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Pre-Sprouting Peas

March 24, 2015 | By | 1 Reply More

pre-sprouting peas

Peas coming up in my garden – May 2014

If I was a conventional sort of gal (or gardener) I would have already planted my peas. They say that St. Patrick’s Day is the day to plant peas in the garden. My very first year, I did just that and well, it wasn’t good. Just like my tomatoes that first year, my pea harvest was almost non-existent because many of my plants just didn’t come up.

Later, as I gained confidence in gardening, I realized that “they” don’t always know everything. The best time to plant peas has little to do with the calendar date and much more to do with the weather and soil temperature. For the last two years, St. Patrick’s Day in my area has been met with still-lingering piles of heavy wet snow in the garden beds that only serve to rot pea seeds before they can sprout and grow.

pre-sprouting peas

Right out of the seed packet

I discovered that pre-sprouting peas and waiting just a few weeks longer to plant greatly increases my germination rate and I get a bigger crop of sweet, fresh peas. Pre-sprouted peas already have the beginnings of a root, so rotting is less of a problem. This little trick is so easy to do and you’ll be glad you took the time.

Tips for Pre-Sprouting Peas

Start by taking your soil temperature every few days beginning in mid-March. Once your soil has reached 45°, it’s time to start pre-sprouting your peas. Soil in raised beds warms up faster, so depending on your climate and region, you might start checking soil temperature even earlier.

To pre-sprout peas, you will need: pea seeds, a spray bottle filled with water, paper towels, a small piece of cardboard, and a plastic zip-top bag.

pre-sprouting peas

A few days on the windowsill

Cut the piece of cardboard to a size that will fit into the bag and you can slide it in and out easily. Stack a couple of paper towels and place your pea seeds on one half of the paper towel. Spray them and the paper towel liberally with water. Fold the other half of the paper towel over the peas and carefully put the paper towel on the piece of cardboard. Slide the whole thing into the plastic bag and place on a windowsill.

Every day, slide the cardboard and paper towel out of the bag and check in on your peas. Spritz them thoroughly with water and place back in the bag. Within a few days, you’ll begin seeing little sprouts coming from some of the peas.

When all of the peas have a little root on them (some of them may have only the beginnings of a root but that’s OK), it’s time to plant. Sow the peas roots down. Handle them gently because the roots can be brittle and will easily break. Don’t worry about spacing – plant them thickly. You can thin them later and eat the thinned pea shoots in a spring salad.

pre-sprouting peas

Ready to plant!

Try planting two crops of peas, two weeks apart, for a prolonged harvest. Don’t forget to give them something to climb!

Fresh peas are a fleeting but delightful spring treat and homegrown beats anything in the freezer section of your local grocery. I can usually harvest peas in the Tomato Envy garden for a period of about three weeks. Harvest them at least every other day when they’re at peak production – this encourages the plant to make even more peas.



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Category: General, Home and Garden, Kitchen Garden

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  1. Arugula and Pea Shoot Salad - Tomato Envy : Tomato Envy | May 19, 2015

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