Folks around here say St. Patrick's Day is time to plant peas, but in the past I have had mixed results with doing that. Pea germination is a real problem for me since the soil is still so cold and damp, and I don't like to use the fungicide treated seed.
This year I am planting peas on St. Patty's Day, but I am making sure I get a great germination rate by planting indoors. Peas don't transplant easily so I am trying the gutter planting method.
The idea with planting peas in a gutter is that you can keep the gutter full of pea seeds protected indoors until all seeds are germinated and you have healthy young seedlings. After hardening off these seedlings you then can slide the whole row of peas out of the gutter and into a prepared trench in your garden.
I have never tried this before, but this St. Patrick's Day morning, I got the process rolling.
I was able to get about an eight foot section of discarded gutter from a friend for free. My lights are only four foot long so I had to cut the gutter in half.
I held it in the vice with a birdhouse that was on my workbench for repair and then cut the gutter in half with my reciprocating saw.
I then fashioned cardboard ends on both sides of both pieces of gutter and taped them down. I filled the bottom half of the gutters with a mix of potting soil and coir. Coir is the coconut fiber that I use in my worm bin. Coir is a great water retaining organic material.
I then filled the top half of the gutters with standard seed-starting mix, put a row of peas in and covered them up with another inch of mix.
Then the loaded gutters got moved to my light table so the pea sprouts will get plenty of light.
The peas I planted in the gutters are Burpee's original Sugar Snap Peas. My family really likes eating them fresh as a snack or in salads. Today's weather is supposed to be great so I may plant more peas directly in the garden after work. If it gets cold again and they don't come up, I'm glad that this year I have a back-up plan. Hooray for Gutter Peas on St. Patty's Day!