Small space gardening

Posts tagged ‘growing peas’

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings

You’ve planted rows of vegetable seeds, and now it’s time to thin your seedlings. If pulling out those precious baby plants makes you queasy, take heart. You no longer have to feel like a serial plant killer.

I’ve been re-planting my throw-aways for a few years now, and with great success. I’ve done this with pretty much every vegetable seedling there is—spinach, radishes, lettuce, green beans and cucumbers to name a few. In this post, I’ll be thinning and re-planting peas.

First let me stress that it’s a total waste of seeds to plant them closer together than what the package recommends. I used to think more is better with seed planting, but it’s not. And I strongly suspect I’m not the only gardener that has over-planted for fear of not having enough seeds germinate. And besides wasting seeds, transplanting your thinnings is another reason not to plant too closely or you won’t be able to get a spade in between the seedlings in order to dig up the ones you want to save.

I also used to plant seeds too close together because what was I going to do with all those leftover seeds anyway? May as well use the whole pack, right? Wrong. I’ve learned that you save the leftovers and plant them the next year. And the next, and the next…I’ve planted seeds four and five years old with no problems. I just stored the packets in a closet. No need to refrigerate them as far as I’m concerned.

So here’s what I’ve got. My peas are ready to be thinned to about four to six inches apart. At the moment, they’re about two inches apart.

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

If I don’t thin these peas, they’ll be a tangled up mess because the tendrils will grab onto the plant next to them instead of my metal fencing. Then I’ll have a glob of pea plants that are all stuck together independent of the fence. Once that happens, it’s all over. Trust me folks, you need to thin your peas.

I bought these bamboo stakes at a garage sale, and they’re perfect for peas to latch onto.

 Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

First, I stick them in the ground where I want my peas to grow. Then at the base of each pole, I remove some of the soil where each seedling will be planted.

 Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

I put the excess dirt on this cardboard lid so I can carry it with me.

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Now I very gently dig up the extra seedlings by pushing my trowel down into the dirt, three to four inches on each side of the plant, making a square in the soil around each one. Then I dig up the seedling and place it on my cardboard.

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

I use the excess soil I brought with me from the original holes to fill in each hole I create when I remove the transplants. I push the soil down firmly after I fill each hole with dirt.

Then I plant the seedlings into the original holes. Here they are!

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

They now have four to six inches of space in between each plant to spread out and grow.

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Since peas are considered a cool-weather crop here in zone 5, they’re going to bite the dust when it gets hot. They’ll quit producing, turn brown and be pulled out of the ground by yours truly. The beauty of that is, I can plant them close to other plants that will take over their space when they’re gone. In this case, my tomatoes will grow into their space.

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

I was fortunate enough to have a cloudy day to do this, which is less stressful for the plants. If the sun is out, it’s best to move them in the morning or evening when it’s cooler. Unfortunately, it’s a windy day (we can’t have everything), so I used some twist ties to very loosely tie the taller transplants to the poles to keep them from flopping over.

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Soon enough, the tendrils will grab onto the bamboo and they’ll climb on their own like this little guy is learning to do. FYI – since the tendrils aren’t very long, they need something small to grab onto. Lattice, for example is too large for peas to grasp.

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Here are a few other places I moved my transplants to. My front flower bed…

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

 Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

I planted some in a pot with some cucumber seeds that haven’t germinated yet, but will take over after the peas are finished producing.

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

And in an empty spot near a dwarf lilac bush was another place to plant them.

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

If you’ve never planted peas, and are considering taking the plunge, I highly recommend the edible pod variety. They’re great for stir-frying if you pick the pods when they’re young and tender, and if you let them grow, the shelled peas are great eaten raw on salads. In zone 5, you’ve got until the end of May to plant them, or you can also plant a fall crop when the weather cools.

Re-plant Your Thinned Seedlings / MyUrbanGardenOasis

Happy thinning!

This post was written by Tracy Evans, who is a certified Home Stager and Redesigner, a journeyman painter and an avid gardener. If you have an interest in home organization, DIY home improvement projects or redesign, please feel free to visit her other blog at You can find additional before and after pictures on her website at


My Midwest Garden and the Drought of 2012

The purpose of this blog was supposed to be a way for me to share with my fellow gardeners the changes my garden goes through in the course of a spring, summer and fall. I was going to post amazing pictures of how the plants change and grow. But unfortunately, this past summer the Midwest was plagued with a drought that pretty much made most gardens…well…suck (pardon my French). So then I’m pondering, “Do I post or not post about the few veggies and plants that succeeded in spite of the drought?” You know, a sort of survival of the fittest. Well, I say, reluctantly, yes I do. An interesting side note is that I’m publishing this post on March 24th, 2013 which is after the first day of spring, mind you. And we’re supposed to get 9 inches of snow today! Welcome to Illinois.

The trellis I built just for my green beans last summer (prior post) was in vain because they didn’t produce much. My green peppers didn’t produce until the weather cooled in the fall and my tomatoes were mediocre at best. I’m going to stop now because it’s depressing me. If you’re like me, you just can’t wait until that spring day when your garden goes in with the anticipation of a bang-up harvest. And when it flops, it’s like not having Christmas.

The good news is some of my early spring veggies like peas, radishes, strawberries and lettuce did well because they “beat the heat”. And some of those same veggies, I replanted in the late summer, and had successful fall crops. And of course, plants that always do well were also a success–onions, sunflowers, basil and oregano.

As if time doesn’t fly by fast enough already, I’m going to show some progression photos of plants and veggies that were a success last summer despite Mother Nature’s nastiness.

I’ll start with my ornamental grass. Here are pictures of what it looked like in early spring last year after winter had taken its toll, after I cut it back, as it started to grow and what it looked like at the end of the summer.

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Next is my clematis vine. It always grows like gangbusters, and this particular type of clematis is actually considered invasive in some areas of the country. I feel like a schmuck because I didn’t take a photo of it in the fall when it was flooded with beautiful, white flowers, but here are the photos I did manage to take.

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My stawberries are the June Bearing variety and they, of course, come up from the ground without any help at all from Yours Truly. This is the smaller of two strawberry beds I have in my tiny yard.

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Lettuce did well in both the spring and fall.

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Peas were probably my most successful crop. I always plant the edible pod variety, and love them in salads and stir fry. Please note that these are planted in a small side yard area by my garbage cans. You don’t need a lot of space to grow veggies! After they finished producing in the heat of the summer, I pulled them out, and planted pumpkin vines in part of the area, saving room to replant more peas in the late summer for a fall crop.

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I planted red cabbage for the first time this year, and chose a smaller head cabbage called Red Express. The heads were only baseball to softball-sized, and I loved them. I have some leftover seeds, and plan to plant more this year. I also planted these in my sideyard. I first scattered several seeds in a tiny area about a foot by a foot and a half, just to get them in the ground. I wasn’t sure where their permanent home was going to be, so I let them get a couple of inches tall, gave some to neighbors and then transplanted the rest in front of my peas. You can see some of the cabbage seedlings in the previous photos if you look closely. Towards the end of the summer, my pumpkin vines grew up around them.

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Here are my garlic cloves. I actually planted them correctly in the fall this year, and am hoping for bigger cloves next time around.

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And here’s my baby, my cilantro. I just discovered this herb a couple of years ago, and it’s now my favorite herb in the world. My FHW, if you will. It grows in the spring and the fall, and will bolt in the heat of the summer (that’s a bad thing because it’s bitter after it bolts). I found it difficult to get started, but once it grows, I spread its seeds back on the ground at the end of the season, and it comes back up every year. I have a cilantro “patch” now. I love to make Pico de Gallo in the summer with my fresh onions and tomatoes.

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Well, there wasn’t much to report in this post, but 2013 will be a better year, and I’m hoping it’ll be here before we know it. A snow plow just went by…

If you have an interest in decorating, organizing or DIY home improvement projects, please feel free to check my other blog at HomeStagingBloomingtonIl. You can find additional before and after pictures on my website at

This blog was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner (Home Staging Resource at and a Journeyman Painter in the Bloomington/Normal, IL area. You can view her portfolios at for more before and after photos.

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