Lesson learned last spring, when I planted three rounds of peas and nothing grew. This year I bypassed nature and started my peas between the folded halves of a damp hand towel. It took four days for the most aggressive sprouters, five days for the stragglers. Wait any longer before planting and the roots will grow right into the cotton terry loops. This year’s lesson: paper towels don’t have that problem.

With the peas now in the ground, I’m trying the same experiment with a round of fava beans. Last year the favas took a month to come up, and this year’s seeds, planted three weeks ago, show zero signs of life. I’ll be back with the report.

UPDATE: Favas planted in the ground took more than 4 weeks to come up. Favas sprouted under a towel then planted in the ground surfaced in just a bit over 2 weeks.