HELEN LANG: Fitting more peas into the pod

Wow! It’s a really, really chilly one today and the wind is very unkind.

Wow! It’s a really, really chilly one today and the wind is very unkind. It must be about the coldest day we’ve had all winter — but the snowdrops are bravely bloomimg and I have a small vase full of lovely ones from Anni’s garden. It was so kind of Anni to bring them! I loved that place and all the wonderful things I could grow there, including filbert nuts, apple trees (three varieties) and delicious, fat green grapes, fir trees, a cedar, a poplar and a flowerig dogwood — none of which grew in Prince George, where we had been living. It was heaven.

No sign yet of the spring flowering bulbs planted in a long box on the balcony. The minute the sun seems even slightly warm, I start peering into pots and boxes looking for bulbs poking above the soil. Forever the optimist. But I don’t want to miss those first signs of new life in the garden.

The first dandelion to show is greeted with a rousing whoop of joy which, in a month or so, is welcomed with a muttered curse, especially if it happens to be in the centre of a newly planted lawn! I’ve just been out to have a look but there isn’t even a sign of the ever hopeful chickweed.

It is almost time to put in green peas. In about another week you could put pea seeds in a saucer of warnish water on the kitchen draining board. They should show sign of life within a week but give them a few more days inside before making a one inch deep trench and planting the sprouted seeds about an inch apart. In a small area (in an 18” wide pot) plant your seed about an inch apart over the entire surface of the pot. Yes, they will be crowded, but it won’t matter as they will be pollinated and producing  a crop sooner. Make a circle  of chicken wire to fit just inside your pot as a support for the peas … the inner plants will have others to support them. No need for additional props. Save that space for more pea seeds!

What you are after isn’t the perfect spacing, just more peas per square inch. The seeds seem to like the company anyway.


Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.

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