Sowing Peas

It took more time than conceiving a baby, but planting a new crop of snow peas was finished in the half hour between our Sunday morning walk with the dog and taking great grandma out to lunch at the Sushi bar. Now there’s less than a half hour to write about it, between completing Monday morning’s preparation and leaving for class.

I yanked the decrepit old cherry tomato plants out of the raised bed and salvaged the remaining fruits to explode in my mouth while spading the damp compressed soil. I’d planned simply to insert the peas in the ground without disturbing the soil structure but it was too hard for my forefinger to penetrate. Digging revealed that roots, probably from the adjoining Toyon or Hollyleaf Cherry, had invaded the bed from below and were converting it into a dense fibrous tissue. With the shovel I was able to turn the soil and pull out most of them. I used a hand cultivator to smooth the surface and picked out several dozen stones that somehow had floated to the surface. Then in a corner of the bed, I poked a circle of ten holes and dropped one hard quarter inch sphere into each. I made six more such circles to fill the space of the bed. At the center of each I stuck one of the ten foot bamboo stalks I’d been reusing for years to grow peas and beans and tomatos. I pulled the tops of the bamboo stalks together like tipi poles and tied them up with a short length of soft cotton string that I’d cut off one of them with kitchen scissors. I patted the soil smooth over the seeds with the flat of my hands. Seventy seeds, sixty climbing vines, twenty sweet and crunchy pea pods each, by the end of March, when it will be time to replant tomatoes.

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