There are some people
I have talked to who insist that St. Patrick’s Day is the day to plant peas. No
matter the weather, the condition of the soil, or the condition of the
gardener. You get them in on March 17! I will admit to being a bit less fanatic
in my pea-planting views. You see, I have also read that if you stick those
peas in the ground when the soil is still very cold, it can take them up to a
month to germinate and grow! On the other hand, if you just wait a bit
longer—say—early April, when the soil has warmed up a bit, they will germinate
within 10-14 days. So the later planting tends to catch up to the earlier
I am hoping that is
truly the case, because my garden is not ready for any type of planting just
yet! I failed to get a soil test done last year, and I paid the price for my
impatience! Soil fertility was very patchy last year. Even though we tilled in
a goodly amount of composted steer manure, some things did great (sweetmeat
squash, tomatoes) and others didn’t do well at all (beans, cucumbers.)
So this year I knew
that I had to get a soil test. At the very least I need a baseline to go from
in my soil amending.
It just so happens
that I dug all my somewhat-evenly-spaced holes all over the garden, as
directed, took a slice out of the side of the hole, and put only the middle
section of each slice in a bucket, and stirred. As directed. After all that,
they really only want 2 cups worth of soil. I sure hope I stirred it up well
enough to get a decent reading on what’s going on! Also, I hope no-one falls
into one of my holes in the garden before I get them filled back in. I was
feeling pretty proud of myself. Got it sent off. Done! Check it off!
Then I realized—it’s
March 17 tomorrow. I’m behind schedule! My sweet peas are getting leggy (I’ve
already pinched them once) under the lights, and it is really time to get this
show on the road! Except now I’m waiting for soil test results, and then I will
order the amendments, and buy the supports, and you know—do a lot of shoveling
and tilling and such. THEN I can get my “plant in early spring” stuff put in.
Can you see why I
went ahead with the poppies last week? I’m probably a good 2 weeks out as it is
with all this other stuff. I will still sow seeds that won’t go into the garden
proper, while I’m waiting. I want dill along the fence, between the peonies,
and chamomile around the base of one of my peach trees. Yes, there will be
plenty to do between now and then. Here’s hoping my sweet peas survive inside
By the way, you do
know what I’m talking about when I say “sweet peas,” right? The flower, not the
sugar snap edible peas. Please don’t ever eat any part of the sweet pea
vine—it’s a bit toxic, so I’ve heard. Even though they’re not the same thing,
they seem to like the same kind of weather—cool to cold.
What about you? Are
you a die-hard March 17 pea planter, or do you wait until a few more weeks?
This fine patch of
peas grew in my Washington garden. These are the edible kind, in case you
hadn’t figured that one out already!