Thursday, 16 March 2017

Peas and More Peas, Please!

Sunshine predicted for this weekend! A few days of no rain means... finally, a chance to pop those peas into the ground!

Sow the seeds anywhere from March through June.  

Peas are cool weather crops, one of the first things we can plant in spring. They don't mind a bit of frost, they don't mind the cool air, they don't even care about all the rain.. as long as they have good drainage. 

If, however, your garden soil is still sodden and cold, wait for a few days of sunshine to warm things up a bit and dry out the soil. Planting into soil that is too cold and too wet will just rot out the seeds. 

Plus, working in wet soil causes damage to the soil structure and compacts it into cement, so is best to wait till the time is right.

Birds and bunnies love the tender new shoots as they emerge from the ground, so plant lots! The old saying goes something like this... sow three seeds, one for the bugs, one for the birds, and one to reap. I may have changed the wording on that one a bit, but you get the gist of it.   

Pop the pea seeds into the soil about one inch down and two inches apart. Grow in nice, rich soil that has been well amended with manure. 

When the sprouts are 4 to 6 inches tall, nip out the top so that they branch out into several long vines instead of just the one ... makes for more peas! 

Water as needed, do not let them dry out or they will start to shut down so you will get no pods. 

The more you harvest, the more they make! So pick regularly and pick lots! 

These are the varieties that I am selling at the greenhouse and growing in my garden this year...  

Picture from Sutton Peas

Tom Thumb - an heirloom dwarf shelling pea variety dating back to the 1880's, with vines that are just 8 inches tall! Super cute, super productive, and super delish!   

I like to grow this one at the edge of my beds, trailing over the sides, but it is also the perfect pea for containers and hanging baskets. 

Blue Podded Peas - This is one of my favourite peas to grow! Eat them as pods when young and tender, or wait a bit longer and eat them as shelling peas.They are also a terrific dried pea! So versatile and pretty to look at, too. 

I have been growing these guys for many, many years because the vines are tall, the flowers are pretty, and the peas are great! 

The flowers of the Blue Podded Pea are prettier than most ornamental Sweet Peas, though lacking the fragrance. Purple, red and pink on 8' tall silvery grey foliage. . 

My peas, tumbling on the ground with the violas and weeds ; ) 

Sabre -  A great shelling pea variety. Big yields of double podded peas, with 10 to 12 peas in each. Is resistant to powdery mildew and root rot, too! 

Picture from Gardening Know How

Sugar Snap Peas - Snap peas are fat, edible pods with full sized peas inside. Eat them fresh off the vine, pod and all. These 5 foot tall vines are loaded with sweet, juicy, thick, edible podded peas. 

My darling Lilah Loo loved her peas

I love peas. I love growing them, couldn't be any easier, and eating them.
In fact, some of us love peas so much that we eat them vines and all; )  

Happy Sowing and Growing!

Friday, 10 March 2017

March Garden Ramblings

Wowsers, what a cold and snowy, soggy start to this month!

So many garden tasks to do this month, and yet, not much we can actually do outside ... precisely because of the cold and wet weather.

Remember rule number one! Never muck about in wet soil! If  you walk on wet soil, dig in it, plant in it, turn it, or otherwise muck about with it, your soil will compact into useless cement!

Wait till the snow is gone and the soil has dried up a bit before you start planting or cleaning up your beds.

Till then, lots you can do to keep busy instead...

Pick up some potting soil

Clean up the greenhouse and get it ready for planting. Take down your poly or bubble wrap insulation, sweep, wash and clean the floors, wipe off any surfaces that may harbour pests or disease.

Pick up some soil-less potting mix for starting your seeds, cuttings, pots and planters. Use a high porosity mix that offers great drainage, room for seedling roots to spread and grow, plus most importantly, to prevent damping off.

Order dahlias, cannas and calla lilies, too. Pot them up now for earlier blooms in the garden this summer.

Pot up some culinary herbs for beside the patio door, snip as needed for a taste of freshness in your spring meals.

Time to start seedlings... 

Start some seedlings inside. Which ones to start now?

- Brassicas - cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale
- Greens - lettuce, spinach, mustards, arugula, oriental greens
- Onions, leeks, chives
- Tomatoes and peppers
- Peas and sweet peas

Pot up your spring planters ...

Make or buy a new compost bin or tumbler when they go on sale this spring, as they tend to do, to turn your garden waste in to garden gold.

The tumbler type of composters work the fastest, and are rodent free, as well ... as long as you tumble it ; ) 

Feed your fruiting shrubs ... 

Feed your fruiting shrubs, fruit trees, roses, perennials, plus ornamental trees and shrubs, too.

Fill your wheelbarrow with some manure (or compost), add lots of shredded leaves, pine needles, leaf mould (I rake up the goodies from the 'floor of my wee wooded area'), add a couple handfuls of blood meal for nitrogen and bonemeal for phosphorous. Shovel this organic goodness around your blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and the fruit trees, too. Everything!

That is it, so easy to organically feed your trees and shrubs.

Feed your garden beds, too. 

If you did not feed your gardens in fall, now is the perfect time to top dress your potager with manure or compost. Push in and around your perennial veggies and herbs. 

Prune fruit trees and roses before they leaf out, while you can still see the 'framework'.

Find out how your soil stacks up... 
and what to amend with for better results this season. 

Less than happy with last years garden results but not sure what to add this year so that you get the results you are looking for? Do a simple soil test.

Try something new this year... plant all kinds of great colourful veggies... like these Purple Podded Peas! 
This is what garden plans look like on Pinterest....

This is what mine look like, hahaha ...  

Planning and plotting your garden beds. 

Plot out your garden plans in whatever fashion works best for you, whether that is pen and paper or an on-line app.

I love paper and pen, and will save these plans, thoughts and ideas from year to year.   

When planning out your garden, be realistic about the time that you want to spend in the garden and the space you have to work with. Plan for the kind of garden and life style that you want to have.

I love to garden and am a poor traveler, nothing I like better than backyard holidays and yard puttering!

Happy Spring Gardening !