April 8, 2010

Planting Peas and Spinach

Yesterday was another unseasonably warm day, with temperatures up into the 70s (normal is around 50). Because of all the very warm weather––March, too, had temperatures above normal––the spring flowers are opening ahead of schedule. Early daffodils are quickly being joined by the mid-season varieties, a week or two before they usually bloom; the lawn is growing fast, and looks like it might need cutting soon: in over 15 years, I haven't had to mow the lawn before early to mid May. I have to admit that I find this warmth disconcerting; although I know that there's a difference between weather and climate, I worry that we may be facing climate change sooner and more intensely than anyone suspects.

At any rate, it was the kind of day, usual for June not April, when it is impossible to stay indoors. I decided to plant spinach and peas (earlier than usual!) because they're crops that do best in cool weather; you are supposed to plant them "as soon as the ground can be worked", which generally means the soil has defrosted and dried enough so that a handful will crumble after being squeezed. I put up the fences for the peas: a 25 foot long, 3 foot high fence for the shell peas, and a 10 foot length of 6 foot fence for the tall snap peas. A double row of spinach completes the snap pea row. I love looking at the cedar posts supporting the chicken wire fencing; they add some charm to the garden. The posts you see piled on the right make up one of my compost piles; I have three: one cooking, one building, and one to use. And the white plastic bucket is protecting the fencer for the electric fence.

Here are the pea seeds before I covered them with soil. They are planted thickly, about an inch apart in a 3 inch band. I kneel on the ground with a handful of seeds, methodically pressing them into the soil. These small shriveled seeds will swell and send up shoots in a couple of weeks. After many years of gardening, I still find this magical.


  1. Is anything more delicious than these early veggies straight from the garden?

  2. Nope, nothing more delicious. The arugula in the coldframe has germinated...fresh salad soon.

    When I moved here, along with a barn full of old stuff––some of which was useful like hoes and rakes––was a large pile of cedar posts, perfect for building compost piles: easy to pile up and take down, and with great aeration.