Henry can pick the tender morsels fresh out of the pods. I can’t wait.
According to the Territorial Seed Company catalog (800) 626-0866, www.territorialseed.com, pea vine tendrils, those curly leafless branches that twirl around the trellis, are good for use in stir-fries and Asian salads, so I’m going to give them a try.
Keeping the peas picked helps to keep them producing, but they are cool season characters, and even with the best of care, the vines will peter out when the temperatures begin to heat up. But by then Sean and I will be picking cute little Eight Ball summer squash.
Timely Tip: Rainwater has always been considered a tonic for indoor plants and it’s easy to collect it at this time of year. Simply bring a pail full of snow indoors and let it stand till the snow melts and reaches room temperature, then transfer the water to your watering can.