I got Peas on my mind, but don’t call me a Pea Head!
It’s time to plant peas! Finally!
The first seeds that can go in the ground when it is still freezing off and on outside are peas. Beets, carrots, and other root vegetables are usually hardy enough to take some frost when they are babies, as well.
Peas are not only great for your belly, but also your garden. They are legumes, which fix nitrogen in the soil. Most vegetable plants can get most nutrients they need from the sun and soil, but nitrogen is one thing plants cannot get on their own. Nitrogen is often the main ingredient in fertilizers for this reason. Which is why peas are so great! They fix nitrogen in their roots – you can actually see the round nitrogen nodules on legume roots! They are nature’s way of fertilizing your other plants without having to purchase chemicals.
Pea seeds germinate better when they are soaked overnight first. Don’t soak them longer than 24 hours or they will start to pop – in which case you can just eat pea sprouts in your next meal. They will swell up with water, priming them for quick germination.
Peas do even better if they are planted with an inoculant. Inoculants are bacteria that peas like. They have a symbiotic relationship (like trees and mushrooms). They provide each other nutrients that they can’t make on their own. However, if you do not have inoculant, it is not necessary to get the peas to grow – beneficial bacterias are often already in the soil. If you’ve had trouble growing peas in the past, you may want to try inoculating your seeds before planting.
Plant lots of peas, beans, and other legumes this year in all your beds. When they die, leave them there. Especially the roots – don’t remove the roots or you remove the nitrogen. All the vegetable plants sharing that root space will love you for it!