Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticulturist Utah State University Extension Thanksgiving Point Office
I am in Savannah, Georgia, site of one of the country's largest Irish celebrations in the country. Many dedicated gardeners use St. Patrick's Day as a goal for planting hardy vegetables.
While you miss that by a few days because of cold weather and wet soils, there is still plenty of time to get those cool season vegetables into the garden.
Early planting not only gives an earlier harvest, but it is essential with some vegetables. Get them in and grow them quickly so they are harvested before hot, dry weather arrives. Spring weather is changeable but all peas withstand some frost should the weather turn colder.
Peas are a popular cool season crop. English peas are the common shelled type. Edible pod peas known as sugar and snow peas are used in oriental cooking. The pod is picked before the peas start to swell. Newer snap peas also have edible pods with tender sweet peas inside. These new snap peas are heavy producers.
Taller varieties of peas need a trellis to grow on. Some peas show a photoperiodic response, as earlier planted peas produce more pods than those planted later in the season.
Recommended varieties: Shell Type: Patriot, Lincoln, Early Frosty, Novella. Edible Pod: Little Sweetie, Oregon Sugar Pod. Snap Type: Sugar Snap, Sugar Daddy Stringless.
Environmental Conditions: Light: Full sun. Temperature: Prefer cool growing conditions spring or fall. Fruit and vines tolerate light frost. Moisture: Water when top of soil dries out. Water requirements increase while blooming and producing pods. Fertilization: Peas fix nitrogen, but need a complete fertilizer at planting time. Do not side dress later.
Planting recommendations: Spacing: Plant seeds 2 inches apart in double rows 3 to 6 inches apart. Some tall varieties do better when trellised.
Seed depth: Plant 12 2 inches deep.
Planting date: May be planted early (March 1), but do better when soils begin to warm (+50ƒµF.). Average planting date is March 17 (St. Patrick's Day).