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Nitrogen Fixing – and Sugar Snap Peas!

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During the second week of April and observing the last quarter of the lunar cycle, we planted some sugar snap peas.  Peas are a member of the legume family, including beans, clover, vetch and alfalfa for example.  These peas are cold-tolerant and can be planted (direct sown) in prepared soil up to five weeks before the last spring frost.

What many gardeners are not aware of is that you will increase the nitrogen fixing of peas and beans when adding a legume inoculant by dusting this powder to damp seeds when planting. This type of soil inoculant or powder form of these bacteria will help form larger amounts of nitrogen fixing bacteria.

The kind of bacteria used for legume inoculants is rhizobium leguminosarum which is usually available in a powder form.

Nitrogen is essential for making chlorophyll which converts sunlight by the process of photosynthesis. So the rhizobium bacteria will assist the legume roots to grow nodules to fix nitrogen that absorbs nitrogen from the air and converts this making it available for plant growth of your present crop.

When you till your legume crop under after the harvest, these nodules will provide a nitrogen base for the next rotation crop which would be nitrogen-hungry brassicas. Most garden centers offer inoculant specifically for your individual garden needs, so check accordingly.

For example, inoculants for alfalfa will not benefit dry beans.

Check the labels and directions prior to applying them.