I love peas, but they aren’t as easy to grow around here as I thought they’d be. Last year I waited too long to plant them and then their growing season was cut short by a very hot start to the summer. I didn’t know it, but peas stop flowering when temperatures are above 80 degrees. Because of this, they should be planted in early spring, but not before the soil warms up – they germinate best when the soil temperature reaches 60 degrees.
This year I planted one thousand Lincoln pea seeds in the middle of March. Lincoln peas are supposed to do well in a warmer climate, and I was hoping to grow enough peas to last us six months or maybe even the year. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned.
Though peas can tolerate a light frost, they will take forever to come up if the soil temperature is much below 60 degrees. I must have planted them somewhere in-between forty and sixty degrees, because my peas appeared about two weeks after planting, but were slow to start really growing. Hoping to learn where peas grow best in my garden, I planted the peas in a few different areas – one patch by the corn, one along the fence, and along the outside edges of three raised beds.
The peas by the corn patch did ok, but once the corn grew up a foot or so, the corn stalks blocked the water from reaching them and they only fared moderately well. Those peas were the first to come up, so I left the whole area to grow until the pods dried, and I saved those peas for a fall planting. The peas I planted along the fence were eaten by the chickens (who reached farther into the garden than I though possible), and of the three raised bed areas, the two that had trellis supporting them did the best. The unsupported peas produced pea pods that had fewer peas inside than the trellised ones. Perhaps the flowers were harder to fertilize? I’m not sure.
Lincoln peas are listed as taking 65 days to maturity. Mine ended up taking 85 days before the first pods were ready to pick, and I was able to harvest peas every few days for three weeks before the weather was so hot they weren’t producing anymore. In my original garden plan, I thought I would be able to plant the peas in the spring and then have the harvest in right as I was aiming to plant the summer garden. It didn’t turn out that way, and I wasn’t able to plant other vegetables in the beds with the peas in them when I wanted to. Next year I’ll just have to get my husband to make me a few more garden beds. 😊
After all was said and done, we were able to put up nine pounds of peas (blanched and then frozen), and saved a jar of seeds for planting. As satisfying as it felt to have a freezer full of peas, I can see that they will probably be eaten up by the end of summer. My plan is to plant them again in August and hope that the weather will cool down enough in September and October for a big crop.
Hope your garden is green, and your porch is shady and cool.