Matamata Chronicle - - Gardening -

Win­ter is the only sea­son when, for most of us, the vege gar­den ‘‘to do’’ list fo­cuses on what’s com­ing out of the gar­den rather than what’s go­ing into it. There’s very lit­tle that can be sown suc­cess­fully in cold, wet soil and trans­plant­ing tiny seedlings can seem equally fu­tile, given how slow these baby plants grow with­out the ben­e­fit of a plas­tic cloche.

What will still ger­mi­nate if sown di­rect this month? Broad beans and peas of all types. Pro­vided your soil isn’t frozen solid or so sat­u­rated that the seeds rot be­fore they sprout, peas will ger­mi­nate within 2-3 weeks and grow through­out win­ter, crop­ping in early spring.

My favourite va­ri­ety for shelling is ‘Su­garsnap Climb­ing’. Use the same stakes/trel­lis as you use for run­ner beans in sum­mer, but keep in mind that peas will need ty­ing for a leg up early in the sea­son. Most im­por­tantly, pro­tect your trenches from hun­gry birds who will scratch the seeds out as soon as they pop up other­wise. Pro­tect pea beds with chicken mesh, bits of bracken fern or small twigs.

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