Generations of gardeners have perpetuated the idea of planting snow peas and other varieties of peas on St. Paddy’s Day. I, being the skeptical daughter of a gardener who never followed this rule of thumb, decided to look into this tradition, and found some information you should know before running out to your garden to plant on this day of all things green.
Pea seeds do appreciate cold weather and like to grow when the temperature is around 40 or 50 F, but the seeds need slightly warmer weather to germinate. If you’re dealing with a cold March, start the seeds inside and transplant them once they sprout. This will prevent the seeds from sitting in the soil and rotting, before it’s warm enough for them to sprout.
Intense heat is only good for peas when you’re making a stir fry. This is why the St. Patrick’s Day tradition was invented. Peas enjoy cool weather to grow, and will stop producing once the summer heat sets in. Be sure to plant your pea seeds early, if you live in a more temperate climate. The downfall of planting late is that you run the risk of a smaller harvest.
You have to PLANT the peas. I have heard rumors of people that just toss seeds into their garden on St. Patrick’s Day. While peas are very easy to grow, they do need to be planted into the soil. Follow the instructions on the seed packet for how deep to plant and how far apart to plant to ensure the best possible results.
While I love to promote green on St. Patrick’s Day, planting on March 17th is not fool-proof. Watch the weather, and start the seeds inside if the next week is looking colder than usual. Take time to prepare your garden. Plants grow better in fertilized aerated soil. And remember tender young sprouts are prime pickings for hungry deer and rabbits. Granular Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent is great to protect the peas, especially in the early stages of their growth. If you have a serious rabbit problem, try Liquid Fence Dual Action Rabbit Repellent.