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Monday, March 19, 2012

Planting Peas Perfectly?: The Pains of Pea Pleasing Planting Problems!

I have been reading about peas and was laughing at the variance in recommendations for planting seeds. I might as well say plant your peas in the ground and leave it at that. There were some points that everyone agreed upon and they were:
  • Peas like cool weather
  • Peas need sun
  • Peas need to be planted in the ground (or a container)
  • Peas like to climb
  • Peas don't like to be soggy
I've been recommending planting peas at a 1- 2 inch depth. I know that it works because I eat peas every year. But I did read some people plant peas to a depth of 4 inches and then mound dirt around them as they grow upwards. The spacing of the seeds also varied greatly. Spacing suggestions  for the seeds were from 1 inch to 6 inches apart and some people said 1 seed per hole, while others recommended 2 seeds per hole.

Seed spacing should take into account your ability to water and fertilize the plants. If you can manage nutrients and water well, you can typically get more plants in a space. Another factor that comes into play is whether or not you plant in a raised bed with double turned earth (fluffy soil to 2 feet) or plant in a bed that has the earth more compacted. I can see how we (gardeners) can over complicate Nature.

Seeds want to grow. In this case, I think gardeners want to tweak the process much like a home chef will add or subtract a seasoning from a tried and true recipe.  It really doesn't do much for the dish but gives the cook satisifaction. Not that there is anyting wrong with that, I do it. My concern is for the new gardener. It is easy to get overwhelmed with how to plant peas (in this case) rather than just plant them. Vegetables want to grow.

So... I decided to make a video this week that will address all the above pains of pea pleasing planting  problems.

I found this works just FYI:
  • Plant your peas 1-2 inches deep
  • Plant your peas 2 inches apart but not more than 4 inches apart in the ground
  • 4 to 8 peas will grow in a 5 gallon container but more peas means more liquid fertilizer
  • If you put 2 seed per hole, thin one or leave it there.
  • Peas need something to grow on

The kicker is that if you plant your seeds close together, your plants might not be as  tall or produce as much as a pea plant that has 6 inches of space between plants. But since you have more plants in the same space otherwise, you end up with more peas. The variance between the number of pods picked is higher for having more plants in a space versus spacing the plants out at 6 inches. You decide.

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