The little peas-periment

While the weekend before last might have been a showstopper, this past weekend was nothing to sneeze about…unless you have allergies. In which case…sorry. Necessary medication aside, it was a good time to get back out in the yard to finish all the clean-up work. Namely, cleaning out the beds of most of the leaves from last fall and checking out the state of the soil. While it looks like we’ll have to invest in a few bags of new soil, all in all, we’re pretty much ready to go. Now all we need is a couple weeks worth of above 60-degree daytime temps. Looking at the extended forecast, things are looking promising.

This brings us to our little peas-periment. Which now looks like…

Yeah…nothing. Which isn’t that surprising, and it’s still early.

The barrels here are the ones at the back of our yard, and in them we usually plant peppers and/or tomatoes. This year we chose the three that tend to get the most sun and decided, the week before last, to plant some peas in them – three varieties: Snow, Sugar Snap, and Garden. The cages are makeshift ones that we created from the wire shelves that were in a temporary greenhouse we had a few years back. (When zip tied together, the shelves actually make for very nice cages!)

We’re in a “Zone 7” area in terms of planting, and it means that we can start peas outside as early as mid-March. Though peas can withstand a lot, with the snowy weather we had in March, planting them in mid-April seemed like a better idea. The peas have been in there for about 10 days now, but nothing’s happened yet. As part of the experiment, we decided to leave a thin layer of leaves over the soil to (1) see if it helped keep weeds down (we don’t get many in these barrels, anyway), and (2) try to deter our sneaky squirrels from digging in them. So far it looks like the barrels have been undisturbed, so that’s pretty good. But we also wonder if the peas aren’t getting enough sunlight due to the leaves. Another part of the experiment is minimal watering, because we’ve found that the soil in these barrels had tended to retain a lot of moisture. With recent bouts of rain, we’ve not really added much extra water to them. We’ll see if that makes any difference. We did go through a cold snap after we planted them, but it does seem like the weather is going to rebound into actual-Spring this week. And that’s a lovely prospect.

Meanwhile, indoors, the tomato and pepper seedlings are hanging on.

We’ve started the hardening-off process, allowing them a little time outside, particularly over the weekends, but it seems we’ve been a little too aggressive. Some of the leaves of the tomatoes are starting to turn white — that’s a twofold sign of too much sun exposure and cold exposure. So we need to back off a bit and limit their outdoor time some. It’s all a balancing act, and needless to say, we’re eager to get these guys out in the yard. But not yet.

In other indoor news, Our blackberry plant, which somehow managed to resurrect itself, has actual blackberries!

Okay, maybe “greenberries” is more appropriate… 🙂 The thing was been flowering like crazy for the past several weeks, though we really weren’t sure if anything would come of it since the plant’s been stuck inside. But here we are. On a different stem, little berries had started to form, but they died off before getting this large. We’re not entirely sure that these berries will actually ripen. If it’s nice enough, we ought to get this plant outside after our last frost date (May 5th or thereabouts). It sure could use a little sunshine. As could we all!



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