PEAS (Pisum sativum)
Peas are possibly the most important of all garden vegetables to the amateur gardener. Even in gardens where no other vegetable is grown, a row or two ofis often sown in some part of the ground out of sight of the ornamental garden.
The reason for its popularity as a garden crop is probably due to the fact that garden peas are so vastly superior in flavour to any of those sold in the market. Peas respond generously to good treatment. The land where they are to be grown should be thoroughly prepared early in the winter by deep digging and heavy manuring.
If this cannot be done early in the winter, the best thing to do is to take out trenches just before the seeds are to be sown, about in. wide and 2 ft. deep. Throw the top foot ofto one side and the bottom foot of soil to the other side as you work. Break up the bottom of the trench with a large fork, and then throw back the roughest of the material taken out. Over this put the remainder of the bottom foot of soil, mixing with it a liberal dressing of bonemeal, 4 oz. per yard run, and also add the remains of the bonfire, if available.
A good barrow load of stable manure to every 6 yards of trench is also advisable. The top soil should be thrown back until there is a shallow trench, about 3 in. deep, with a little soil piled up on each side. In this trench the pea seeds can be scattered 2 or 3 in. apart all over the bottom.
If birds or mice are likely to be troublesome, it is advisable to moisten the seeds with paraffin oil and dust a little red-lead powder over them before they are sown. A further 2 in. of fine soil should be added over the seeds and pressed down a little, so that each seed is in actual contact with moist soil. It is a useful practice to finish the seed-sowing operation by raking the surface tidy and pushing in small twiggy branches all along both sides of the trench. Taller pea sticks can be inserted at the same time if tall varieties are sown. The support provided should be as tall or taller than the stated height of the variety. If birds are likely will have several stout shoots on them about 1 or 2 in. in length. Two shoots should be left on each tuber, unwanted shoots being rubbed off. The best way to plant is to open out trenches across the plot with a spade, throwing some old, well-decayed manure into the trench and setting each tuber on to this. Failing old, decayed manure, leaf-mould, or similar humus-containing soil can be used.