Please, let’s talk about peas!
Peas are one of the first crops you can plant in the spring. They like cool weather. As soon as the soil is workable (meaning, the soil is not frozen and not soaking wet) you can plant. Depending on where you live, that means you can plant peas sometime between mid-February to the end of May.
Peas are hands down one of my favourite vegetables to grow (but maybe I say that about all of the vegetables I grow!?). They’re one of my favourite vegetables to grow because of their incomparable flavour fresh off the vine. (Ask me if the peas ever make it into the house!).
Now, here’s where it gets fun for me. A change. An experiment. A challenge. To soak or not to soak peas before you plant them? Before this season, I had never soaked my peas before. If you are partial to soaking peas, you might be screaming: “Oh ladddddy, why not! You have missed the mark!” But hear me out… I am always trying to minimize any “extra” steps in the garden. Having planted peas for several years, straight from the package into the ground – with delicious success – I didn’t think I needed to change anything. However, upon seeing how much they plumped up with an overnight soak (they looked like chickpeas), I may be converted. This season I planted two different kinds of shelling peas (Lincoln and Green Arrow) half of both varieties soaked and the other half unsoaked.
One last thought about soaking the peas. There is one issue with planting peas so early in the season and that is that they may get TOO wet. If you have incredibly wet soil or soil that does not drain well, there is no need to pre-soak your peas. The soil will do that job for you.
Here’s how I plant my peas:
1. Amend the soil by adding compost
Peas aren’t overly heavy feeders so start them off with some good compost at the beginning of the season and they’ll be happy. Gently break up the soil (not too deep) while working the compost into the soil.
2. Set up your trellis
3. Create a trench
4. Plant your seeds
Most seed packages tell you to plant peas about one inch apart, but I usually crowd mine a bit closer that that. I freestyle it, but I plant about two seeds per inch. Don’t be afraid to crowd the peas, they don’t mind living closely together. Peas don’t need to be thinned out.
5. Water them in (unless it’s forecasted to rain that day!)
6. Wait for germination
Both of the soaked and unsoaked peas germinated, relatively, at the same time (the soaked were one or two days behind the unsoaked).