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Connecticut Garden Journal: Snap to it. It’s time to start planning those garden peas

Organic Pea Pod
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Plant peas on raised beds with fertile soil but don't add much compost or fertilizer. With shelling or English peas, just eat the peas, not the whole pod.

With the warmer weather many of us want to plant something and often garden peas come to mind. Peas are a good choice because they germinate in cool soils and need cool air temperatures to produce their best. However, mid-March is a little premature. It's best to wait until early April in warmer parts of the state or late April everywhere else.

That doesn't mean you can't get started. There are basically three types of peas; shelling peas, snap peas, and snow peas. With shelling or English peas, just eat the peas. Eat the pod and all with snap peas, and harvest snow peas while they're still flat. You can also eat them pod and all.

I've grown many varieties over the years beyond the common ones. 'Golden Sweet' is a yellow podded snow pea with beautiful pink flowers. 'Royal Snow' is a purple podded version. There are peas that stay only one foot tall ('Sugar Ann'), ones that grow 8 feet tall ('Tall Telephone') and a variety that has mostly tendrils. These tendril peas are good for growing indoors as microgreens where you eat the leaves and tendrils while they're still young.

Plant peas on raised beds with fertile soil but don't add much compost or fertilizer. Soak seeds in a bowl the night before planting to hasten germination. Place a trellis in the middle of the bed and sow peas in rows on either side. Cover the seeds with row covers if cold, wet weather comes so they don't rot. Keep well watered and weeded and you'll be eating peas in a few months.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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