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We have been starting seeds indoors but its also time to start sowing seeds directly outside.

Peas are one of the easiest thing to grow in Portland – you can almost just throw them in the general direction of your garden and they will most likely flourish but here are a few simple tips for success:

Mid to late February is the perfect time to plant peas, but for a prolonged harvest you can continue to plant succession crops through mid April.

We love to eat the new pea tendrils and young leaves so I tend to over plant my rows and simply harvest the shoots coming up in between the desired distance apart. They are lovely in stir fry’s and on top of salads but my absolute favorite is a pea pesto! (See recipes below)

Peas like to be a little crowded so I generally plant in a patch about 6 to 8 inches across as opposed to a straight line. I leave about 3” in between plants.

Peas do benefit from a legume inoculant to help fix nitrogen. Simply dampen the seeds and coat them in the power before planting.

Once the plants reach about 8 inches I top the plants back one pair of leaves – this encourages side shoots and fuller plants.

The most important tip for getting lots of peas is to keep eating them – the more you eat the more your plants will produce. It’s like a race where you get the pea-trophy every day!

Fresh Spring pea pesto

1 cups freshly shelled peas
2 cups packed pea tendrils and tender new leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
3 cloves garlic, smashed
juice from one small lemon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons nice fruity olive oil – possibly more to thin

Mix and enjoy!