We continued the #growyourown series on #groundchat last week with the divine Brenda Haas, host/moderator/organizer of #gardenchat. Bren shared her experiences with growing peas!
Growing Peas on #groundchat
Cultivated since 4800 BC in the Nile Delta, peas are dearly loved by gardeners. In fact, most gardeners on #groundchat admitted that their peas rarely make it to the kitchen; freshly harvested pods are popped open and eaten in the garden.
As soon as the soil is warm enough (5C/40F), it’s time to plant. Caveat: if you have clay soil, wait until it’s dry enough to work the soil, otherwise you’ll compact your soil.
Rodale soil test: “Pick up about half a cup of earth in your hand. Now squeeze the soil together so that it forms a ball. If the ball of earth can readily be shattered by pressing with your fingers or dropping it from a height of 3 feet or so, it is dry enough to dig.”
Peas are an early season crop. “Temperatures above 76F [25C] means pea season is OVER!” says Bren. Peas are not a procrastinating gardener ideal veggie.
Peas prefer well-drained soil, average fertility, high in organic matter with pH 6.0 to 7.0. Organic matter improves soil structure, which is important for peas. They don’t grow well in compacted soil!
Bren prefers to grow peas in her raised bed gardens where she can control the soil conditions better.
Peas are sun-lovers. Grow in a sunny spot in your garden.
Peas lend themselves to companion planting (or interplanting, as its called today).
“I like to grow peas that grow on trellis so I can grow lettuces, radishes and kale around them,” says Bren.
Harvest snap peas before the pod begins to fill the pod.
“Keep on pickin’ – the plant will produce more the more you harvest. No need to blanch – freeze peas within a few hours of picking so they remain sweet,” says Bren
Bren recommends growing “Snap Pea”, and for pots, “Peas in a Pot.” Perusing through Nicki Jabbour’s Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, I found a few more recommendations: Sugar Sprint (early), Super Sugar Snap (mid) and Lincoln (late-season).
Brenda Haas’ Twitter handle: @BG_garden.
Brenda also runs and hosts the hugely popular #gardenchat, which runs every Monday at 9 pm EST. Check it out.
Brenda’s Blog: Creative growing & living with Bren