Friday, May 23, 2014

Chitting my peas

It sounds like I (Shannon) am doing something naughty to my peas, but I promise everything is perfectly innocent. Chitting is a method of putting seed between two pieces of damp absorbent paper to germinate before planting. I learned about this previously and decided to try it this year because of the cold spring.  I also had old seed that I wasn't sure was still viable. So I placed 30 seeds of each variety of peas on a damp square of paper towel labeled with its name. I then folded the paper towel over the seeds to hold them in place and put it in a zip-lock bag.
Neat packages of peas
Within a week almost all of the peas had germinated. The root, which looks like a little tail, is the first thing to emerge from the seed. I think that I could have planted them sooner than I did as these guys have their cotyledon leaves starting to emerge as well.
Sprouted Peas
 The garden beds were still covered with their winter coat of leaves and it had snowed the week before so the soil was quite cold. Seeds germinate at a temperature range specific to the plant. While the peas would not germinate well in the cold soil and may rot instead, once germinated they will grow in the chilly soil.  One thing to do different this fall is to shred the leaves before spreading on the beds as this would save having to remove them in the spring. This will help them break down faster and not make a matted mess.
Winter Bed
 I planted the peas on the north and south ends of five beds where they can climb the stationary fencing. Since they will be harvested before the other plants in the beds, shading will not be an issue.

Peas in the Bed
Growing Pea Plants

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