Planting Peas on a Spring Afternoon

Digging in the dirt at Happy Simple Living blog

“To dig one’s own spade into one’s own earth! Has life anything better to offer than this?”– Beverley Nichols

Here in Colorado, it’s tricky to know exactly when spring planting season begins. We’ve been known to get snow into late May, but last year we broke a record on April 24 with a high of 87 degrees. I’m probably a little late planting the peas, but we’ve had snow the last two weeks. After a nice rain Tuesday night, yesterday seemed like the perfect day to get the seeds in the ground.

If your yard has heavy clay soils like ours, take heart! As they say on the commercial, “It gets better.” After seven years of working our homemade compost into the dirt, never stepping on it and sifting out rocks and clay clumps, I really noticed a difference in the kitchen garden soil this year. You can see in the photo above that the spade easily turns the dirt.

The pea seeds soaked in filtered water all day, which will hopefully help them sprout a little faster.

peas soak before planting at Happy Simple Living blog

I only planted a third of the seeds in the package yesterday. I’ll plant another third in a week, and another third a week after that. Who knows if they will all make it or if the weather will be too hot, but if we’re lucky the harvest will be staggered and we’ll have tender peas for several weeks.

Gardening is such an act of faith, isn’t it? We have to trust that these little seeds:

planting pea seeds at Happy Simple Living blog

…will eventually look like this:

Pea plants at Happy Simple Living blog

Photo: Penelope Waits

The seeds we planted are Seeds of Change organic Sugar Pod 2 Snow Peas, a bush variety, but I added some old tomato cages near the seeds so they’ll have something to hang onto if they want to.

Peas planted at Happy Simple Living blog

Have you started planting yet? What’s growing in your garden? We’d all love to know.

Happy digging,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. Have you entered the giveaway for a free copy of The Mini Farm Guide to Composting book yet? The drawing closes next Monday, April 8, at midnight MST.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

8 comments to Planting Peas on a Spring Afternoon

  • I have never planted snow peas… I am seriously considering it. We planted mustard greens, kale, squash, and green beans so far. I am germinating my herbs in the garage and soon I will be tackling the tomatoes and eggplants. Love Spring and summer!!!

  • As a fellow Colorado gardener, I feel your pain when it comes to both clay and weather! I’ve been working on soil improvement for about 15 years, and while it’s a slow process, it definitely works! Yesterday I planted a grape vine (oh, how I hope it takes) in an area that I haven’t done any work on the soil, and the difference was striking. I ended up hauling a few big buckets of dirt from the garden to fill the hole where I planted it.

    Anyhow, my rule of thumb for timing is that I always try to get the peas in the ground by St. Patrick’s Day. A friend told me that rule many years ago and it’s never steered me wrong. I’ve had them in as early as March 1, and never lost any to cold. I do cover them with frost cloth until they’re about 3 inches tall.

    With spinach, I’ve had the best luck planting in the fall and wintering it over. It usually does quite well with just a layer of frost cloth, and that way it has time to actually mature before it gets so hot that it bolts. Unfortunately, this year it was unseasonably dry and we got some real early cold weather which killed it before it could get established. Sigh. But, I re-seeded a few weeks ago and have tiny little sprouts beginning to show.

    It never occurred to me to soak the peas before planting them. I’ll have to try that next time!

    Happy gardening one and all!

    • I’m going to have to remember that rule about St. Patrick’s Day – thank you! It sounds like I need to get my hands on some frost cloth, too. I hope you have a very productive garden this year, too.

      • You can use something less fancy, like an old sheet or even a piece of plastic… but it’s more work. The advantage of frost cloth is that it keeps the plants warm, but still lets in the light and the water, so it saves a lot of time and energy in terms of pulling it off and on. Some people go so far as to set up hoops and create mini greenhouses – but I’m too lazy for that. I just cover it and put some bricks around the corners to keep it from blowing away.

        The big disadvantage of frost cloth is that it doesn’t hold up for more than about a season or two so you have to keep replacing it. It’s not terribly expensive if you buy it in bulk though. I got a huge roll of it on eBay a few years back.

        Anyhow, good luck with your peas!

  • Kim

    It’s a little early for peas here, but only by a couple weeks. I planted potatoes on Good Friday because I always try to do that around that time. Just me. Your pictures made me smile with recognition, though. I’m guessing all gardeners put those little seeds into the ground, surround them with what seem like giant cages (at the time), and in our heads immediately envision the lush, fruit-laden plants they will become. Glad I’m not the only one! Wishing you a great gardening season. 🙂

    Kim

  • My husband planted sno peas one season and regular peas another season. Guess who reaped the benefits – our two dogs. They loved them!

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