Dateline: 26 January 2017
|Pea roots from my 2016 garden. |
Notice the nitrogen-fixing nodules.
A 'scheme' is defined as "a systematic plan of action." I am now in the process of developing numerous schemes for my Minibeds-on-Plastic experimental garden. My pea scheme will be one of the first experiments.
Pea seeds are planted as early in the spring as the soil can be worked. They are planted long before warm weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, and corn.
And one of the great things about peas (besides the peas themselves) is that they develop nitrogen-fixing nodules on their roots. If the nodules in the picture above are not clear, here is a closer look at nitrogen-fixing nodules...
In the picture at the top of this page, a whole bed of pea roots like you see were left in the soil. I just cut off the top of the plants. And then I planted the bed to garlic. That was in the fall. This spring, the growing garlic will have a reservoir of readily-available, natural nitrogen, which is something that young garlic plants can really benefit from.
So, with all of that in mind, my pea scheme for minibeds is to plant peas around the inside perimeter of numerous beds as soon as the soil can be worked. That will amount to a 9' row of peas in each bed.
I will use the proper inoculant to make sure the pea roots get the bacteria they need for maximum nodule development. Yes, the inoculant really does make a difference.
By planting only the perimeter of the beds, the middle ground will be open. After the weather warms up, and it is time to plant tomatoes, summer squash, peppers, etc. I will move the pea plant tops away from the center of the beds and plant the summer crops.
When the pea plants are no longer producing, I will simply cut the topgrowth away, leaving the roots in the soil. Thus, the new plantings will receive the fertilizing benefit of the nitrogen in the nodules.
Will this scheme work like I think it will? Well, that's what I'm going to find out. Stay tuned...
If you are not familiar with my Minibeds-on-Plastic gardening idea, click here now: Minibeds-on-Plastic Introduction