Decided to go for it. Soaked the seeds overnight in a wet towel, then rolled them in legume inoculant. Legumes fix nitrogen from the air in the soil, and they do it with the help of rhizobial bacteria (lives on roots). The bacteria form a symbiotic relationship with the pea roots, and convert the nitrogen into a form that’s usable by plants. Once the peas are gone, the nitrogen stays. By growing peas and beans, I’m adding to soil fertility, and using the inoculant insures that there are adequate rhizobial bacteria available to the plants. And since I rotate crops through the beds, eventually legumes will have grown in all of them.
Raised beds mean I don’t have to till the soil. I’m noticing this year that the soil is finally developing some structure, with an organic layer on top and a mineral horizon deeper down. For the first time, there are quite a few earthworms, which tells me that the soil is becoming a living ecosystem rather than the inert topsoil I dumped into the beds when I built them. Compost pays off. My friend Tam who gardens in New Mexico, has made me more of a believer in soil health.
As I worked in the sunny garden, I heard the warbler whose song I have to look up every year because I can’t remember which bird it is. I saw it hopping around way up in the pussywillow tree. Perky little grayish creature.
I wonder if planting peas today will make it snow tomorrow?