Peas, Kale and Fennel

Over the past 2 days I’ve been sowing some winter crops. I soaked the peas (snow (right) and normal (left)) over night. One looks suspicious – it floated and has a black spot on it – but I planted it anyway. 30 peas went into the ground around their re-use/recycle climbing frame. The stakes came from old sunflowers cut from my garden last year, some bamboo we carted back from a rubbish pile in a nearby park (bamboo is regularly cleared from just about everywhere it grows) and fresh cuttings from our Japanese Bamboo plants. 10 stakes in all, 3 peas per stake, 30 peas.

The whole production is protected with a small chicken-wire fence that Frank built. Most (all?) beds will eventually be surrounded. If we hadn’t done this I doubt any peas would survive. Last year’s crop sure didn’t. Most of the peas were eaten before they sprouted by the bandicoot (he has a sensitive nose and loves freshly sown seeds) and any that made it to sprouting stage were nibbled by possums and the bandicoots. Of course the cat will dig in fresh soil which puts paid to just about anything the possums and bandicoots don’t.

Yesterday I sowed some of the kale seeds I collected last year at my Organic Gardening Class (long green pot on the centre shelf below). I tried sowing some last August and they died a quiet death just after sprouting. This is hopefully a better time to sow.

This morning the fennel seeds went in a pot (the black round one on the top shelf below). I hope it’s Florence fennel because this is the right time to sow that. If it’s bronze fennel, I should have waited until September. I truly have no idea what type it is as the seeds come from my spice jar in my kitchen. I recently heard (can’t remember where) that you can plant these so I’m giving it a go. I soaked them over night and sowed them in compost so the cost is zilch – nothing ventured, nothing gained (and either way, nothing lost).

I’ve also cut some more iresene branches and stuck them in some compost (bottom shelf, back) because Linda has an insatiable appetite for them. Since 99% of the cuttings strike and the plants grow like weeds, this is hardly a big problem for me.

Update 16 April 2012: Today we lost patience with the lack of pea sprouts so Frank and I started digging around where I planted the peas (no fennel sprouts either but I haven’t a clue what to expect from them, peas I know). When we found anything, it was a rotted, mushy pea. The reason for this is a bit baffling. This was the first time I’d soaked my peas in water overnight and I did so only because every gardening program I’ve ever watched suggested I do just that. The other possible influencing factor is the moon (I’m such a sceptic on this one because nothing in my garden has ever convinced me otherwise, but still…) When the peas were planted, it was the Full Moon phase which is better for root vegetables. Was the moon pulling my peas down instead of letting them grow up? (Huh???) Anyway, I’m trying again – in 2 steps. Today I planted more seeds (8 snow peas, 7 regular peas) around the inside stakes of the pea poles. This is the Last Quarter phase of the moon and nothing should be planted in this phase. On the 30th (or shortly after) I’ll plant 15 more peas from the same packages around the outside stakes of the pea poles where the soil and sunlight will be identical as for those planted today. The 30th is the First Quarter moon phase and should be perfect for peas. Neither planting gets an overnight soaking. I am going to be interested to see if the moon can make up for a 2 week later planting.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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5 Responses to Peas, Kale and Fennel

  1. Pingback: Seedling Progress | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

  2. Pingback: Lunar Peas | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

  3. Pingback: Planting Out Kale and Kohlrabi | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

  4. Pingback: Problematic Peas | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

  5. Pingback: Is that really Kale? | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

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