As soon as your soil is no longer frozen, it’s time to plant your peas! If you live in a mild climate like me, the time is now. Peas are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and they have the most beautiful flowers in early spring. It’s one of the first flowers to open in any garden. Another great thing about peas is they don’t need fertilizer. They actually put nitrogen, their most needed food, into the soil. Most vegetables use up nitrogen and that’s why gardeners have to add it back in every growing season. With peas, you are actually making your soil better! Beans also add nitrogen to the soil too, but they prefer to grow in the summer rather than spring. So wait to plant those.
I prefer to grow snow peas which are eaten as the edible pea pods rather than the round shelling peas. They harvest earlier than shelling peas because you don’t have to wait for the peas to grow. I guess you can say I’m too lazy to shell them! I like to plant a variety of vegetables through the growing season and planting this type of pea allows me to have fresh veges really early in the year! As you can tell, that really excites me!
First, I soak my seeds overnight and buy a small section of farm fence to stake in the ground. What’s nice is they don’t take much room because they grow upward. I plant a row of peas at the base of the farm fence and keep them watered. They grow fast. Since they are the first green in the garden, they might be subject to more pests, so I plant more seeds than the package recommends just in case.
I’m an organic gardener so here are a few tricks for pests. If you have slugs or snails, clean and crumble egg shells around the base of the plants. They don’t like to climb over the sharp edges. If you get aphids (little green plant sucking bugs) spray them off lightly with the garden hose. Most times lady bugs will start to find a crop of aphids and take over for you. I prefer that over spraying with pesticides. Attracting lady bugs early keeps them all over the vegetable garden through the rest of the season. And they eat a lot of bugs for you! If aphids are really taking over and the plants are really damaged, you can buy an organic insecticidal soap that usually takes care of them as a last ditch effort.
In just a few weeks you will have gorgeous flowers and tender, juicy peas! What more could you ask for in the early spring?