Growing Peas

Michelle RobertsGardening, Planting Tips


Peas Have Universal Appeal

Archeologist and historians have come across peas in ancient tombs and writings discussing their virtues. The Chinese claim peas were discovered by their emperor Shu Nung, who was known as the Father of Agriculture. In Norse mythology Thor is said to have given his sons peas as a punishment. To appease him the people only ate peas on Thursday, which was “Thor’s day.”
[spacer height=”15″ mobile_hide=”true”] [pullQuote position=”center”]Shelling peas are meant to be shelled because their pods are too tough and fibrous to eat.
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Health Benefits of peas:

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  • Rich in phytonutrient coumestrol which lowers risk of stomach cancer.
  • Blood sugar regulators, lowering risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Contain omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Anti-oxidant rich.
  • Anti inflammatory.
  • High in protein and fiber.
  • Anti aging.
  • Strong immune support.
  • Provides high energy.
[/ul] [spacer height=”30″ mobile_hide=”true”] [outerOneHalf] SnowPea [/outerOneHalf] [outerOneHalfLast] HoopHouse [/outerOneHalfLast] Snow peas or sugar peas are popular in stir frys. There are hardly any peas in the pod and the pod is flat and tender. Harvest when young and tender. They are often snapped in half then cooked.

If you are considering growing peas, remember they are a cool season crop and need to be planted in early spring or early fall.  They can be seeded as soon as the soil reaches 55 degrees. In most places that is sometime in February or early March. If the soil is to wet and soggy, the seed will rot before it germinates, so wait until the soil breaks apart after squeezing it.  If it holds a firm ball, it is either too wet or there is too much clay in it.

Dig a trench about 2 inches deep and broadcast bonemeal and Azomite in the trench. Bonemeal provides phosphorus and Azomite provides calcium and numerous trace elements. Both are necessary for a healthy plant, but difficult for the plant to access in cold temperatures. Use about 1 pound for a 20 foot row. Drag your hoe down the trench to mix the supplements in. Seed rather heavily at the rate of a few seeds per inch.  Depending on how you grow your peas, your rows will need to be 2-3 feet apart if you don’t trellis them.  If you do, they can be as wide as needed to walk between the rows.

Seeds will germinate in about a week and a half. Peas like a more acid soil condition (around PH – 6). Test your soil to know whether you need more calcium.  Use gypsum for high alkaline soils, and lime for more neutral soils. Peas are unfortunately susceptible to disease and pests, but if you plant early and harvest before the weather turns warm, you can avoid  these issues.

Peas will set nitrogen in the soil, so they are a great crop to grow early in the season and then plant a summer crop in June when the peas are done.
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