The Jade green beans that I planted a week ago are coming on strong. I guess the third time is a charm for them, proving once again that sometimes you have to be diligent to see progress in the garden.

Someone asked me the other day if I had weeds in my garden. I replied that I have some of the best weeds that I have ever seen growing right now. They are strong and very healthy looking and if you ignore them for more than a few days, they will take over. My theory has always been that if you want to grow good vegetables, you have to grow some weeds in the process. Last week, I tried to till as close to the plants that I could but it will take more effort than the tiller to get rid of them.

This week, I will be planting summer peas. Purple hull peas and zipper peas are a favorite and I usually plant in a garden spot with poor growing conditions. Peas are kind of like Bermuda grass; they can grow anywhere, especially in poor soil conditions. I will fertilize the area with 10-10-10 fertilizer and plant the rows 36-40 inches apart. They will sprout about 3-5 days after planting.

Zipper peas get the name because they are very easy to shell at harvest time (after you let them set for 24 hours in a cool dry place). It is like unzipping the pea out of the pod. Zipper peas are large, so all that shelling results in fast progress. A member of the cow pea family, they cook up rather quickly.

Peas are about the easiest thing to plant. Some will water their seeds after they are planted. Some feel this improves seed sprouting. It definitely will not hurt and since we have moved into the full heat of summer, it will not be a bad idea to water the seeds in. I have not had a problem with pea seeds spouting but I may water my green bean seed to see if it makes a difference. It will not cost much, a little time and effort on my part.

This year I am going to try a new pea variety for the first time-the Rattlesnake Pea. They were given to me by Ronnie Rickman. I have great reports on these peas. It is a variety that has been around for a long time but the seed is hard to find these days.

One problem that I encounter regularly with peas is that the deer love to feast on the vines and can do some serious damage in your patch.

The best deterrent for deer in my experience is an electric fence. Even a 12 inch electric fence can be a deterrent. You may have to put it back in place a few times until the deer learn that it is there. Some gardeners like to use two electric fences, the first one 30 inches tall and the second about 36 inches tall, placed about 3 feet apart. To me that is a little unhandy to maintain and mow around. I prefer the 12 inch fence, which still leaves you a weed eating job, but it does help to keep the deer at bay. There are many other advertised deterrents out there but I can only share what has worked well for me in the past. Happy Gardening!

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