Northern Nevada gardening and landscaping: Pea planting time nears | Carson City Nevada News

After the year we’ve been on hold for just so long, I feel encouraged that it’s time to plant peas again. This makes life feel almost normal. St. Patrick’s Day is the traditionally designated time to get peas into the ground while the ground is thawed and ready for cultivation.

I love fresh English or garden peas, straight from the pod. At a young age, even the pods are edible (unless you plant sugar peas or snow peas, which are edible as long as the pods are tender). The tender pea sprout tips are also edible and can be steamed or sautéed. Peas are easy to grow and there are a number of delicious varieties.

Peas thrive in well-drained, composted soil with a pH between 6 and 7.5. Northern Nevada has a relatively short growing season because peas don’t like our hot summers. Optimal growth temperatures are between 55 and 65 degrees. Pea plants start growing when temperatures rise above 40 degrees and stop producing when temperatures reach 85 degrees or more.

The actual soil temperature controls how quickly the seeds germinate. Warmer soils allow for faster germination. For staggered harvests, plant a second batch of seeds a week and a second week later. Young plants can survive light frosts, but plants that are beginning to bloom can be damaged by frost. Therefore, watch the weather and cover the plants as necessary. They like full sun. They usually take around 60 days from planting to harvest.

Tall grape varieties are planted in a row at the base of a trellis and grow along strings or nets between the stakes. Bush varieties can be planted either in a row next to a trellis or in a 12 to 18 inch wide row where the plants grow together for support.

Soak the seeds overnight before planting. Dig a shallow trench and place the seeds six to seven inches apart, an inch deep for a single row, or two inches apart in all directions for wide rows. Cover the seeds with soil and press firmly to ensure good contact between the seeds and soil. Water carefully but well.

As the plants grow, water the soil, not the leaves, and keep the soil moderately moist, but not moist. Remember that sandy soils require water more often than clay soils. Peas need little fertilizer. Mulching the soil saves moisture and reduces weeds. Keep weeds out of your pea patch, but be careful not to chop the peas’ shallow roots. More information can be found here.

– JoAnne Skelly is Associate Professor & Extension Educator Emerita at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at [email protected]

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