A guest post by Elizabeth Matlin
Onion sets and pea seeds are both ideal for young children to plant in mid-spring. Their larger size makes them easy to see and handle. Plus, they grow quickly and the emerging shoots are large and dramatic looking. Harvesting is also fun. Kids love pulling green onions out of the soil or pinching pea pods off vines.
Here are some helpful planting tips:
Onion sets are small onion bulbs sold at garden shops or from seed suppliers specifically for planting. They’re only available from early to mid-spring. Plant the onion sets, pointed-tops up, in loose, well-drained soil enriched with compost or manure about 1 inch deep and 3 to 4 inches apart. If you’ve ever planted flower bulbs in the fall, it’s a similar process except the bulbs are not planted as deeply. (Onions, tulips and hyacinths are all in the Lily family.) Keep the soil evenly moist and watch for the green shoots to emerge. Harvest them young for scallions or green onions; keep them in a little longer and you’ll have spring or knob onions, which are larger and rounder.
Pea varieties include edible pod (snow peas and sugar snaps) and shelling (peas are removed from the pods). All are easy to grow. Unless you select a short variety, most produce 4 to 5 foot vines that need a support or trellis of wire mesh or netting. Sow peas 1 inch deep about 1 inch apart in narrow furrows on both sides of the trellis. When the seedlings are 2 to 4 inches high, lightly fertilize with a complete organic fertilizer, such as fish emulsion. Be sure to harvest pod peas before the pods get too large and tough. Regular picking also signals the vines to keep producing more peas, so check the vines every day or so once you start harvesting.