Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables

Caring for Peas (page 2 of 2)

by National Gardening Association Editors

Weeding

Once your seedlings start to emerge, weeds also appear. Weeding is the scourge of gardening for most people, but it doesn't have to be. If you stay ahead of it, which is easy with wide rows, you won't have to bribe the neighborhood kids to do it for you.

With wide-row growing, you can usually drag an iron rake across the row as soon as the seedlings emerge in order to thin the row and get rid of early-germinating weeds. Do not do this with peas or beans. These plants are tender, and they may break. However, peas and beans grow quickly, forming a canopy that soon shades weed seedlings from the sun, which inhibits their growth.

Mulching

When your single- and double-row plants are a few inches tall, you can sharply curtail weeding by putting mulch in the walkways. A 3- to 6-inch layer of mulch completely shades the ground, preventing weed growth.

Mulch also conserves moisture and helps to keep the ground at a constant cool temperature. Mulch is almost a necessity if your soil is sandy, warm and too dry. You can use black plastic, or organic mulches, such as bark, straw, lawn clippings, leaves or pine needles.

To keep moisture in the soil and weeds out, apply mulch soon after you cultivate following a soaking rain. Be sure not to add trouble where there wasn't any before. Use only mulch that's free of weed seeds.

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