It’s time to plant the peas! It’s time to plant the peas!
Uh … WHEN do you plant peas?
Apparently, the specific date peas should be planted depends on your cultural and/or religious affiliation. To my Italian relatives, peas are planted on St. Joseph's day (March 19th). But my Irish folk declare that good old St. Patrick determines when your peas go in the ground (March 17th, if you haven’t noticed the parade-making and general merriment). However, if you’re a melting pot type American like myself, and a disorganized mom to boot, any time around the middle of March is close enough.
As it happened, my middle of March turned out to be on St. Patrick’s Day, and there was NO WAY the snow was stopping me. According to my personal garden guru Mike McGrath, host of NPR’s “You Bet Your Garden,” peas can be planted even on snowy ground. That was all the justification I needed to grab my shovel, mud boots, winter coat, and pea seeds.
I normally plant my peas under the grapes, which lets me borrow their trellis if they need some extra support. Last year I planted these awesome varieties of peas from one of my favorite garden seed catalogs Cook’s Garden. Why are they awesome? Because on top of tasting yummy and producing well, the pods (not the actual peas) are either yellow or purple! Finally, pea harvesting that’s easy on the eyes, resulting in fewer forgotten Godzilla sized pea pods.
Planting peas a few weeks apart is good insurance against losing your whole crop to seed rot, and only the back row closest to the fence was even a little thawed anyway. I put in a 25 foot row spaced an inch or two apart and covered with some fluffy peat moss, figuring I would add another row of pre-sprouted peas in another week or so . No problem, right? Three days and yet another snowfall later, my garden was back to 100% covered. I’m going to consider my peas sufficiently watered and hope that spring actually makes it to the "Garden (yeah right!) State."
For very detailed instructions on how to plant peas, check out Mike McGrath's "Question of the week" archives.
If you don't know when to plant anything at all in your zone 6 New Jersey garden, you can download this planting guide from my friends at 4 Seasons Lawn Care. It's 95 pages of veggie and herb planting advice made just for us Jersey folk. (Insert fist bump)
I am Laura; lover of plants, fan of words, drinker of wine, practitioner of yoga, planner of schemes, and conductor of the family crazy train, Check here for gardening fun, harvest recipes, yoga philosophy, and whatever else I love to write about.