Posts tagged peas

Give Peas A Chance

PeaPodFresh homegrown peas will always beat the taste of any that you buy from the store and there are tons of varieties (early, midseason and late) that you can choose from.  Make sure you know what kind you choose (there are edible seeds and edible pods) and that you provide the right growing conditions. If you plant different varieties you can ensure a longer harvest. You can also plant seeds or seedlings every couple of weeks to ensure a continual harvest throughout the season. Peas are a cool weather crop that can survive light frosts and don’t tolerate high temperatures. This means that you can generally plant them in the Spring and Late Summer (about 7 weeks before last expected frost date) when temperatures aren’t to warm.

When planting peas you’ll want to make sure you’re in a spot with that has had plenty of organic matter worked into it, such as bone meal, which has a high phosphorus reading. It is not necessary to work in organic matter that is high in nitrogen. Peas produce their own nitrogen, so adding it to the soil will only result in lush plants with few pods. You can help to speed up germination by inoculating your peas, or soaking them in water. When ready, plant peas about 1 1/2 inches deep and 2 inches apart, in rows that are about 6 to 8 inches apart.

Hydroponic peas climbing a trellis

Hydroponic peas climbing a trellis

Make sure plants get adequate amounts of water. Too-much water will slow plant growth, where as, drought can leave you with low yields, so you’re best bet is keeping the soil evenly moist, but not water-logged. It’s also a good idea to give your peas something to climb, a trellis, bamboo stakes, or even an old ladder. Peas will use their tendrils to grab on and climb whatever is around, so it’s better to provide them with something than having them climb and choke out another plant.

Don’t let pea pods go for to long on the vine, no more than about three weeks after blossoming. If you leave them on the plant to long they turn hard and have a starchy flavor. For that reason alone, I always recommend harvesting them early rather than late. Edible pods, such as snow peas, should be somewhat flat, if they show signs of big, bulky peas on the inside, they’re not going to be good anymore. You can still use them like you would garden peas, but they won’t be as sweet. On the other hand, if you are growing shelling/garden peas, you’ll want to pick them when they are bright green and plump. Harvesting from your plant daily will encourage new blossoms to form, so get out in the garden and pick those peas. You’ll  want to eat, cook, can or freeze peas as soon as you pick them, they immediately start loosing their sweetness once they’re plucked from the vine.

1281353090168If you have questions or need anything stop down at Big Bloom Hydroponics in Tonawanda, located just minutes from the thruway. We’re here seven days a week for you and your gardens.


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Time To Plant Those Fall Crops

lettuceYou’ve been working hard all season, trimming, watering, picking off bugs, fending off disease and most importantly harvesting lots of delicious fruits and veggies.  But now it’s time to start getting in that second round off crops into your garden. That’s right, extend your growing season – try out some new veggies that like the cooler temps of late summer and fall.

You might be saying to yourself, “Where could I possibly fit anymore crops?” Don’t worry, there’s always room for more. For instance, there are probably bare spots in your garden from where you’ve harvested early crops, such as zucchini or yellow squash. Maybe you’ve just had enough summer squash and you’re ready to remove the plants.

soil First thing you’re going to want to do is remove the old crop and either add it to your compost pile or throw it out. Next, and most importantly, you’ll want to build your soil back up, it is probably a little depleted after feeding the previous crops. Adding a little compost, kelp meal, worm castings, fish meal, bat guano and/or bone meal will help build it back up and keep your fall crops happy.

Good options for fall crops are fast maturing and cold weather tolerant. Some examples are herbs, lettuce, kale, spinach, sugar snap peas, beans, carrots, and radishes. I recommend planting all of these directly in the soil; the soil is warm now, so your seeds should germinate quickly. These crops can be planted between July and early August to give you enough time to harvest before the winter gets here.

Another good rule of thumb is to have a plan of attack incase of frost. Tossing out seeds like lettuce and carrots, instead of planting them in rows can help protect them from frost. Also allowing weeds to grow can help protect plants from frost. I know they suck up some of the nutrients from the soil, but harvesting crops until September or November will feel so sweet! Planting crops on the south side of your house can also help. This can help to keep cold northern winds at bay. Most importantly, make sure you have something on hand that you can cover your crops with when the temperatures really start to drop. Anything will work, tarps, boxes, blankets, barrels – use whatever you can find.



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