Planting Peas? Why Bother Double Digging.

The first year I attempted gardening, I zealously double dug and sifted each inch of food growing earth, It took hours of back breaking pitch forking and more hours of back breaking soil sifting. If you practice double digging perhaps you can sympathize with my first double dig in a highly compacted, once upon a time drive way of a yard. If you have never double dug anything it’s an old school method for loosening the top two feet of garden soil, using only a human powered pitch fork. No rototillers here. As the years have worn on and I have gotten significantly lazier each year, I have been trying to see how little actual back breaking labour I can get away with and it appears most legumes I have grown, in particular peas, have no advantageous yield gain that coincided with great soil preparation, with the exception of course to edamame, they are in a hard to grow league of their own. Double digging works magic for root vegetables, I have never seen more uniform, single branch, straight, long, plump carrots than out of a carefully double dug and soil sifted plot. Carrots in fluffy deeply loosened soil grow beautifully and pull out at harvest time without disappointing root breakage, there is a real tangible benefit to putting in the double digging effort with carrots. On the other hand, peas seem to do just as well no matter how much effort I pay to soil preparation. I put in my first legitimate sowing of peas today, yes I did have some earlier sowings but it seemed every time I thought it was warm enough to grow peas, I was met with an unexpected cold snap and snow fall.  With the snow from 2 days ago fully cleared and a sunny first day of spring morning, I did with the utmost confidence put in a row of peas I am actually expecting to harvest. All I did for preparation was quickly hand rake out the surface layer of weeds and I will let the forecasted rain take care of the watering for me.

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2 Responses to Planting Peas? Why Bother Double Digging.

  1. KL says:

    You have a wonderful veggie blog. How long have you been growing veggies, if you don’t mind me asking you. I have started since 2011, did a very little in 2010 in our new house that we bought recently. This year, I am trying to grow as much as possible.

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