This hardworking combination of field peas and oats quickly improves the soil with nutrients and organic material, while helping supress weeds. The mix is also perfect for conditioning areas being turned into gardens, such as lawns and vacant lots. Pea plants fix nitrogen and condition the topsoil, while the flowers and bees and other beneficial insects. Oats hold nitrogen, provide organic material, and suppress weeds. When sown in the fall, peas and oats grow heartily in the cool weather but are killed by the cold temperatures of winter (USDA zones 7 and colder) and won't regrow in the spring. The dead plant material provides a wonderful winter mulch that helps prevent soil erosion and is ready to be tilled into the garden as soon as soil can be worked in the spring.
• Botanical Name: Pisum sativum, Avena sativa
• Days to Maturity: 50–70 days
• Family: PEAS: Fabaceae; OATS: Poaceae
• Native: PEAS: Africa, Asia, Europe. OATS: Unknown
• Hardiness: Frost-tolerant annuals
• Plant Dimensions: PEAS: 3'–5' vines OATS: 4' tall
• Variety Information: Field peas are climbing vines. Oats produce tall grass-like plants. The peas and oats in this mix are best used as a cover crop and are not good as edible varieties.
• Exposure: Full sun
• When to Sow Outside: Spring: As soon as soil can be worked, and soil temperature is at least 40°F. Fall: 6 to 8 weeks before first fall frost date, and when temperatures are below 80°F. Mild Climates: Sow in fall or winter for growth during the cool season.
• When to Start Inside: Not applicable.
• Days to Emerge: 7–14 days
• Seed Depth: 1"
• Seed Spacing: Scatter seeds about 3" apart
• Thinning: Not required
• Harvesting: To harvest pea shoots for eating, snip off the top growth including a set of leaves after plants reach 6"-8" tall. Plants will continue to grow and branch out. The thin, stringy tendrils can be harvested as desired.