Peas are one of the earliest vegetable crops to go into the garden, but you can get an even earlier head start on them by planting them in guttering. Peas have sensitive, shallow roots so normally do not transplant very well. Planting the peas in a length of rain gutter then placing it in a greenhouse or other warm and suitably sunny area allows you to get an entire row of the plants started early. When the soil thaws out in spring, you can quickly transplant the entire of row of peas to the garden bed with only a minimal disturbance.
Drill ¼-inch diameter holes in the bottom of a 4- or 6-foot length of rain gutter. Space the holes 6 inches apart. Slide a gutter end cap on each end of the gutter.
Fill the rain gutter to the rim with a well-draining potting soil. Use a soil-less mix, such as 1 part compost combined with 1 part peat moss.
Sow the pea seeds 1 inch deep in the soil. Plant the seeds 2 inches apart in a single row down the length of the gutter.
Set the gutter in a 55 to 65 degree F location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. Water the soil in the gutter when the surface begins to feel dry.
Transplant the peas outside once the plants are at 3 to 4 inches tall and have at least two sets of leaves. Dig a trench in the garden bed that is the same depth as the gutter and slightly longer.
Remove the cap from one end of the gutter. Set the end of the gutter in the end of the trench. Slide the gutter out of the trench while pushing the soil and pea plants into the trench. It is helpful to have someone support the end of the gutter as you slide the soil and peas out of the gutter and into the bed.
Water the peas thoroughly once they are transplanted into the bed, moistening the soil to a 6-inch depth.