Today and tomorrow are fruiting planting days according to the lunar calendar, and I’ve been hanging out for these ones because finally it is pea planting season! I’m planting Telephone climbing peas and Melting Mammoth snow peas.
I love beans, specially snake beans, but by this stage I am starting to get over them. I have enough in now to keep producing for another month, but I won’t be planting any more till Spring. And it is also past the end of the planting season for all the summer fruiting vegies – zucchini, squash, cucumbers, eggplants, capsicums – cherry tomatoes are the only ones I will keep going into winter. It is a bit early yet for broad beans, so for this break it’s all about peas!
However, I don’t yet have room out along the garden fence-trellises for the peas. The older beans are still producing mature beans for drying, and I have a few more weeks of production left in the Continental cucumbers. Raising seedlings in the shadehouse and planting out mature seedlings is a major strategy of labour and space economy.
For large seeds like peas, it is not worth the seed germinating stage. I plant directly into a seedling raising mix that is mostly good compost with a bit of creek sand for drainage. For alkaline lovers like peas and beans I add a bit of wood ash to raise the pH. For the peas I have made little newspaper tubes to plant into. You can see how below. I have planted three seeds in each and will weed out the weakest. They will grow very happily in the shadehouse for several weeks, safe from most pests and from being forgotten and fatally neglected, giving me another fortnight’s production from what is now living in their future home.
When it is time to plant them out, I’ll add a bit more compost and wood ash to the site, then dig a little hole and plant each pair of seedlings, complete with their paper tube. The worms will eat the paper, and it means I can plant very advanced seedlings with almost no transplant shock.