To plant peas or to not plant peas? That is the question that keeps looping in my mind, as I head out into the gardens in the last weeks of April. Snap peas and shelling peas have anywhere from a 55 day to 75 day life-cycle. There is still time to get the seeds in the ground and have the plants come to maturity for harvesting, but with that long of a cycle, it will be June before you can plant the bed again.
So what do plant in June?
Come June, you'll want to choose lettuce varieities that will thrive in summer heat, following a fertility rotation. (Leaf follows fruit.) Conversely, you can plant a quick growing cover crop, such as buckwheat, in your beds once the peas have finished. Buckwheat germinates quickly and is fast-growing and is an excellent choice for a space-saver so soil does not lay bare. You can turn buckwheat under in July and plant your winter beds.
Planting in this fashion only allows for two crop rotations this year, but it's a great way to get your fill of peas AND get a jump on winter-gardening.
Photo from Della Chen Photography