Did Spring Find You?

April 29, 2013 | 3:04 pm

Spring has finally arrived, and it is everything I had hoped it to be!

 

No looking back now: I have tilled the garden, and planting has begun.  I could hardly wait to run my hands through the cool earth and rejoice in the beginning of a new garden season. As a gardener, I am sure you share the same small joy received from waking up the garden after a long winter.

 

Gardening begins with a question; what do we plant this year? I asked my daughters what they wanted to plant first, peas or potatoes. They chose peas, their favorite vegetable. Peas are a very cold tolerant plant and should be planted early, as soon as the soil is dry enough to work. We chose a shelling pea, which means that after harvest, we will remove the pea from the pod.

 

I tried something new this year; I soaked the peas in a bowl of water for twelve hours. This is supposed to help speed up the germination process. I was amazed at how quickly the wrinkly seeds swelled up with water.  I had to add more water, because the seeds had absorbed so much. It’s important NOT to let the peas dry out after soaking them.

 

We measured out five ten-foot rows and used a string line to make each row straight. Using the string as a guide, I used my hoe to trench a shallow row to plant the peas in. Following the instructions on the seed packet, we spaced the pea seeds two inches apart and put about an inch of soil on top of the seed.  Then, we watered, and I will continue to keep the soil moist until the seeds emerge from the soil. Peas like cool soil, so I will also add a layer of straw mulch between the rows when the seeds have sprouted. This mulch will keep the soil cool and moist, as well as keep the weeds from germinating.

 

When the peas are about two inches tall, I will fertilize just once. Adding nutrients to the soil is an important step and should not be forgotten. You could add a balanced granular fertilizer, liquid fertilizer or well composted manure to the soil.

 

With a slight sunburn and dirty hands, I had experienced spring! The best part was that I got to do it with my three junior gardeners. Next up, potatoes!