By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Black-eyed peas have been a New Year’s Day tradition in my family for years.
But until recent, I never knew how easy they are to grow in the garden.
So this year, I am going to grow my own black-eyed peas for my New Year’s celebration.
To begin this process, I have to decide whether I want to grow them in the garden or in a container. Since my garden is filling up quickly, I decide to go the container route. In doing so, I will need the determinate variety of black-eyed peas.
This type does not require trellising but does bloom and fruit all at the same time. Well, I guess you can’t have everything.
Planting in a container requires a little homework and this entails cleaning and sterilizing the container and drainage material, which in this case are old potshards. To do this, place a capful of bleach in a container of water and place the pot and drainage material in the container. Scrub to remove any soil or debris from the material. Once that is done, let the pot and drainage material soak for 10 minutes and then rinse. Set out in the sunlight to dry and sterilize even farther.
Once the container has been prepared, the next step is to place the drainage material in the bottom and fill with a combination of all-purpose soil and well-seasoned compost. Make sure to leave at least ½ inch space between the top of the pot and the top of the soil. This will create a water reservoir so that the pot does not over flow when watered and in doing so carrying away soil.
Before you begin the planting process you will need to get a black-eyed pea inoculants, which will help the plant fix nitrogen into its roots system.
After you have that, it is time to begin the planting process. This can be done in two ways. One, you can simply poke holes in the soil and plant the seed. The second way requires one to create a trench. Regardless of which one you choose, make sure the hole or trench is 1 ½ inch deep and place seeds every 4-inches. Once the seeds are in the ground, the next step is to cover the seeds and water in.
Place your container garden in a location that receives light shading and continue to monitor the soil and water accordingly.
So until we blog again, share a New Year’s toast with your hyperlocal black-eyed peas for you and me.