Home-grown English peas, fresh from the back-yard garden, has always been a real treat for us. When our children were growing up we rarely saw any peas actually make it into the kitchen; our children would graze up and down the pea rows, picking the green pods and eating the little green jewels like candy. Admittedly, the two adults in this family often would resort to this same practice, if the younger members should happen to forget they were there on occasion.
Growing peas in the home garden is really simple. Just a few tips are necessary to get the most out of your spring planting of peas:
- Start Early: OSU’s Oklahoma Garden Planting Guide, gives Feb. 15 to March 10 as the sowing window for spring-planted English, Snap, or Snow peas. Don’t worry that Oklahoma’s last spring frost occurs around the 10th of April. Peas are quite hardy and really need all of the cool of spring they can get. Plant as early as possible. If you are past March 10, plant them anyway, so long as it isn’t mid June. In that case wait till you plant your Fall Garden.
- Grow an upright/climbing variety. They are easier to pick, get the crop off the ground, and provide a much larger/longer harvest. We like Maxigolt for an English/shelling-type pea, and Super Sugar Snap for a snap pea. Each variety grows to around 48″, so you will need to provide some kind of fence for them upon which to grow.
- Inoculate your seed. You don’t know what the heck that means? Well, look for an explanation here. This is really quite easy, but here is a method to get the most out of your inoculant: Use fresh inoculant (notice the expiration date on the bag.). Put seed to be planted in a small paper cup. We usually use 100 seed to plant a 30 foot row. Add a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of inoculant plus just enough water to make it all wet. Stir the mix thoroughly and pour the contents onto a paper plate and leave to dry under a small fan.
While your seed mix dries, go out and set up your fence and hoe a row in the garden about two inches deep.
- Plant your seed about four inches apart and two inches deep. Cover the row up and water if rain is not expected soon.
- If you haven’t already planted potatoes, find a neighbor who has and work out a deal to share some of your peas in exchange for some of his new potatoes. Nothing tastes better together.
- Happy gardening.