I’ve pea’d in the garden

As part of my cool season planting program I have taken care of my pea needs and sown what should be a great crop.  Aside from knowing that now is a good time to sow the seeds from past experience, the garden also told me it was time. Fallen peas from the spring crop had begun to pop up all over the bed, despite having languished, barely covered, beneath the soil over the height of summer with no intention of moving. Until now.

Irrigation for peas
Peas are such fickle things and don’t really like to get wet – they can break out in all sorts of mildews and fungal diseases. So irrigation directly onto the soil is the best way to go and with all irrigation it is probably best if you pop it in before you plant your plants. Retrospective irrigation is a bit of a nightmare!

Unfortunately these bonus plants suffered a short life and were treated as weeds.  It didn’t feel right to pull them up, and ordinarily I would have carefully moved them so they formed part of an orderly row, so they could live out their days fulfilling their true purpose – giving me peas to eat.  But a weed is a plant in the wrong place and even a tree can be a weed.  As much as I really love the variety of pea that has naturally sprung forth in my cool season garden, I can’t have them there anymore.  They are just too tall and I have to admit I can’t control them as they get buffeted by the winds that whip about in my garden from time to time.

Offering support to the peas
It is often thought dwarf peas don’t need support, however I like to give them something to lean on because it gives their tendrils something to do and keeps the pods off the soil.

Sometimes you have to make the hard call and decide that some things just don’t belong in your garden, no matter how much you want them.  I’ve grown many things over the years and some stay and become faithful occupants year after year, others are one season wonders and I do wonder why I’d even bothered.  But without trying you’d never know.  And other times there are crops you really want to have and you try so hard year after year to make it work but it never really comes together and you have to admit defeat.  After half a dozen years and dozens of attempted solutions I have decided I shouldn’t really grow tall peas anymore.

Space your peas out well
As peas are so susceptible to fungal disease, good air flow is important – which comes from good spacing. The instructions on my seed packets swung wildly between 3 and 10cm so I averaged it out at about 5cms and will hope for the best.

But I loved the taste.  They were so sweet and tender – even when they were fat.  I need peas like this in my life.  I need to find a short replacement so I headed off to the garden centre and grabbed a packet of each dwarf pea variety I could find.  Had I looked further afield for catalogues and websites I’d have found more, but I wanted to get started now.  Peas by post would have to wait for the spring planting.

Sow extra seeds just in case
I like to pop in some extra seeds to the side, as a back up for non germinators. I just fill the gap with seedlings already the same size, rather than popping seeds in the gap and ending up with plants of varying ages and stages.

I’ve ended up with six varieties to try to find my new bestie and forever pea.  However I suspect two are the same kind, just named slightly differently by different brands and I couldn’t resist snow peas so in realty there are only four in the running for the position of new fav.

Water well
The best advice for peas is to water well to start them off, and try to avoid watering them again until they pop up, except lightly to keep the soil damp so they don’t rot through excessive moisture. This may mean praying for no rain for a week, which isn’t a bad thing, unless your water tank is running dry.

Conducting an experiment like this is exciting because not only could a wonderful pea be making it’s way through the soil and into my garden, but it also brings out my inner scientist.   A time long ago my days were filled with conducting experiments, making sure only the best food made it to the plates of the nation.  Ok it was in a lab, not a garden, but the intent is the same.  Using logic to determine the best outcome.  Actually  it is nothing like it at all – this is all about passion in the dirt, not perfunctory tasks in a sterile environment.

Take notes in the garden
When conducting experiments detailed records are required. Although here all I’m really trying to achieve is remembering which variety was where. How terrible would it be to find a fav but not remember its name?!

It is amazing how something so simple as popping a small seed in the ground can bring me such pleasure and delight.  Gardening is an occupation that can give so much on so many levels and I feel blessed to say it fills my time, my thoughts and my belly.  Everyone should know this feeling.

Come again soon – you should see how misty eyed I can get over broccoli.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

13 thoughts on “I’ve pea’d in the garden

  1. your title pulled me right in, lol… will be following to see what pea you fall in love with. I think that the world would be a better place if everyone know the feeling of gardening.

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