Friday, February 15, 2013


With clear blue skies and temperatures pushing 60 degrees F/15.5C, spring was definitely in the air today.  Not that it's going to last.  Next week is supposed to be 10 degrees cooler with rain.  But now that I'm officially in the gardening spirit, it is time to plant seeds!

I like Ed Hume seeds because they are a local company and specialize in cool-climate varieties.
The plan is to start off all of the seeds pictured above either in seed trays in the greenhouse or directly out in the garden in the coming week.  I will do my best to share how I germinate & grow all the seeds I plant this year, starting with the first seeds to go in the ground...PEAS!!

I have found that germinating the pea seeds in zip-lock bags has resulted in higher germination rates vs. planting them directly in the ground.  To germinate the seeds, I put each variety in a gallon-sized zip-lock bag, along with 1/2 cup of water and a paper towel to help distribute the water evenly.  I kept them in the garage but keeping them in the refrigerator can also work.  After 2 days, the seeds were already starting to germinate.  In the future, I will probably just use the smaller zip-lock bags and fold the paper towels in quarters.

Three pea varieties: Tall telephone, Oregon Sugar Pod II, and Super Sugar Snap
Because today was so warm, I decided to plant some of the seeds in the ground even though they had just barely started germinating.  I left some in the zip-lock bags for later as well.  The pea scaffolding, by the way, is not complete yet.  These are all pole varieties.  I will wait a few weeks to plant the bush varieties just to keep them separate and spread out the harvest period.

I plant seeds closer together than what the directions say, then thin out as necessary when they start to grow.
I amended the soil with some organic fertilizer & mycorrhizae before planting the slightly germinated pea seeds.  I planted them about an inch deep and firmly packed down the soil to keep them in place.  Once I finish the bamboo scaffolding (which is 8 feet tall) I won't need to do anything else except water them once the weather starts heating up (this won't be necessary if we get an unfortunate repeat of the past two springs, which featured mostly cold and rainy weather -- peas are about the only thing that enjoy that sort of torment).  They will reach their peak harvest by late June/early July, and by mid-July the dying vines will be pulled out in order to make room for winter brassicas like broccoli & Brussels sprouts.

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