Tuesday, July 15, 2008
War and Peas
I am a gardener. Today I planted two kinds of peas: Laxton's Progress and an edible podded Sugar Snap Peas. I planted them in a narrow patch of earth measuring 12 feet long by 20 inches wide in the garden yard, up against a shed. Good shelter, southern exposure and when the sun hits it, lots of warmth. Way back in May, Richard had stapled stucco wire to the shed for me. First it was too cold to plant anything, and then we did the Garden Boat, so nothing got planted in that narrow strip of earth. Until now...
Today I planted the peas right smack up against that shed where they can climb the wire and give me pails and pails of crisp green peas. Pardon me? What's that? I am being a tad optimistic, you say? It's the middle of July, you say? Yes...so?
I live in a valley. Not just any valley but the Alberni Valley. On an Island in the Pacific. And not just any Island, but VANCOUVER ISLAND. Our weather patterns here are, well, different. We have microclimates. Wikipedia defines a microclimate as: a geographical zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. The term may refer to areas as small as a few square feet (for example a garden bed) or as large as many square miles (for example a valley). And in my microclimate garden bed, in the valley, I planted peas; and 2 Patio tomato plants, 1 Roma tomato plant, 5 Celebrity Tomato plants, 2 Sage herb plants & one Thyme plant.
I know peas like it a bit cooler, so by planting the tomatoes, sage and thyme in front of them, I reason, they will have some shade on their toes and will keep growing. The tomatoes, sage and thyme will get lots of sun, which they love. In a microclimate like the garden yard, you can grow two crops a year. It's just that no one I know of ever does and the cute little Island Mule Deer ate most of the pea crop in my Garden Boat and I really, really wanted some home grown garden peas this year and no cute little Island Mule Deer, or cute little Island Bush Bunny, is going to stop me from my goal!
I planted the peas really thick. I mean REALLY THICK. My dad always planted his peas that way. Soak the peas overnight in water. Then chicken wire strung along the row, peas planted on either side of the wire and just as thick as you can. Not spaced out one or two pea seeds every few inches...oh no. Just as thick as you can along both sides of the wire. Lots of fertilizer. He harvested 5 gallon pail after 5 gallon pail of peas by growing them vertically. It's what I did in the garden boat and what I did by the shed.
In the photo at the top of the page, the Laxton's Progress is on the left up against the wall and the Sugar Snap peas are on the right...maybe. You see a wind came up and blew the empty seed packets around so they became mixed up and I am not entirely sure I have them right, sigh. I will have to wait until the plants produce pods to know for sure.
Oh and did I mention the Marigolds? I have all these Marigold seeds I saved from last year. I planted a big swath of them between the peas in the garden boat and they grew like crazy! Just broadcast the seeds heavily, watered them well, covered with a thin layer of potting soil, watered again and they are now 3 to 4 inches high and loaded with buds. That is my plan for the rest of the open space in that micro garden.
Now if I can just find another open space to put the cucumber, zucchini and acorn squash plants I bought. Hmmmmmm. Say, Richard, what about over there in the corner where the shed and the house meet? What do you mean you don't think so??!!!