It was still pretty much winter here (March 10) when I planted the peas. Now, you need to understand that we are in Zone 3, March IS winter with 2 feet of snow on the ground and possibly more snow in to come. How to grow early peas in the winter in an unheated greenhouse under freezing winter conditions?
How to plant early peas
First I sprouted the peas because it speeds up the process. I used the Biosta sprouter. It does not take long for peas to sprout then gently plant them careful not to damage the little sprouts. All peas are winter crops, but for growing in such cold conditions it is good to go with a specially cold resistant variety. I grew Alaska – very cold resistant. Also Tom Thumb is a very dwarf growing pea, extremely cold resistant and early.
How to protect early peas
A single layer of greenhouse plastic keeps it in the greenhouse 4 degrees warmer at night than the outside temperature. That is not much if we are talking about freezing temperatures around -12 C (10F). Those little sprouts needed more protection. I covered them with two extra layers of Frost Blankets. Each layer about doubles the protection. The peas grew!
How to harvest early peas
Cold conditions slow down the growth of a plant. Instead of 50-55 days to maturity it took the peas 2 months to start and 3 to be ready for harvest. However, to eat the first peas while just starting the planting outside was so nice.
Was it worth it?
Speaking of profit – not sure.
Speaking of the fun – absolutely. To see those peas grow, while outside our world was still covered in deep snow, was priceless.
Have you started any peas yet?