Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Cruelty to peas

I've just done a terrible thing to a load of peas.  I feel really bad about it.  Well, OK, I feel a bit bad as it was wasteful.

Last year I grew some peas called Ambassador and had really poor germination.  This year, using the same packet of seeds, I was determined to care for them better, but despite nurturing them and watering them, only about three came up.

"Right" says I, "We'll see about that!" and I took the remainder of the packet, about 100 seeds, and chitted them (ie put them on a dinner plate between several sheets of wet kitchen towel and stuck them in a clear poly bag on the windowsill in my office.)  Within a few days, many were showing roots, (this is what chitting is designed to do, of course!), so this afternoon I started planting them out.

The trouble was, as I started excavating little holes into which to put them, I kept finding germinating peas.  So first I had to plant a fresh row on either side of the existing ones, making rather broad strips of plants, and even then had loads left over, so have now inserted an extra row between each other row!

So I learned two things from this.  The most important is that despite my efforts at keeping the soil moist, that was obviously what had been holding things back.  We've had months of drought, but now quite a bit of rain over the past week or two.  The drought meant they didn't germinate, but then the plentiful rain got them going.

The other thing was the chitting.  I'd assumed the problem was this variety of pea just had a poor germination rate, so expected to throw away at least a third, possibly half the seeds when they failed to germinate.  Only they confounded me by giving about 90% germination.

Bliddy things!


ArcticFox said...

tha' could allus pick a few of the tender plants and eight 'em as salad leaves! A tasty and natural thinning process.... leaving the stronger ones for a pea crop! There's allus a way lad! Good luck with the crop - my favourite vegetable of the year are peas in their pods!!

Rob Clack said...

I'm not keen on raw peas, nor the leaves and shoots, but Jenny loves them, so that's a good suggestion, thanks!