I have heard from more experienced gardeners than myself, that it is an option to plant peas in the fall for the next spring’s harvest. This makes sense to me and it IS still fall. Peas are definitely a cool season vegetable. They start to turn brown and inedible practically the moment the heat of an Idaho summer hits. They take just long enough to reach maturity, that the limited spring often means fairly small crops. If I don’t have to wait for the ground to thaw or a break in the weather, I can get a jump on that. So, I have been researching which variety of peas to plant, and I think, especially with this mild fall, I can fit planting into the early Christmas season.
There were no pea seeds to be found in garden stores in my vicinity week. Christmas ornaments were hanging were I remembered having seen them last… It would have been convenient to be able to get to planting them today. However, the descriptions on line are more thorough, so I wasn’t too disappointed to have to come home and order them online. I chose two varieties to compare results from in the spring. Here is what I considered:
- Serge peas are ready sooner, in 68 days, the specs say. Judging from the past, I should be able to count on a harvest from these.
- Serge peas are listed as self-supporting. All the other varieties that I have grown that say “self-supporting” end up as a huge jumbled mass that I find hard to pick through, but the kids don’t seem deterred. I have tried letting the peas grow up against wire landscaping fencing, but they just fall over the other direction. So, I would like to try to get this a little more support, but it won’t be absolutely necessary.
- Alderman peas are listed as being ready in 85 days. I wouldn’t even try this if I wasn’t planting in the fall.
- Alderman peas grow 6 -8 feet tall, so will require a trellis. I may be able to make this work along the same trellis where I want to grow sunflowers. It is possible that the sunflowers may even provide some shade, extending the peas productivity some?
- Both kinds of peas are open pollinated, so I can give seed saving a try. Peas are apparently self-pollinating, too, but occasionally bees do get in to affect cross pollination, so I have already chosen a second planting area about 100 feet away from the first. It’s one of the benefits of living on an acre. And, this is where Idaho weather should be to my advantage, if I can force myself to leave enough of the peas on the vine to dry for seed.
I paid a couple of dollars extra in order to get the seeds here sooner, so should be able to plant next week, barring heavy snow or a deep arctic blast. (Specifics about planting peas can be found in this article from last year) I should consider going out to mulch the ground where I want to plant. I have plenty of left-over straw. Labeling is also more of a problem. I don’t think my usual wooden craft sticks for spring planting will hold up over the winter. I have a few metal ones that are already marked for other crops. I think I will ask my inventive husband if he has any materials that I could use.
Possibly it is an odd time of year to order seeds and be planting in the garden, but I have ordered Christmas gifts today, too, so be of good cheer!