Monday, March 2, 2009

Peas and Beans and Barley Grow

Let me get this straight right from the get-go. You can't start peas and beans in Calgary this week or even this month. On Vancouver Island, however, where the weather is a little kinder and softer -  Linda Gilkeson, Ph.D. was encouraging participants in a course at University of Vancouver Island to do just that. She brought along her props to class including peas that had been directly seeded into vermiculite and she showed how easy they are to pull out.

After years of experience gardening and a record of producing 95% of what she eats (in the veggie department) Linda knows what she is talking about. In the cold March soils on the Island the seeds would rot or be eaten by insects before they could sprout so she developed this technique of allowing the seeds to germinate in a warm indoor setting before pulling out the small pea or bean plants and plunking them directly in the garden. So easy and so effective. Well, our soils aren't just cold in Calgary, they are frozen solid and they are likely to be that way for a while yet. But come late April, a full month before I usually seed my peas and beans, I will be trying Linda's technique. 

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