Despite the last gasps of winter we have been experiencing here in Central Ohio (including a half inch of snow yesterday), the garden trudges on. Regardless of yesterday’s weather, the soil temperature has been consistently climbing and is definitely warm enough to sustain planting peas.
Before I got started, I cleaned out my fireplace…yes, this is still a blog about peas…I cleaned out my fireplace for the wood ash leftover from the last few fires. Wood ashes from a fireplace or a wood burning stove are an organic treasure for your garden, so save the wood ashes in a fireproof or waterproof container to be used on your garden. If you don’t have a fireplace, find a non-gardening friend that does and have them save their wood ashes for you.
Wood ashes improve gardens 3 ways, by acting as an organic fertilizer, a soil amendment or soil conditioner and wood ashes also work as an organic pesticide.
For peas, they like a higher ph level to perform at their best so I scratched in a bit of wood ash into the soil before depositing the balance of the ash into the compost bin.
Back in the house, I selected the pea varieties I wanted to grow this year. I selected a snap variety, a shelling variety and a black eyed pea. I like to soak the peas for an hour or so to begin the rehydration process and to further along germination. Since the peas are a couple of weeks late going in the ground, every little bit of coaxing helps.
Once the peas were soaked and drained, I went outside with a flat paddle hoe and created a 4-5 inch shallow trough. Pease like to be planted 2-3 inches apart, but in a small garden, that doesn’t give you a whole lot of plants. But if you stagger the planting in a wide furrow, you get twice the number of pea plants you would if you planted in a straight line. Water the peas in well and don’t allow them to dry out during germination…this means a daily check and water if neccesary. The use of bamboo sticks will guide fledgling peas to the structure provided for them and in several weeks, hopefully, I will be harvesting delicious peas for salads, soups and vegetable courses!