PLANTINGTurn over your pea planting beds in the fall, add manure and mulch well.Pea roots will fix nitrogen in the soil, making it available for other plants.Apply wood ash to the soil before planting.Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost, when soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F. Plant 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart.Get them in the ground while the soil is still cool but do not have them sit too long in wet soil. CAREMake sure that you have well-drained, humus-rich soil.Poke in any seeds that wash out. Add bonemeal, for the phosphorus content.They like phosphorus and potassium.Water sparsely unless the plants are wilting. Do not let plants dry out, or no pods will be produced.For tall and vine varieties, establish poles or a trellis at time of planting. Do not hoe around plants to avoid disturbing fragile roots.It’s best to rotate pea crops every year or two to avoid a buildup of soil-borne diseases.PESTS/DISEASESAphidsMexican Bean BeetlesWoodchucksFusarium WiltHARVEST/STORAGEKeep your peas well picked to encourage more pods to develop.Pick peas in the morning after the dew has dried. They are crispiest then.Always use two hands when you pick peas. Secure the vine with one hand and pull the peas off with your other hand.Peas can be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Place in paper bags, then wrap in plastic.If you missed your peas’ peak period, you can still pick, dry, and shell them for use in winter soups.WIT & WISDOMIf a girl finds nine peas in a pod, the next bachelor she meets will become her husband.