Peas are not one of my favorite things to eat. However, they sell well at the farm market, and they make a wonderful secondary feed crop for the sheep and cattle over winter. Thankfully, we can get two crops in for both the table and the hay loft.
This year I’m growing a generic garden pea. It’s short, doesn’t need a trellis, and can tolerate a little heat. The back portion of the garden still has heavier clay soil even though we’re on the second year of mulching. It was in much rougher shape to start. Therefore, peas are beans and best suited to this part of the garden.
I soaked the peas in water over night, drained, rinsed a few times in spring water, and then placed then in my trusty old egg carton lid with a wet cotton cloth over the top. Three days later they had root sprouts.
Planting peas is pretty straightforward. I made a furrow about an inch deep, put them root side down, and covered with loose soil. Four days later we had pea shoots coming up. Within a week they were unfolding their true leaves.
Peas are an easy, versatile crop for both the small holder, and the home gardener. Plant them as soon as the ground is workable or heavy rains pass. In many areas they can be planted again in the late summer. Our main crop peas take about 80 days from planting to harvest. If you want table peas, pick often so they contain to produce. If you are looking for an inexpensive grain alternative, pick two or three times and then allow the entire plant to begin drying before making hay. Then thresh the peas. Save a few peas from each plant for next year’s crop. The cracked peas can be fed to chickens and cattle. The pea hay is suitable as a grain substitute for both sheep and cattle.
Be well and in Peace,
Moriah and the flock