It’s February 1 and time to seriously consider pea planting. Two more weeks and the ground should be ready. Two years ago I learned a cool way to get a head start on them and it might not be a novel idea to you but it sure was to me.
Soak the pea seeds overnight in lukewarm water. Drain well the next morning and spread on paper plates or other flat surface. Cover with damp paper towels and keep moist but not soaking wet. Check once or twice a day to keep moist. As soon as the pea seeds sprout little “tails” they are ready to go into the ground. If you wait too long the “tails” (which is actually the beginning of the root) will break off easily when you plant them and those won’t be viable.
Peas can easily gain 1 to 2 weeks head start by sprouting them this way. I remember one February years ago, planting peas on Valentines Day. It was cloudy and damp but the ground was workable. I got about half way down the row and it started snowing! I completed the planting… smiling and laughing to myself at the audacity of mother nature and questioning my own sanity. We got about an inch of snow that afternoon and evening. The peas dutifully came up 2 weeks later and it was one of my best crops ever.
Snow peas are my favorite. I plant 2 to 3 hundred mid February for early spring eating and harvest until it gets too hot for them to produce. I ate raw peas in salads or stir fried every day all season and put up several quart freezer bags full.
They hold well when frozen; blanch for one minute, plunge into cold water, drain well (get them pretty dry) and freeze on a cookie sheet. When frozen solid scoop up and place in freezer bags pressing out as much air as possible without breaking the peas. These can be added to casseroles, winter stir fry’s or stewed.
Here is the recipe I use to stir fry snow peas.