Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Planting Peas and Spinach

 Let's start with seeds shall we.  I like to buy my seeds online.  I use THIS company.  When I've bought seeds in stores, they've come up fine the first year, but wouldn't sprout the following year.  Seeds need to be kept in a dark, cool, dry  place.  The ones you buy in stores are usually kept in the the store where it's very warm and bright.  Also you never know if they are "last years" seeds.  The ones you buy online are guaranteed fresh and you know they've stored them the right way.  Who needs any more chances of seeds not coming up?  Seeds will keep for 5 years if stored correctly and still have a good sprouting ratio.  They'll still sprout after that, the ratio between non-sprouting to sprouting just increases.  I keep my seeds in our storage room in the basement where it stays between 56-60 degrees year round.  You can store them in your fridge, just make sure you put them in a Mason jar or other container with a tightly closed lid.
The first tip I have for planting peas is to pre soak them in water overnight or for about 12 hours.  Why? You ask? Because the first step in the seed sprouting process is moisture absorption.  Nothing can happen until the seed is sufficiently water logged.  The seed starting process happens more rapidly in a cup of lukewarm water than outside in the cold ground.  Presoaked seeds will usually sprout several days earlier than those not soaked.

Now for smaller seeds, like different varieties of lettuce, the seeds are so small, I don't bother soaking them.  If you really wanted to, you could lay them out on a damp paper towel and then lay another damp paper towel on top of the seeds and keep it wet for 12 hours or so.  I tried it once and it was more work than it was worth.

 Here is a diagram of how to space your peas and spinach in the ground, in their individual square foot.  See HERE for more info on Square Foot Gardening.

Now let's get to how deep to plant them.  Peas needs to be placed about an 1 1/2 inches deep.  I usually measure this by, sticking my pointer finger into the ground until the soil reaches my middle joint.  (where your finger bends)

Here are the holes, ready for the seeds.

Here are the seeds in the holes.

 Here they are covered with dirt and watered well.  I usually pour some on and let it sink in and them pour some more.

 For spinach I just barely push the seed into the dirt and cover lightly.  Water both spinach and peas well and keep moist until they sprout.
Now I'll show you what I built to keep them warm.  I got chicken wire and cut a piece about 18 inches long and bent each end down at about 3 inches like so:

 Next get a piece of thick clear plastic and tape it on to the chicken wire.  I usually fold it around the outside and tape it like a present.  Then I turn  it upside down and tape the plastic to the wire in several places.

 Then cover your newly planted seeds with the plastic and put a rock or two on top to keep the plastic from blowing off.  This acts like a little greenhouse.  The sun warms it up and it holds in the heat.  It also helps it stay warmer at night and keeps any frost or snow off.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great site! I like the way you set this up! Great content! Thanks for sharing this!...Daniel