signs of spring

Well it’s February 18 and much to the dismay of a lot of Olympians, there is no snow . . . but my garden is not complaining! The cherry blossoms are already out in full force, a full month early and my garden is suddenly exploding into action.

Jeff and I took advantage of the sun on Sunday and bolted into the garden first thing. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were taking a sigh of relief at the end of the growing season, and already we’re chomping at the bit to get back at it again. You really have to love Vancouver – mid-February and I was gardening in a t-shirt.

Thankfully most of the heavy work is behind us now; there will not be multiple truckloads of compost, or turf to remove, or beds to build. Coming into our second year in the garden we are now able to focus on smaller details, tweaking pathways, refining bed placement and adding structure to the garden.

That means we can spend more time on the really important things, like planting lots of peas!!

Jeff and I have been on the lookout for a more practical support for our peas this year. Last year we grew maybe a 6 foot row and I ate them all, toot-suite. This year we are going to line our entire back fence with them and with any luck a few might actually make it into the freezer for winter eating. (Don’t bet on it.) Peas are a cool-season crop and can be grown pretty much as soon as the soil can be worked and then succession sown all the way into May for a continuous harvest through early summer. Jeff found some wire fencing that he stapled to the fence = five times as many peas! Whoo!

We’re growing three varieties; Tall Telephone (Alderman), Little Marvel and Progress #9. Be prepared – the Tall Telephones are TALL. The first year we grew them the quickly outgrew the 6′ tall supports we had and ended up climbing into the branches of the plum tree. Tall. The Little Marvel were sweet and we’ll let you know about Progress #9.

I can’t say I pay too much bother to my peas. Plant em and they’ll grow. Slugs seem to find the seedlings quite tasty, but plant plenty and there’ll be enough for your and your slimy friends. The only thing I’ve ever noticed being a real annoyances is a light powdery mildew if they don’t get enough sun. Keep them in the sunshine with good air circulation and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Peas like any legume are nitrogen fixers so they’re a fun candidate for intercropping. The front of these beds will be seeded with our root veg and chard.

Many of my neighbours scolded me for being in the garden so early in the season, reminding me of late snows and frosts to come. But that’s the great thing about knowing spring is on the horizon – you can’t help but be an optimist when you’re surrounded by daffodils!

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