Second crop of peas are soaking...

mulberryknobMarch 3, 2014

and should be ready to plant into the tubes by Wednesday. The first crop must go into the garden by Friday or they will be so spindly they will fall over. I left the lights on them last night for the extra heat. The temp went to 33 yesterday morning in the plant bench with the soil cable so I left them in there and turned on the lights. Then last evening covered the whole bench with plastic and a quilt. The minimum last night was 39. Inside the house it got down to 16 and only 19 in the warm room with a heater going. (I think that heater is getting bad as it barely blows warm air.) Still, considering that it went to 2 F here last night I guess that's not bad.

I had to take warm water from the house out to water them because the water buckets were all frozen.

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

This is in your greenhouse right? I have got to get my new one built this summer. the one built last year is at and now for my parents to enjoy.
My seed pack of peas keeps staring at me saying "please plant us" I am praying that by the next week or so I might be able to sow them in the garden.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 3:49PM
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Are these sugar snap peas?
I wanted to try again this year but hoping I could get something besides a pretty little plant. I know I am just planting too late. I guess its hard to find just the right time here.
last year I had no peas and the year before I only got a few. would really like to have enough to harvest a decent amount.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 4:13PM
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mk and luvn...Super Sugar snaps, and yes, in the greenhouse where my plant starting bench now resides. For years I planted my SSS peas in the ground directly with poor results. They wouldn't germinate well, something would eat them, they would germinate and then rot as I would learn on digging into the row. Then several years ago I watched a segment of Victory Garden and Kip was planting SSS peas that were maybe 3-4" tall. He said, "Peas will grow in cold soil but they won't germinate well in cold soil." Since then I have started mine inside, first by soaking them in the house and waiting for them to sprout, then putting them into small pots--peat pots at first like Kip did and later toilet paper tubes cut in half--and giving them a 2 week head start, first on the glassed porch and later in the greenhouse. It only takes two weeks from the time the seeds are soaked until they can go into the ground, but this year it will be 3 weeks. One year I thought I would skip the greenhouse step and I planted presprouted seeds directly into the ground. I got no better results than direct sowing--no more than half the plants came up; they rotted in the ground. Ever since doing it this way, I have had great succes with SSS peas, sometimes picking 3 gallons in a single day. (I plant a 50 ft row next to a cattle panel trellis.) Someone with a different soil and pest profile might have better luck direct sowing, but I have given up on it.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:23PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Awesome! I may pre-sprout and start mine next to the Toms and peppers this week.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:50PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I grow them the same way Dorothy does. Some years (in the sort of year when the cold weather didn't hang on much past the end of January here) I have been able to get a good crop from pea seed sown directly in the ground, but not as good of a stand as I get from soaking the seeds in water and sprouting them indoors first. Sugar snap peas grow great in cold weather and can tolerate a lot of cold weather with relatively little damage, but they can be slow to sprout in the cold soils and cold air temperatures. Since a major issue with gardening here in OK is that we often go from too cold to too hot much too quickly, anything we can do to get the cool season crops off to a good start helps us get good yields. I always feel like we are in a big rush to beat the heat, but it is essential to do so.

Sugar snap peas are one of my favorite things to grow and eat. They are so incredibly sweet and tender when cooked and eaten the same day harvested that it is almost hard to describe. I even like to munch on them raw. While fresh is best, in the years we get a big harvest, I freeze a bunch of them so we can enjoy them after sugar snap pea season has ended.

It is not at all too late to plant them now. I will get a good harvest from them in most years as long as I get them in the ground in March. How long they manage to hang on and produce depends on when the real summer heat arrives. Usually they still are producing at the end of May, and even into June. In a year that gets hot early, like 2011, for example, they shut down early or they get powdery mildew from hot temperatures.high humidity and they're as good as done when that happens. That's how it is here with all the cool-season crops.

While we do have, in theory, a really long growing season in Oklahoma, when we are talking about edible crops, our cool season in spring can be too short some years, but in other years, the cool-season crops can produce a great yield. In our worst pea season, we only got enough for a couple of meals because it got so hot (2011) so early and they started burning up in the heat without producing much. In our best year, we got about 45 lbs. of them and I had trouble getting all of them harvested, blanched and frozen in a timely manner because that 45 lbs. was being harvested along with all the other cool-season crops like broccoli, cabbage, etc. and the first harvest from the warm season crops was arriving at about the same time.

Y'all aren't too late to get sugar snap peas planted, but the longer you wait, the less likely it is you'll get a good harvest. Well, unless the cold weather hangs on for weeks and weeks and weeks yet, and who wants that?


    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 6:03PM
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Yeah, as I walked to the greenhouse today I remembered last year when we got our last frost along with over an inch of snow on May 3rd. That's 8 weeks from now. I certainly don't want that. I did have a fair crop of peas and broccoli last year but not as good as some years. I don't remember exactly which year that Dawn got her 45 lbs, but I got about the same that year. On the other hand I don't want another year like 2012 when our last frost was in midMarch. That was a great year for tomatoes and beans but it got too hot too fast for cool season stuff. Our average last frost is midApril. I'm hoping for that this year.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 6:30PM
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Our office closed today due to bad roads and I've taken the opportunity to soak some sugar snaps and start my tomatoes, peppers, eggplant seeds. Getting ready to start a bunch of herb seeds, too - and maybe some lettuce. I've always just thrown a few lettuce seeds in the ground but never really had any results. The critters love baby lettuce, evidently.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 6:34PM
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Mia, blood meal sprinkled close to your baby lettuce may protect it. Just be sure to wash it good after you pick it.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:07PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Dorothy, I am fairly certain we had the great snap pea year that you and I both remember in 2009.

It seems like it was the same year that we had a great broccoli harvest in May, tons of cabbage (I made sauerkraut and I think you made sauerkraut and/or kimchi ), oodles of snap peas and then all those pounds and pounds of peaches and plums in June and July. I remember that I had trouble keeping up with the fruit processing because the peas produced more deeply into the summer than usual---at least until mid-June and possibly later. I was still trying to harvest and process the peas, and then the jalapenos, peaches, plums and tomatoes were piled up all over the house waiting to be eaten, processed and/or given away.

I believe you and I both had almost more harvest of most things than we could handle that year. Does that sound familiar to you?

We started 2009 in drought that was carrying over from the last half of 2008 and we had bad wildfires in March and early April, particularly April 9, 2009. Then, the rain returned with a vengeance and our gardens went totally bonkers. I actually kept a written harvest log that year, likely because the yields were so good, and I found it tonight....and it has month and day on each page where I kept notes, but not the year. Still, I am almost positive it was 2009. Eventually I ran out of time and stopped logging the harvest.

Some of my notes show I harvested 4 lbs of tomatoes in April, 20 lbs in May, over 80 lbs. in June and then I stopped logging the tomato harvest. I had all those peas as mentioned earlier, 30 lbs of cabbage (hence, all the sauerkraut), and I didn't keep a page on the broccoli harvest, but it was a lot. That had to be 2009 because we had the monster record rainfall at the end of April and only the onions and potatoes suffered because they were too waterlogged for too long. Everything else grew like Jack's Beanstalk. At first, I was disappointed in the waterlogged root crops, but then all the non-root crops did so well that I didn't have time to worry and fret over it.

I'd love to have a 2009 type year again. With the fruit trees exposed to such cold weather this week, the fruit harvest will not equal 2009's, if there is a harvest at all.

I did love being able to put the tomato plants in the ground so very early in March in 2012 and I loved the harvest, although preserving it almost killed me. However, the snap peas were pitiful that year---probably the worst crop of snap peas ever. It was hard to keep up with the beans and tomatoes, but then, I wasn't spending time putting up any cool-season stuff so, in a harvest and canning sense, it was a poor spring but a great summer.

Mia, If I direct sow lettuce in the ground in March, every bird and every little animal that can creep, crawl or slither into the garden will eat it almost the minute it sprouts. I think it is because there is not a lot of green available in the pastures yet. If I direct sow lettuce seed in the ground in April, there's so much other green stuff growing that the animals don't bother it. I'm in a really rural area so I don't know if whatever gets your lettuce are the same things there in the city that I have here in the middle of nowhere. I mostly just grow lettuce in containers early in the year, and do a second sowing in the ground in April Sometimes I do a third sowing in late April or early May, and it is is a smallish container (small enough that Tim and I can move it, but too heavy for me to carry alone), That last sowing can be moved into heavy shade as the weather heats up in June.

I don't have to use blood meal to protect anything most years because our garden fence is almost 100% rabbit proof, although occasionally a tiny baby cottontail gets inside. I will use blood meal if I need to, and it is a great source of nitrogen even if I don't really have to use it to repel bunnies. However, it attracts buzzards, who give me the creeps by circling the garden all day long. Some of my oh-so-funny neighbors (love, love, love them I do!) stop by to ask if I am about to kick the bucket because the vultures are circling.

I really want a good pea harvest this year. Last year's was pretty good, but all that does is make me want for this year's to be even better. When the snap pea harvest is poor, we just don't have snap peas at all because I refuse to pay the prices the stores charge for organic sugar snap peas.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:01PM
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This is good information here. I just went to soak my peas. Last year I never got enough to even make a meal. I didn't plant enough peas and now I'm realizing I also planted too late. I'm so ready for this cold and snow to go away so I can start planting all my cool season veggies.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 2:57PM
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I have my suspicions, Dawn!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 4:19PM
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I keep seeing people talk about peas and it makes me want to plant some this year. I never do because it gets so hot here early. If the cold winter continues into a cool spring, I'd be sad if I missed out on cool season stuff. I think I'll try. They're going to have a short leash though. If they don't produce, they're getting yanked out so I can plant something else. I'm just going to grow whatever I have seeds for. I can't remember the name but it's Sugar Ann or Sprint or one of those others like it.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 4:35PM
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Dorothy, Dawn great thread. I will study this and get moving on this cuz I really want a good crop of the foods that I actually eat. I enjoy growing a variety for the flowers, the colors, textures, and definitely for sharing... but this year I have to focus on preserving food I can eat. my nearest good produce store is 100 miles away.
The year before last when I had sugar peas my young helper and I ate them as fast as they would grow, they never made it to a stir fry ! there were only a few a day but they were so good.
I may plant the whole new area along the fence in peas and see what happens.
How far apart would you space them?
I would love to pick 3 gallons in one day. My helper would do a backflip!
Also do they need full sun all day?
thanks yall

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 4:38PM
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Kim, I plant my toilet paper tubes cheek by jowl--actually touching each other--in a single row under the trellis. Some people plant a double row--one on each side, but that makes it more difficult to pick and I was missing too many pods. And yes they need a lot of sun. One end of my garden gets shade after about 4 in midsummer but til then they get full sun. (Although they don't usually last much past June 1) The other end gets even more sun. This year the only peas I am planting are Super Sugar Snap because they bear the best for me. I raised Mammoth Melting Sugar last year but they didn't produce enough and weren't as sweet as the SSS.

Dawn the good pea year may have been 09 but that wasn't a good fruit year for us. The ice storm of Jan 09 "pruned" our fruit trees so heavily that a lot of their energy went into vegetative growth. Our best fruit year was 11. We got 24" of rain in March and April, only about 2" in June and July and then 8" in August. That brought on an abundance of fruit. We actually had pears and peaches last year too despite all the late frosts. They were light frosts not severe enough to kill the buds.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 6:11PM
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