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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Give Peas A Chance

The only reason, the only reason that we are having a return of winter weather is that I planted peas a couple of days ago.  They're calling for a chance of snow on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings, with a few freezing overnights.

I really thought I was behind schedule on the peas.  We've been having beautiful sunny days in the fifties the last couple of weeks. The birds are boisterous, the tulips and daffodils are popping up, there's a ton of new growth on the roses and new buds on everything else.  Everything was giving the appearance of an early spring, so I planted peas.  Then Ma Nature sucker-punched me.

I noticed today that some of the peas appear to be popping to the surface, but I don't know if that's because they're starting to sprout (probably not) or because I did a crappy job of getting them into the ground (more likely).

Danni, who writes the On the Way to Critter Farm blog suggested I throw a hoop house over them, and posted a link (that guy has some really good ideas, Danni, so thanks for that).  I was only able to manage a half-assed hoop house today because I'd forgotten that I'd cut up the half-inch PVC I used last year for this year's Hoop De Don't, which is a half-assed hoop house on steroids.  By the way, Steve is none too pleased with me for all the money I spent on it, and then didn't use it this winter.  The biggest reason I didn't use it was because it was a hassle to get into- I hadn't wanted to have to frame a door, so I made it as a giant version of last year's hoops, and it didn't work.  The fellow* over at YardFarmer on YouTube (the guy that Danni linked) built a hoop house very similar to my first one, which was also a hassle to get into, but he has a couple of ideas for rolling up the sides so that you can work in the hoop that I liked. The ends of his house were almost as cumbersome as mine, and I didn't like that he left the ends somewhat open.  I'm going to give it some thought and see if I can't come up with the right thing that will make hoop houses a lot easier to put together and use.

In the meantime, I think I'd better order some more pea seed.

* Be forewarned that he's a little boring.  He has really good ideas, though.


Grandpa said...

Clever title there, Paula.

I suppose we all have to learn to be with nature - to take its good and not-so-good in our strides.

Good luck with the peas.

Rachel said...

Hi Paula,
I've spent the past week or so reading all your past posts. I really like your blog and how you respond to everyone's comments and answer all the questions, including giving recipes. There are many blogs where the writer doesn't respond. I was wondering what happened with the medical encoding and if you'd considered taking advertisers for your blog? I follow alot of decorating blogs and they seem to have alot of advertisers. I've seem some of them say they charge $25 a month to have the advertisers button at the top or off to one side of the page. Might not replace an income, but could supplement the gardening budget.

Paula said...

Hey Grandpa! Glad to hear from you again. It's been awhile and I was a little worried about you. Thanks for the luck! I think I'll need it...

Paula said...

Hi Rachel- I'm glad you like my blog. I try to answer everyone, but I don't have that many followers, and it probably helps that I'm currently unemployed. I sometimes wonder what would I do if I got so many comments that I couldn't keep up with all of them. Right now, every time I get a comment it's like a little gift! But- I've worked in a place where you'd go to lunch and come back to work from lunch and have seventy-five emails in your inbox! I hope I never have to deal with that kind of traffic again. So I'll keep up as long as I can!

I gave up on medical coding. It turned out that you can't get hired without accredited schooling, and I couldn't find that. Even our local, accredited community colleges didn't have programs that could guarantee my training.

As far as advertising goes, I've thought about it, but I don't want to offend my few readers- okay- there are only forty-four. I figured that some day, if it ever gets there, I would ask my readers if they minded. I myself don't really like advertising, but, I also ignore advertising pretty well, so other people's ad streams don't bother me that much. It would be a start on Goal No. 27, but- I don't think my blog or I am ready.

However, if everybody clamors for advertising, I'll consider adding it sooner, rather than later!!

Heidianne said...

Hello Paula, greetings from scenic Milwaukie, near the lovely Willamette river. I haven't gotten the peas in yet, I'm still leery of a freeze, but now I feel inspired to go get them in the dirt. What inocculant do use for them? I always just plop them in the dirt, and hope they grow.

Paula said...

Oh that scenic Milwaukie! Hi Heidianne! hey- don't go by me- I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to peas- this is the first time I've tried them. I know two very definite things about homegrown peas: one is that you have to either blanch and freeze them right away or cook and eat them after harvest because they spoil incredibly quickly, and the other thing is that they do much better if you plant them inoculated. As for timing, I am all wrong, it would appear; you are wise to be leery of a freeze, since it seems likely that we'll be getting one this week, and the weather is not likely to warm for awhile. At least the ten-day forecast seems to indicate that winter will be hanging in there for awhile. Nuts...

The inoculant I used was the Legume Inoculant on page twenty-four of the 2011 Fedco seed catalog, number 798LG which treats 8 pounds of peas or beans for $4.50. (Shocking!! Advertising?!) See

Jim Brewster said...

I have a feeling your peas will be just fine even without a cover. Once they germinate they can tolerate some snow and heavy freezes just fine. Besides you've got plenty of time to replant. Here on the East Coast there is a much narrower window between unworkable winter soil and intolerable spring/summer heat. Across a broad swath from Ohio to Long Island to Virginia there is a tradition that says peas and potatoes should be in the ground by St. Patrick's Day. Here in central MD I'm aiming for the first weekend of March, but that is only because I just dug the beds yesterday. I probably could have planted a week or more ago if I a) had the beds ready, b) presoaked the seeds to give them a head-start on germination, c) took care not to plant them too deeply in the heavy clay soil.

Good luck! Plant more peas if you like, but don't write these off yet!

Rae said...

It was dumping snow at an unbelievable rate at our place this morning. We're at 1000 ft, though. Turned to rain when I hit 205.

I usually didn't start peas or beans until April at our place in Oregon City. But I was a chicken... If you start early, you can reap great rewards, but I was never brave enough. :)

hbierlich said...

I'm pretty sure that you have a lot more readers than just the 44 "followers". For example, I read every entry, but the whole idea of signing up to be an official "follower" seems really repulsive to me. I think that's probably just because of an unfortunate choice of designation. I have always been much more a leader than a follower. ;-)

Albedo said...

Hi Paula,
As one of your followers I feel duty bound to point out my mesh tunnels ('hoop houses') on my blog post entitled Beat Those Bugs - see They may need modifying to suit your local conditions/crops, but are sturdy enough to survive Hebridean gales.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Ohhh, Paula - I'm so sorry about the weather but boy, oh, boy - it's going to be an interesting next few days, isn't it? I laughed so hard at your final asterisked comment at the bottom of your post - I was literally banging my hand against my head, when I watched the video the first time, yelling "just get to the DETAILS!!" But once he did, I liked the way he did his hoop house. There has to be a better way to do the ends, though. He mentioned experimenting with longer plastic and then cutting where to sides and ends meet to make flaps - this might work.
And, hey, thanks for linking to me. :-)

Paula said...

Hi Jim- thanks for the words of encouragement. The package says eight to twenty-five days to germination, which is a long time to find out how bad you screwed up. I'll probably get some more seed, just for insurance, because you know- if I don't, they'll surely fail, and if I do, they'll probably come up. In any case, I hope you're right!

Rae- you'll have to tell me how well they did planted in April- both the OSU extension site and the package said to plant peas before mid-March (if they weren't enation-resistant varieties).

Ha ha, hbierlich. You should think of it as a train of thought being followed, rather than as a lemming. Maybe that would help. Lead on!

Albedo- I will check out your mesh tunnels. I haven't had a problem so far with my regular hoops being sturdy...they're just a hassle to get into. Last year I had a bed that had lettuce, cabbage and carrots in it that I covered in Agribon row cover fabric, and everything inside went gangbusters! The only problems I had were with the slugs, but I think I have a solution for that which I'll try this year.

Hi Danni- I almost gave up on him, but thought, no Danni thought enough of what he was doing to show him to me, so I must watch this through. Excruciating. Bully for you for sticking it out to the bitter end all by yourself! ...and you're welcome.

Rae said...

They always did fine where I had them. May have been because the area was in shade a good portion of the day. I think it helped me start a bit later, and extend my pea season a while, being out of the direct heat. I'm antsy about the new place and where I'm going to plant everything this year... May take me a couple years to get all the best areas figured out.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

My hoophouse experience is teaching me that some plants have the magical ability to survive temperatures lower than you ever thought they could. I've got radish sprouts that made it through temperatures below zero, so I'm routing for your peas.

And by all means take advertising. Anything that helps continue a project like this, which takes an inordinate amount of your time, is a good thing.