|Healthy pea seedlings.|
If you have raised beds, direct sowing shouldn't be an issue but if, like us, you don't have that luxury, here's a method we've used successfully for several years to deal with these challenges:
- Seeds (link to article on saving your own pea-seeds)
- 4" pots (6" deep) - the deeper pots give more time before plants become root-bound.
Poke two seeds, in opposite corners, about the depth of one knuckle (3/4" or so). That's two seeds per pot. This gives each plant enough soil to germinate and grow to several inches in height before you transplant. Cover the seeds with soil so they're not exposed to sun. Water them gently. Do not over-water. Seedlings can rot if soil is too damp.
|Note: Since having written this article, we have now shifted to planting two seeds per pot but do not have photos to reflect this.|
When they are at least 6", and no longer than 12", you can put them in your garden, or greenhouse beds. Best to wait until their root-systems are quite dense in the pots -- almost "root-bound". They will be easier to transplant without damaging the plants. On the other-hand, if you wait until the stems are too long, you risk breaking stems during transplanting so it's a matter of finding the right balance.
|Pea-seedlings in pots.|
|Good idea to have trellis in place before you transplant peas (so you're less likely to damage roots).|
|Chris and Jesse transplanting in the Alpine Garden - 2010.|
Other relevant posts for early-spring gardening: