HELEN LANG: Mind your peas and cues

It was the most beautiful of days the other day — not a cloud in the sky, not a breath of wind and the sun was warm on my shoulders

It was the most beautiful of days the other day — not a cloud in the sky, not a breath of wind and the sun was warm on my shoulders when I went for a walk. I really believe we are going to have an early spring.

My daughter now tells me that snow is expected by the weekend. Horrors! I thought that we had had winter’s last gasp when we had snow not long ago. Maybe the weather man has got his wires crossed and instead of snow he meant sunshine. I certainly hope so.

As promised I have bought a package of Little Marvel green pea seed and propose to plant them in one of my large pots.

Fortunately peas like company, so the seeds may be planted close together. I haven’t a lot of choice, so they will be about two inches apart and not in rows but scattered liberally on top of the soil and pushed under using my finger tip (about an inch).

You lucky ducks who have a real garden, can plant peas in rows but if you’ll space the seeds about two inches apart (both east/west and north/south) you’ll only need one line of support between the rows.

Pea netting works well, stretched fairly taut between the end stakes. But it makes it sturdier if you’ll drive in several supporting stakes down the row of netting (one on one side and the next on the opposite side). I’d suggest putting in the stakes before planting the seeds.

Those of you who have gardened for years will wonder what I’m on about but new-comers may not know all the neat tricks just yet, so please forgive me.

Meanwhile I’ll put the peas in a bowl of water overnight to get them off to an early start when they hit the soil.

I’m afraid my indoor plants have been suffering from neglect recently. I put my finger in the pots and felt guilty at how dry they felt. I consoled myself by remembering that it is better to under-water rather than over-water.

Actually, I’ve found that letting them get pretty thirsty encourages them to flower. I figure they feel they are about to die and want to leave some seeds behind to carry on their genes and flowering, of course, comes first. I’m not doing this deliberately, to be cruel, I’m just so busy!

What a bunch of baloney!

Busy doing what, pray tell? Reading about gardening, perhaps? Maybe, there are always new things coming along — usually some sort of tractor. It’s not quite what the average gardener yearns for, is it?

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


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