Growing Peas

Peas are an interesting and welcome addition to any home garden. Peas, like beans, draw nitrogen into the soil, so they are a great companion plant for heavy soil feeders.



Peas
are an interesting and welcome addition to any home garden. Peas, like beans, draw nitrogen into the soil, so they are a great companion plant for heavy soil feeders. There are dozens of varieties of sugar peas and snow peas, and most mature in about 60 days.


Plan on planting peas from seed in cooler weather, when soil temperatures range from 50 to 75 F.  Since peas grow quickly, there's no big advantage to transplanting. Soak peas in water overnight to increase their germination rate. Just before sowing seeds, mix soaked peas with pea inoculant, a natural bacteria that will help the plant to produce greater yields. Find inoculants in garden stores or online.

Prepare a rich soil with lots of manure and compost. Plant peas 5 inches apart under 1 inch of soil. Once the seeds germinate, cover the soil with mulch or hay, but don't let the hay touch the stems. Peas grow deep roots, so water to a depth of about 2 feet. Fertilize with fish emulsion biweekly. Train peas to climb a trellis to keep leaves and pods off the soil. Harvest peas daily to increase production.

When the season ends, cut away the above-ground portion of the pea plant, but leave the nutrient-rich roots in the soil to break down. Rotate peas' position in the garden every season to resist disease.

Enjoy peas in pastas, salads, stir-fried dishes and more. Raw peas with edible pods are a sweet, fresh, low-cal snack for the whole family.

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