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Planting Peas

You can hardly ever plant peas too early in North Carolina (she said, thereby causing a crippling multi-state ice storm) so today I went out, finished dumping garden mix on the sunniest vegetable bed, and planted out peas.

I usually use tomato cages as trellises--I have some beautiful enameled red ones that are just lovely and also absolutely useless for tomatoes, which knock them down and tear them apart. (Live and learn...) They're okay for mobile pea towers, though. I am also experimenting with some eight-foot poles this year, to see if the peas like those better.

My go-to cultivar here in North Carolina is "Wando" which is a solid, if undistinguished, performer that can take a good amount of heat. I tried "Lincoln" last year and it was so-so, but it was such a demented year for weather that I'm giving it another run, although it's only getting half the space of Wando. Finally, there's this year's experiment--"Blue Podded Blauwschokkers," which gets two tomato cages. Kevin is a fan of snow peas--we'll see how MUCH of a fan.

This year's big engineering trick is going to be with beans--I had superb luck growing them on an archway, much better than on poles, so I've got three new archways over the walk alongside the house. I am hoping this leads to a sort of green-tunnel effect. (And if it doesn't, I'll put in tomatoes there next year. The tomato I ran up the arch did pretty well, even with our bizarre weather.)

Planting peas has thrown some internal switch in me, thankfully--from "Oh god, we'll never get to spring!" to "Oh crap, there's way too much to be done before spring!" I need to go prepare the beet bed tomorrow...

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Ah yes, "anything-but-tomato" cages. I used to use them for bell pepper plants.

If you like peas, and you like snow peas, have you tried sugar snap peas? Best of both worlds!

That seed store link is eeevil!

Three foot of snow (conservative estimate) covering the yard and more falling as I type, yet I'm suddenly impelled to start planning a spring garden. I think I need meetings where I can go and admit that my name's law-nerd and I'm addicted to buying seeds I may never plant. Though, on second thought, any such meeting would inevitably turn into a seed swap meet, so perhaps better not.

Augh I know right? There's a fresh snowstorm just getting going but all I wanna do is build the new Strawberry bed!

I have given up on the gardening because the raised bed was taken over by raspberries (and has too much peat moss in it otherwise to make it good soil for anything else) and the rest of the yard is in shade, so I garden vicariously through you and a friend of mine who is working on doing a 16th c. cottage garden...


Yes, hopefully we'll have weather a little closer to the average [the old average] this year...

"Blue-podded Blauwschokker" sounds like some kind of Lovecraftian beast name...

I use the butterfly bush (Buddelia) trimmings, chopped a the bottom for a stake, tied at the top into tripods, for quick and easy vine towers. Works for snow peas and scarlet runners (beans) a treat. If they last more than a season, bonus, but I've got more canes coming.

Coppicing; it works.

On a completely unrelated note, I've been reading your "Grandma" stories to a friend--and they are all very strong, true, and wonderful. I think the story you published about the broken moon (Selene and Copper) is really a story about Grandma Billy.

God help me, this was the first thing that came to mind reading this.

"We know a remote home in North Carolina, where Ms. Vernon lives. Every July, peas grow there."

Re: God help me, this was the first thing that came to mind reading this.

If that's not the opening line on a children's book, I don't know what is.

Re: God help me, this was the first thing that came to mind reading this.

I love how Pinky and the Brain did a spoof of that taping, it was wonderful. <3

Planting instructions on pea packages usually say Something akin to "plant as early in Spring as the ground can be worked." Well, that isn't particularly helpful advice when the ground can be worked year-round, as here in the Pacific Northwet. While it is commonly said that they do best in cooler weather, too cool is not the peas' friend.

One year, I found various sources that authoritatively stated that the best time to plant was the end of January, or the best time was the end of April, and so on. So I decided to experiment. I planted a couple rows in late February and another two rows in mid-March.

The mid-March peas, not surprisingly, sprouted far more quickly—but less expectedly, they soon surpassed the February peas in rate of growth and ultimately production. The early planting never did catch up; my guess is they were too busy knitting themselves little sweater to keep warm.

My packets (from Territorial, mostly) have actually specified a temperature (55? I think) for that workable soil, which results in much more reasonable dates (though my yard is so cold that mostly means late March/April.)

As Scott Nearing told Ruth Stout, they "shivered all the pep out of 'em" trying to grow in the cold.

I am also in the Pacific Northwest, although I'm probably farther North as the ground was definitely too cold to be worked for a month or so. I am hoping the snowstorm we're getting this weekend is the last one as I plan to spend my Spring Break getting my gardens ready! The daffodils in the sunny bit of the front yard are already in full bloom, even though they got covered in a foot of snow drifts last week. Thank goodness for tough little plants.

Best tomato cages?

Go to the Home improvement store or the lumberyard, and get either sheets or a roll of concrete mesh. It comes in various sizes; the ones I've seen made into tomato cages were made from sheets that were 6 foot by (I think) 12 foot. They had rolled it up on the short axis, and attached the ends together to create a 6 foot tall tube. INDESTRUCTIBLE.

Thank you.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for posting about Blue Podded Blauwscckokkers. Thank you for making the world a nicer place. A better place.

And if this seems a bit dramatic, I live in Arizona and I've been reading SB 1062. I NEEDED your brand of sanity. And tea.

Thank you for fighting the good fight, in a place that deserves better than what its government gives it.

My bluepodded peas easily get over 7 feet tall in Oregon, and they have the most *gorgeous* flowers, too! (eta: mine are Sugar Magnolia from Adaptive Seeds)

Edited at 2014-02-26 04:18 am (UTC)

Ah yes: peas. It is never too early to plant peas. If you can work the ground, you can/should plant peas.

Not knowing the customs of the prairies when we moved to Vermillion Alberta, I naturally planted my peas in mid-March. My grandfather planted his in February, but that was the balmy Okanagan, so I made concessions for the frozen zone.

We were renting a house that had previously been owned by a woman who lived there for ever, and her (our new) neighbour then carried on his custom of rototilling the ground for her (us) in early April. I am pleased to report that all the peas came up and produced prodigously - all over the garden. :)

North Carolina? For some strange reason I kept thinking you were in Northern California.

In any case, I envy you your peas. Here in the Bay Area we aren't doing a garden this year due to the drought, even though we have a massive worm bin full of mulch, ready to go.

Edited at 2014-02-26 09:43 am (UTC)

Planting peas early, does that go for sweet peas as well? I've just started some (in an old yoghurt container), but I don't know if the weather is trustworthy (we're supposed to be having winter still, but we don't).

No, sweet peas are much more finicky beasts, I'm afraid...

I sit here trying to massage feeling back into my cheeks after a fifteen minute walk through a Canadian February, and I'm only a tiny bit unspeakably jealous.

You can hardly ever plant peas too early in North Carolina (she said, thereby causing a crippling multi-state ice storm)

*looks at weather forecast*
*looks at posts from friends and acquaintances farther west*


What have you done.


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