Suddenly the days are longer, the skies are brighter, and it’s a joy to be in the garden. This week I sowed Cascadia Snap Pea seeds in a straw bale. Legume inoculant will provide all the nitrogen they need. Gardeners in the Pacific Northwest once had to plant peas in January to get a crop because aphids transmit Pea Enation Mosaic virus. Enation diseased plants begin drying out and stop producing as soon as we have a trace of hot weather in early summer. Gardeners would rush to plant in January, no matter how cold and wet the conditions. My mother always referred to early pea planting as “mudding in”.
Plant breeders at Oregon State University began selecting for resistance to this disease over forty years ago. Today, we can plant OSU Sugar Pod II, Oregon Giant Sugar Pod, Cascadia Snap Pea, and Oregon Trail shelling pea, all released from the OSU department of horticulture and bred by Dr. James Baggett. OSU sugar Pod II is now the most widely grown edible pod variety in the world. It has good flavor, is tender crisp, and easy to grow and harvest.
I have grown peas and beans on wheat straw bales for several years with good results. When you sprinkle the seeds with legume inoculant the bacteria enables plants to form nitrogen rich root nodules from atmospheric nitrogen and you will not need to fertilize. You can read more about straw bale gardening on our Nichols Garden Nursery website:www.nicholsgardennursery.com