Peas are one of my favorite vegetables to grow in the garden. I think I like them so much because they are usually the first thing I plant in later winter/early spring.
It’s always a great feeling to break free of winter’s grasp and begin planting something!
Peas are generally pretty darn prolific in the vegetable garden on their own, but there’s a very simple way you can increase your pea yields and grow stronger, healthier plants.
You can do this by adding a garden soil inoculant to the pea seeds when planting.
What Is a Garden Soil Inoculant?
A garden soil inoculant consists of a very special bacteria called Rhizobium leguminosarum. Yeah, it’s a mouthful.
Peas are in the legumes plant family, which has a wonderful ability to be able to fixate nitrogen into the soil.
Without getting too technical, they take nitrogen that is naturally occurring in the air, and “trap” that useable nitrogen, through its root system, into the soil to use as fertilizer.
The Rhizobium leguminosarum bacteria are the guys that help facilitate this nitrogen fixing process. The bacteria get inside the legume roots, make a home there, and then create a situation where the legume roots fixate nitrogen into the soil.
The bacteria is naturally found in soil everywhere, but not in large enough numbers to make a big enough impact with the legume roots. That’s why it is important for you to add inoculant to peas and other legumes to promote better growth and production.
Garden soil inoculants can be found in different forms. There are some that come in granular form, and are packaged in a convenient shaker.
You can also find the inoculant as a mixture of humus and the bacteria. This is probably the most commonly used version used by gardeners.
By adding the bacteria to the soil, you are greatly increasing the overall health and production of your peas!
How to Inoculant Peas
Now, inoculating your pea seeds may sound kind of intimidating, but it’s actually a very simple process. Many gardeners may have various techniques they use for adding the inoculant to their seeds.
Some gardeners will mix the inoculant with water to create a thick slurry, which they use to coat the pea seeds as they are planting.
Some others will just dump the pea seeds into the bag containing the garden soil inoculate and shake it all around – Shake N’ Bake style.
I prefer to simply place my pea seeds in the holes, or furrows, like I normally would any seed, then sprinkle a good dose of the garden soil inoculant on top of the seeds.
I make sure to cover the seeds well with the inoculant. You can’t over-inoculant the seeds. The more you use the better.
In fact, there’s more chance of you not using enough inoculant on the pea seeds, so make sure to use a good bit on each seed.
Once I have enough inoculant on each seed, I just cover the seeds with soil, and water them in well. You want to keep the seeds consistently moist until they germinate just like you normally would most seeds.
That is all there is to it!
The bacteria should bond with the pea roots as the seedlings grow, and help to significantly boost the production, and overall health of your pea plants.
Another benefit of the nitrogen fixing power of legumes and Rhizobium leguminosarum is they improve the nutrients of the soil for vegetables you may plant after the peas are finished for the year.
Planting right after the peas will give the following plants a good boost of nitrogen in the soil.
You will be surprised at the benefit of adding a garden soil inoculant to your peas, beans, and other legume family plants!
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