If you’re reading this, you likely live on Hansard an you might have scanned the pea seed jar. In this quick review, I will share with you about theses seeds and the basics to planting and caring for them. Please take only as many seeds as you need for your garden so that other neighbors may also get seeds.
These peas seeds come from my garden in the backyard from peas I allowed to overgrow and dry up for the purpose of producing seeds. They are a sweet pea, but it has been a few years since I bought the original seeds, so I can’t tell you much more than that.
Plant in March & August
You will want to plant them in mid-March for a June/July crop (if you take good care of them, they will continue to produce through September) or again in early-August for a October harvest (these won’t produce as much of a crop, but they are good to have to get you some fresh veggies in the fall). Prior to planting, soak the seeds in water for 24 hours to give them a good start at growing.
Lots of Sun and Something To Climb
They should be planted where there’s a fair amount of sunlight and something for them to climb. If you have a trellis or fence, stick them near there. Be aware that anything you plant north of these peas will get a bit of shade so plan your placement ahead of time. Keep your peas well watered, but let them dry out a little bit between watering so not to rot the roots.
Harvest Either Flat or Plump
When these pea pods start to appear, they will be a bit flat, but they will plump up as time goes on. The flatter they are, the more tender and you can use full, flat, pea pods in stir fries. The plumper pods are great for snacking and deshelling.
Every Plant Grows A Lot
You only need 3-4 pea plants per family member if you intend on freezing some. Otherwise, don’t plant more than 2 plants per person eating peas.
Easy To Collect Seeds From
If you find your pea plant drying up and turning yellow, it is nearing the end of the plants life. Dried up pea pods can be used for seeds, and if you don’t want to use them, feel free to drop them back off at the garden table for us to distribute to more neighbours!
As January turned to February, my seed collection suddenly started jumping out of their storage site and just started screaming at my like my toddler “time to plant, time to plant, time to plant”. I have my seeds organized by month to plant which is evidently a mistake because all I want to do as soon as the calendar says it’s the first of the month, I want to get them rolling.
Now, obviously, February is too early to be planting outdoors, even in zone 8a, but there’s plenty of seeds that I was able to start indoors, and some that I maybe should have waited to start, but where’s the fun in that?
Below is a diagram of what I have cooking up in my window, getting ready to be planted outdoors
A – Holly Hock B – Homegrown banana pepper C – Homegrown jalapeno D – Guajillo pepper E – Bell pepper F – Jalapeno G – Red hot cherry peppers
H – Habanero peppers I – Mixed hot peppers J – Cherry bomb peppers K – Tomatillo L – Peanuts M – Rosemary N – Red cabbage
O – Green cabbage P – Beefsteak tomato Q – Black eyed Susans (vine) R – Romaine lettuce Sm – San marzano tomato T – Sweet aroma tomato
I soaked all my seeds before planting (excluding the peanuts) and I am itching to get them outside, mostly because Cecilia (daughter-person) keeps trying to play in the dirt that’s inside and very clearly out for her to play in.
I tend to these babies daily (in order to do so, I have to move a couch, set a curtain aside, and turn a bookshelf, but whatever I need to do to protect them from my kid) and am counting down in my calendar for when I can start hardening them off.
Slowly exposing seedlings that were raised in controlled conditions (such as indoors without wind and with constant temps) through visits outdoors before planting them in the garden.
I’m also learning so much from my propagation class. Too much. It makes my plans get crazier and crazier. But at least for now, the outdoor gardens are pretty quiet. I have kale and radishes planted in my raised bed, cilantro in my new 3 sisters plot (later in the year, when everything is warmer and after my troves of cilantro is harvested for cilantro relish, the plot will belong to beans, corn, and squash), I just got my first ever batch of potatoes in the ground, of course I have my garlic planted and growing from November, with some spinach planted among it, and my perennial everbearing strawberries are just starting to perk up again. The garden is starting to see a lot of action and I’m dreaming of when my plots will be teeming with new life.
2020 was my first real year of garden production aside from the few strawberries and heads of romaine I grew in 2019. When I started out in 2020, my goal was to record and track my garden imputes and outputs to use for a possible portfolio project to get into a bachelor’s program. That was a joke. Me doing 4 additional years of school, not the garden tracker. As the year developed, my attitude toward the project evolved from a professional standing to a general garden journal to keep track of what I planted, where I planted, how much I planted, what I harvested, and what did and didn’t work for me. It definitely falls into one of my more prized possessions at this point.
The harvest data that I collected in this format was all transcribed into a Google sheets document with formulas and all sorts of important information so that I could take all the items harvested, apply a dollar amount to it, and using that data to determine the success or failure of my year. I will get more into my record keeping and how I do it in another post.
The first thing I planted in my brand new garden plot in 2020 was radishes and I transplanted my chives into the bed. One of the first things I learned when planting was that I did not need to plant 2+ seeds per hole for my radishes as my germination rate was excellent. I also learned that the spacing I had understood (which was each square foot could take 2 rows of 6) was something I didn’t really have to care for. I now plant my radishes in 3 rows of 5 in 1 square foot. Anyway, when looking at my harvest records, radishes were my first 2021 harvest, pulling 10 out of the ground on April 23rd (to note here, I planted 29 seeds and only got 10 radishes out. That means I had to kill 2/3 of my seedlings because every. one. of. my. seeds. took. Looking back, this makes me pretty irate.
The percentage of planted seeds that develop into seedlings
So the radishes were planted for Jim (husband man) as he likes them to snack. This season they will also be planted for Cecilia (daughter person) as she’s just as weird as Jim and loved snacking on them this past year. I did a number of radish planting throughout the 2020 season, and ultimately I ended up harvesting 64 radishes in total; not bad for a $2.30 pack of seeds. Also not bad? I let three radishes go to seed and I ended up with more radish seeds for this year than I can count. I will be planting more in 2021 as Jim and Cecilia can go through 20/week if I let them. My goal is 1 square foot a week.
I want to point out here that when purchasing radishes from the store, they sell them in bunches of around 10 roots, for a cost of around $1.48/bunch (in season). With this in mind, I grew almost $`10 worth of radishes in 2020, which means after 25% of my crop was harvested (or approximately 16 radishes) the rest were all profit! Putting my harvest into numbers like these really helped me to feel accomplished and satisfied with my growing.
Looking at all the produced harvested from my garden in 2020 and my hand dandy spreadsheets, my most successful crop of all was basil, grossing approximately $140 worth of produce in the one year, which is nuts. I bought a total of three basil plants (I can’t seem to get a good start going from seed) and ended the year with more than 12 basil plants. The plants cost me around $3.60 for all three, which means I “made a profit” of $136.40 on my frickin’ basil. THAT IS NUTSO BANANAS! Like I can’t comprehend nuts. You’ll note in the image below that I count basil per pack; this is the amount in one small package that I would normally purchase at Superstore, and I did this measurement by using a pack I had from the last time I had purchased a herb there, and putting as much basil in there as they do. I probably put more in, because it was easier with the sheer amount I was harvesting, but it worked as a general measurement as weight was not a good indicator for how much basil I was usually harvesting.
Another crop that did particularly well was peas! In 2020 I planted 6 (yes, only 6) pea plants and my yield was about 12lbs of peas. And this didn’t include the peas I sent to seed or the ones my loving husband and daughter stole off of my plant when I wasn’t looking or measuring. So from each plant I got a full two pounds of produce. Nuts.
My plants that didn’t do very well were my tomatoes (I planted too late, I didn’t give them proper care, and so many other things went wrong here, including a short and cute tomato thief) and I only ended up yielding cherry tomatoes, and only like 4 lbs. from the 6 plans I had. I can do better.
Looking at squashes, I yielded 37 lbs. from my cucumbers and 56 lbs. from my pumpkins, though I did only get three pumpkins total.
The last crop that did particularly well was my mints, though I did do a fairly big harvest part way through the year and decimated the plant. This year I will not be doing that and hopefully harvesting far more so that I can dry it out for tea. Jim’s favorite outcome from this year’s garden was probably the tea (thank you, dehydrator)!
What I got out of this year (aside from my excellent yield which totaled $642.11 when converted into grocery store prices) was reassurance that I can grow things, I do not have killing hands, and with a little bit of patience, anyone can grow. I will be applying everything that I learned and retained to my garden this year, and I am low-key hoping that my bountiful garden full of edible annuals, beautifully arranged as landscaping, will piss off the nosey neighbor that neigh-sayed my weird front yard pumpkin patch this past year. Because I’m just that kind of person, I guess.