As January rolls into February we get really anxious to start planting some seeds even if it may be a little early. We’re hopeful that Punxsutawney Phil was correct about us having an early spring this year.
A couple weeks ago, Terry started some test pea seeds outside in our metal trough to see if they’d germinate. We carefully pulled the soil away to check the seeds and sure enough they had sprouted.
After reviewing our disastrous experience starting our peas early in the ground last year. We decided to go ahead and start our snap peas today, but in pots. Last year, we planted them directly in our raised bed. They kept disappearing. Was it birds, bugs, or mice? After trying a number of barriers, we found that it was mice. Once we got rid of them, we replanted the peas and they started coming up. Then we noticed that the little leaves were being chewed off near the ground. It was voracious pill bugs. The weather was still so cool the peas were growing too slowly to outgrow the bugs. Once the weather warmed, the peas did fine, but it well over a month since we began our effort to start peas.
So, learning from last year, we decided to start peas early, but in pots (used coffee cups we’ve been collecting). If we didn’t have mice and a ton of pill bugs, we’d been planting straight in the ground again.
Here what we did...
Small pots or used coffee cups
Sharpie or Wax Pencil
Seeds (we planted Sugar Snap Peas & Super Sugar Snap peas)
- Gather materials and set up a nice work area. We emptied the bag of potting soil into a plastic tub to make it easy to work with.
- Label cups with the name of the seeds and the date.
- Poke holes in the bottom of the coffee cups for drainage.
- Fill the cups with potting soil. Leave one half inch or so at the top for watering.
- Poke two holes about once inch deep in the soil in each cup. Drop in one seed per hole. Cover the seeds with soil.
We placed our cups in a big planter outside where they are exposed to the rain, so we didn’t water them in. One of the advantages of planting in these cups is that if the weather takes a bad turn toward below freezing, we can moved them into the garage until it warms up again. Peas can take a frost, but it they are frozen solid, they may die.
We will keep an eye on our babies and hopefully see some sprouts emerging in a few weeks. Once peas have grown to about six inches tall, we will cut the bottoms off the cups, slit the sides and plant them in our raised garden bed where they can grow up our trellis. I can't wait to eat the first sugar snap pea of the season.