Daffodils? That means pea-planting!

Daffodil 2017 compressed  Long before the advent of calendars, farm folk had sayings to help recall when certain chores needed to be done.  I like following many of these old proverbs, because in my experience they are generally more accurate than dates.  Just because it is St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t mean potatoes should be planted if the ground is still frozen solid, or I can “feel in my gut” that it just isn’t time.  And St. Patrick’s is obviously too late for gardeners who live in the South.  Old-timers know that the time to plant potatoes is when the “pineys” (that’s peonies to non-Hoosier readers) are hand high (about 4″ tall) rather than any certain date.  Corn can be planted when the oak leaves are the size of squirrel’s ears.  Tomatoes aren’t planted outdoors until I see volunteer borage seedlings.

Another bits of lore is “When the daffodils bloom it’s pea planting time!”  Last year, I was impatient to get my new potager started, so I planted some peas March 7 when the first crocuses bloomed.  They did not do well at all.  Poor germination, lots of floppy foliage, few pea pods.  My first daffodil bloomed on March 14, 2016 so again I planted shelling peas, and these were beautiful and bountiful.

Needless to say, this year I  returned to the “wise ways” and waited.  Some daffys were budded weeks ago, but none had opened, so still I waited.  And waited, muttering to myself repeatedly, “Nothing is to be gained with rotting seeds in cold soil.”  The days clicked by on the calendar.

But finally, my patience was rewarded and these little beauties opened their frilly trumpets and surrounding petals!  They didn’t seem too thrilled at all, rather sulking, or maybe just shy?  But, I was thrilled to see them.  At last!  It was pea planting time!  So, along part of the potager’s west fence went an heirloom variety “Early Frosty.”  In two of the raised beds, wide bands of “Little Marvel” were sown.  Yes, I plant peas in 4″ bands, randomly, liberally scattered rather than spaced singly in rows.  Why?  Because back in the 70’s a wise gardener once said, “If you are stingy with peas, they will be stingy with you.”  He was right.  He probably learned it from a wise old gardener in his youth as well.  Good gardening lore is passed on from one generation to the next.

I was glad I hadn’t soaked the seeds before planting, as I’d barely finished when the rain began.  The light rain that evening turned into a full day and following night of noisy thunderstorms.  The daffodils are drooping even further today.  But, as soon as it stops raining, and the soil is ready again, I’ll do succession plantings with one of my favorites, “Green Arrow” and more “Little Marvel.”  Then two weeks later “Maestro” will follow, and lastly “Wando,” because it is the most heat tolerant.  Pasta with fresh peas, crisp bacon bits, cream, and parmigiano soon to come….ah, bliss!


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
This entry was posted in gardening, kitchen gardens, planting, Potager, raised beds, Seeding, Uncategorized, vegetable gardening and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Daffodils? That means pea-planting!

  1. Useful advice, as always! I would love to hear some more of these old sayings – they sound very sensible and a fascinating piece of folk history as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoyable reading. I learned a few new things. Not only about planting times, but was encouraged to search for more info on borage plants.


    • carolee says:

      Thank you. Borage is an herb with star-shaped edible blue flowers. Leaves are also edible, but so hairy I don’t like them. Supposed to have a cucumber flavor, but it eludes me. Self-seeding annual…gets rather ugly in its waning stages.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting! I will have to throw some borage seeds outside and see if they help give me tomato planting advice. I always struggle with patience and timing. And the occasional unusual late snowfall.


  4. I love that! I had heard about the St. Patrick’s Day planting of potatoes, but not about the peas. Good little bits of information to remember! I’m looking forward to reading more on here! Thank you for stopping by my place as well. Have a great day!


    • carolee says:

      Reading other gardeners’ blogs is a bit like getting to peek over their fence! Never had time to do it when I ran my business, but now I think I’m getting addicted. I want to know what everyone else is doing, what varieties they are planting and how those crops are faring. Don’t want to miss out on some veg or variety that I should try! And I love seeing other gardener’s favorite combinations, their harvest, their trials….then when I have a failure (and even after forty years it does sometimes happen!) I don’t feel so badly! Plus I love reading much more than I love writing…..

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I will be planting my Peas and also parsnips and Beetroots as its given milder weather where we can get out into the allotments this weekend.. 🙂 So your saying is spot on.. 🙂 And we always soak peas too.. At the moment we have plastic cloches over the soil to warm the earth up a little before planting them 🙂
    Lovely post and good advice.


  6. erinpollen says:

    I love old gardening wisdom! I am a garden teacher and I like to share some of these with the children… Here in California I actually get the best results with peas if I plant them in the late fall from seeds! It is not nearly as cold here, so they germinate before the winter freeze and then they just hang out looking pathetic until around early March, then they take off like crazy. If I wait until March- April to plant them they never do as well. It’s always so interesting to hear how plants do in different areas. I really like your blog and will be checking out more of your posts for sure! Happy Gardening 🙂


    • carolee says:

      I’m sure your area has different gardening wisdom…like plant when the mesquite is blooming! Always interesting to hear from other areas. My peas have pushed thru but not growing at all. Sunshine would make such a difference. Herbal blessings.


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