Fortunately, in many parts of the country, it is already time (or close to time) to sow the earliest direct seeded, cold tolerant vegetables, as St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional time to plant peas in the garden.
Peas are easy to grow but have a limited growing season and do not stay fresh long after harvest. They grow best in colder soils with temperatures below 70 degrees F. It is important to get the timing just right!
For best results, always treat pea seed with a bacterial inoculant before planting. This ensures that beneficial nitrogen-fixing bacteria will take up residence in the pea plant roots, where they capture nitrogen from the atmosphere and transform it into a form usable by plants.
Sow pea seed about an inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart, with 2 to 2.5 feet between rows.
Afila type peas have more tendrils than ordinary peas, which makes them more self-supporting. To take advantage of their self-supporting nature, afila pea varieties can be sown densely, 2 inches apart in blocks of 2 to 4 rows with 12 inches between blocks. This type of dense planting allows the plants to support one another without the need for pea brush or a trellis.
Don’t forget that in addition to their delicious peas, the tender shoots of pea plants are also edible. They make an excellent, tasty addition to salads and stir fry dishes.
Start your own early Spring or St. Patrick’s Day tradition by starting peas in your garden this time of year!