It's a tradition for gardeners to start their peas on St. Patrick's Day, for me it was my grandmother who told me when to get them going.
I always plant peas on the holiday. Here are a few tricks to get them started. There will be a complete story in this Saturday's Post-Gazette.
Soaking the seeds overnight will encourage them to sprout in cold spring soil. I decided to have some fun and try a couple different varieties. 'Golden Sweet Edible Pod' is from India and produces tall vines covered in pale yellow snow peas. Beside having a beautiful name which rolls off the tongue, 'Blauschokker' grows pretty, purple podded shell peas. The peas themselves are lime green and they look amazing, it's going to be fun to add color to the spring garden.
The soil is too wet to work this early in the season, if the dirt sticks to the shovel, don't turn it over. To solve that problem, I bought a couple bags of compost and will cover a vegetable bed and plant directly in the black compost.
Another trick I'll use to start this soon is to plant some seeds in peat pots. They are a fibrous container which will rot away in the garden soil. They are used as peas resent being transplanted and will be set back by doing so. I'll keep the planted peat pots in a warm location until they sprout and then they go out into the compost.
Even though it's getting cold again, all these seeds need are a couple 50 degree days to germinate, once up, they are indestructible. Peas love cold weather.
Starting peas now will have you harvesting when "normal" people are just starting their gardens.