I learned this a gazillion years while writing a magazine article on Jim Crockett (Crockett’s Victory Garden). He was talking of peas, and took me to his home garden in Lexington, MA, to show how he did it. “Peas love company,” he said, as he raked back soil for a wide row, maybe a foot wide or more, maybe ten feet long. Then he reached into his bag of innoculated peas and began broadcasting them by hand into the somewhat sunken bed. Thick as thieves they were, some even touching. Now and then he’d bend down to separate a few, but on it went for almost…what?…30 seconds. Maybe a minute.
Then with a shovel he scooped up the soil he’d pulled back and covered the pea bed. At least an inch deep, more if you can, he said, because peas tend to migrate to the surface and dry out, not germinate. He watered the bed well, covered it with a light layer of leaf mold to keep it moist, and was done.
And he was right. I now do this also with beans, root crops, and Heaven knows what. It was an awakening. I thought I’d share.