This weekend I spent some time, actually very little time, planting seeds in my garden. I think a lot of individuals get intimidated by the thought of gardening. I am here to show you how easy it is to start your own garden. In this post I am planting my peas in my 4’x4′ square foot garden, but these peas could easily be planted in a container. You only need your soil to be 6 inches deep, yes that is right only 6 inches deep! Most people think you need at least 12 inches of soil but that is untrue with most plants.The majority of my produce (including large tomato plants) grow in only 6 inches of soil. I do have 1 4’x4′ bed that I converted to 12 inches in depth and that was done for my carrots and potatoes. Growing in only 6 inches of soil will save you a lot of money!
The first thing you want to do is read the back of your seed packet. There is a lot of important information on these little packages. Every package is different so be sure to read all the details on each package of seeds. Make sure you are buying seeds from a good source and seeds that are not genetically modified. Lets take a look at some important information on my packet of sugar snap peas.
The first thing I want to point out on this package of seeds is that it is not recommended to start these seeds indoors. This is important! They will not transplant well into your garden and quite frankly, sugar snap peas grow super well planted right into your garden with almost no effort! The next important piece of information I see is that you need to soak your pea seeds 12-24 hours before planting. This is very important. When you soak your seeds, this helps your seeds to germinate creating a healthy plant. Another important bit of information is when to plant your seeds. In this case, sugar snap peas are a cool weather crop and can tolerate cooler temperatures. 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost is when to plant your peas. My average last frost here in Wisconsin is May 15, so I am about 7 weeks out and that is fine, because we have had an unusually warm winter and my soil is workable so it is a good time for me to plant.
The next thing I want you to look at is the information on the left of this seed packet. As most of you know, I garden using Mel Bartholomew’s square foot gardening method. If you have the time, head on over to Mel’s Square Foot Gardening Website, there is a lot of great information on there! This method simplifies gardening significantly! There are several key elements that you will need to figure out how many seeds to plant in a square. You want to look at the thinning and seed spacing (I love this one, it is 2″ (yes 2″)! That is a lot of seeds for 1 little square foot! So that means you can plant a seed every 2 inches and there is 12 inches per square so that means you will need 6 seeds per row and 6 rows… that is 36 seeds per square foot. You do not thin peas so you would use the seed spacing to figure out how many seeds to plant. If there are thinning instructions, you would go with that number. In square foot gardening you only plant what you need, not a whole bunch of seeds and then thin out. This will save you money by using less seeds. Take a look at the picture below to make sense of what I am saying. So in that little square, I will have 36 plants and they will thrive in this environment. The second thing I want to point out is the depth at which to plant the seeds. It says 1″ deep. That is an important element to factor in when planting your seeds.
Peas like to climb and be close together. By planting these seeds so closely together, the plants use each other as support to grow up and flourish! I also put up a vertical frame to help my peas grow upward. This took me less then 10 minutes to put up. You can view my video on how to do this below.
My daughter is going to illustrate how to plant these peas. Simply soak your seeds overnight. They will more then double in size!
Now plant 6 seeds in 6 rows, creating 36 seeds in one square.
Push the seeds in with a pencil 1 inch deep.
Cover the seeds loosely with soil, never push down on the soil! Seeds like light and airy soil.
Now simply water your seeds that you just planted.
That is it! How simple was that? Now water your seeds every few days depending on how hot it is. You don’t want them to dry out completely. Before you know it your seeds will be growing like this!