Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Late Winter Sowings - Fava Beans, Snow Peas and Seed Mats

planting fava beans
This past weekend, I planted my Fava beans. Traditionally, Fava beans are sown when the crocus emerge or as soon as the soil can be worked. My raised beds have thawed out completely due to the recent rains and though it seems a bit early, I thought I'd take a chance. While our nightly temperatures are averaging in the high 20's to low 30's, I've read that Fava bean seedlings can tolerate temperatures down the low 20's. In any case, I can cover my quick hoops with plastic in a jiffy if I have to.

planting slow peas
I also planted several rows of snow peas in 2 different beds. The seeds were sown fairly close together because I will be harvesting the young shoots as greens. If you've never tried pea shoots, please do because they are absolutely delicious. After a cutting or two, I will pull half of them and let the remaining plants mature. Also, I made sure to soak my Fava beans and peas for 12 hours prior to planting. Hopefully, that will kick start the germination process.

seed mats to be sowed
My homemade seed mats containing Scarlet Nantes, Cosmic Purple and Carnival blend carrots, several different varieties of beets, and Easter Egg radishes were ready to be sown undercover. The carrots and radishes were spaced 2 inches apart and the beets were spaced 4 inches apart on each mat.

sowing seed mats
I started off by amending and leveling my raised bed.

sowing seed mats 2
I then laid down my mats and covered them with a bit of packaged organic gardening soil.

sowing seed mats 3
Once all of the mats were in place, I covered them completely and tamped down the soil lightly with the back of my garden rake. Simple as that. Quick and easy. Hopefully, they will germinate well and I'll have ultra-neatly planted rows to admire. :-)

If you'd like to construct your own seed mats, read Granny's awesome tutorial here or a post I wrote here.


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  2. I've never tried snow peas but they sound interesting. Yeah outdoor sowing! I haven't started any seeds in almost two weeks. I'm thinking about starting some spinach under grow lights. I have about 500 seeds.

    I reposted because I typed tired instead of tried. Don't let anyone know...

  3. Very interesting. I read through your seed mat post you reference and it sounds like something we might give a go with in our garden. It won't be very big, so the seed mats seem a good way to maximize the space.

  4. Looking good Thomas! I really do enjoy fava beans and yet never grow them. I really must try to work them into the 2011 garden.

  5. I had never heard of garden mats before but it sounds like a great way not to waste seed . . .or as the tutorial states, not to have them blow away in the wind :(.

  6. I was reading your post on seed mats and it looks very easy to do and when I see your carrot harvests, it’s definitely something to try.
    I just have to wait for another 2 weeks as we just had 30 cm (12 inches) of snow.

  7. I can't wait for my soil to dethaw. I was really hoping to plant peas yesterday, but I'll have my spinach in on Friday.

  8. As always, your beds are looking beautiful! I planted a few seed mats over the weekend myself - what an easy way to get nice, uniform rows without wasting seeds! I haven't tried pea shoots before, but now you've piqued my interest. I'll have to add snow peas to the list of items I want to grow in the fall.. That list is getting quite long!

  9. Looking organized as ever, Thomas ! It is lovely having neat rows, isn't it ? :)

  10. Your beds look great! I can't wait to see your Fava beans... I need a new person to think of whenever I hear their name... I still think of Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs whenever I hear "Fava Beans" LOL. And thanks for the reminder about the carrots, I need to start making those seed mats, good rainy day project for our coming 4 days of rain...

  11. I love snow peas, a snack right off the vine while I'm working in the garden. By the way, I read yesterday that peas like being planted together, i.e. 3-4 within close proximity, so mine are spaced 6 inches apart. lol Thomas your garden is looking great!

    We have spinach, radishes, mesclun, cabbage, cauliflower... emerged in the outdoor beds and doing well. You might be happy to know those squash and zucchini plants (from the '09 seeds that I was testing) are now in the greenhouse. They seem happy enough... couldn't bear to throw them away. It will be fun to see what happens.

    I'm off to start seed mats. Have a great one Thomas.

  12. My crocuses are up, but my peas couldn't go in the ground just yet....I had to put them in a container since I am a ding-dong and soakd them before realizing their home does not yet exist. DUH!

    Way to go on the carrots, I am very curious to see how they grow for you. My first three sowings last year were a bust....I think something was eating them, or it was damping off that was to blame for the seedling's demise. I am guessing slugs??

    How is your rodent problem going?

  13. Nothing better then the first outdoor planting! I sowed some tatsoi & pac choi in the polytunnel last week and they are coming up well now. Peas I will start very soon in rootrainners inside and then into the coldframe as soon as they sprout. Did you use paper towel sheets for your seed mats? I am definitly going the seed mat route for a few things this season.

  14. Looking good! I'm going to try the seed mat technique for my carrots this year. I'm just not sure where to put them, the gophers and moles are everywhere *sigh*. I hope your spring sowing remains unscathed by rodents.

  15. My garden is going to be a late start, but I am determined to get it going this year.