How to Transplant Peas

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Although peas are hardy and can sprout even in the coolest northern climate zones directly from seeds, you might want to get a jump on the season and start your peas indoors, to protect the new seeds and sprouts from garden slugs. Here is a method to follow for starting peas indoors and then transplanting outdoors.

Materials and Tools You Will Need:

  • Commercial potting soil, 5 lb. bag
  • Planting trays divided into individual cells (10 to 12 cells to a tray)
  • Pea seeds
  • Balanced complete fertilizer, 12-12-12 blend
  • Garden fork and hoe

Step 1: Purchase Materials and Prepare Planting Trays

After mid-February, buy any of the materials you need to start your peas indoors at your garden center. Prepare the planting trays by filling the cells with commercial potting soil. Plant three seeds to a cell about 1/2 inch down in the growing medium. Water thoroughly, and do not water again until the soil has dried about half the depth of the tray cell. Place the planting trays in a sunny window to sprout. They should form their roots within about 2 weeks.

Step 2: Prepare Garden Soil to Receive Transplants

As soon as all the frost has evaporated out of your garden soil, prepare your plot to transplant your peas. Choose a spot in full sunlight, with moist soil that can drain well. Add some rough sand or large gravel if your soil has a high proportion of clay.  Loosen the soil with a large garden fork down to about 15 inches deep, and blend in 2 inches of organic compost.

Step 3: Transplant the Pea Seedlings

When the pea seedlings are at least 4 inches tall (or long for dwarf varieties), get them ready to go out into the garden. If you chose a tall climbing pea, place your trellis or other support near the pea planting soil in the garden so you can train the shoots up it right away. For dwarf peas, no support is needed.

On a cloudy day, to avoid scorching the seedlings, dig rows in the garden 1 inch in width, 2 inches deep and 8 inches apart with the hoe to accept the seedlings. Tip the seedlings out of the cells, leaving the potting soil around the roots, and plant them in the rows. Separate them by 2 inches within the rows. To deter garden slugs, sprinkle diatomaceous earth formulated for gardens around the base of each seedling clump. Press the garden soil down firmly around the pea seedlings and water them well. Apply a balanced complete fertilizer in a 12-12-12 blend according to the maker's instructions on the container, after watering the seedlings. This will prevent burning the young plants.

Care for the Transplanted Peas

Water the seedlings and weed the peas regularly. The weeds will not be dense as the pea vines will choke them out. Continue to fertilize every 2 weeks until the pea pods are mature. Once the pea pods begin to ripen, harvest peas from the rows daily to get them at their freshest.

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