February is the time for planting early vegetable crops. Garden peas (Pisum sativum L), and spinach (Spinacia oleracea) can be planted in the Piedmont region from mid to late February and will tolerate freezing temperatures. Peas planted early can be hardened to withstand a frost. However, the flowers are still susceptible to freezing temperatures and will need protection. A row cover can be used to protect the plants. Choose a row cover made of a spun-bonded polyester material that needs no support above the developing plants. For example, a light to medium weight spun-bonded polypropylene row cover will provide 4 degrees of frost protection down to 28 °F. Remove the row cover before the temperatures get above 75 °F as high temperatures under the row covers may inhibit the growth of the plants. Spinach can withstand temperatures as low as 20 °F.
Peas can be sown in either a single row on 2 – 4-inch spacing or double rows. Spacing between rows should be 6 – 18 inches. To extend harvests, sow additional rows in 2-week intervals. Pea plants will also need support from a small trellis. In the absence of a soil test, fertilize peas with a 5-10-10 all-purpose fertilizer at a rate of 3 pounds per 100 square feet at planting. Spinach can be sown in rows giving 1 – 3 feet between rows. Seeds should be spaced 2 inches apart. In the absence of a soil test, fertilize spinach with a 5-10-10 all-purpose fertilizer at a rate of 3 pounds per 100 square feet at the time of planting.