July 11, 2016
This time of year is always fun at the farm because there’s so much to harvest in the gardens. Many of you have asked about my peas and the new trellises we built for them this spring. I am happy to report that the trellises are working well, and my pea plants continue to be prolific producers.
We planted many shelling and snap pea varieties this season, including ‘Maxigolt’, ‘Penelope’, ‘Sienna’, 'Douce Provence’, 'Feisty’, 'Green Arrow’, 'Television’, 'Super Sugar’, ’Sugar Sprint’, ’Sugar Ann Og’, 'Amish’, 'Avalanche’, ’Royal Snow' and ’Golden Sweet’. It’s important to plant peas as soon as possible in spring in order to get a full harvest before hot summer temperatures arrive. My housekeeper, Sanu Sherpa, harvested a lot of them not too long ago.
Here are some photos - enjoy.
1 The new pea trellis was a great addition to my garden this year. We planted many peas along both sides - one side for shelling peas, which need to be removed from their pods before eating, and the other side for edible pods, which can be eaten whole, like snap peas and snow peas.
2 We planted the peas in April. Pea seeds may be planted as soon as the soil temperature reaches 50-degrees Fahrenheit. Peas grow best at temperatures of 55 to 64-degrees Fahrenheit.
3 Peas can take as little as 54-days to mature, but they average about 60 to 70 days before they can be harvested.
4 And just as scheduled, by late June these peas were plump, and read to be picked.
5 Pea, Pisum sativum, is an annual herbaceous legume in the family Fabaceae.
6 The oldest pea was found in Thailand. It was 3000-years old!
7 The pea plant can be bushy or climbing, with slender stems.
8 They are best grown on supports to keep them off the ground and away from many pests and diseases.
9 Pea tendrils are young leaves and shoots of the pea plant and taste like a cross between peas and spinach.
10 It was nice to see that all the pea tendrils found their way to the trellis netting.
11 Pea plants also have pinnately compound leaves, or pairs of leaflets arranged on either side of the stem.
12 Sanu was able to pick many peas. This is best done in the morning, before it gets too warm.
13 Shelling peas are also sometimes called garden peas, sweet peas or English peas. The pods are firm and rounded, and the peas inside are sweet and may be eaten raw or cooked.
14 Harvest green peas when pods start to fatten, but before peas get too large.
15 Be careful to pinch peas gently from the vine without tugging because the vines are fragile and easy to break.
16 The pods can range in size from four to 15-centimeters long and about one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half centimeters wide. Each pod contains between two and 10-peas.
17 This pea pod variety contains only seven-peas.
18 And this pea pod holds nine-peas.
19 Snow peas are also known as Chinese pea pods. They are flat with very small peas inside, and the whole pod is edible.
20 Snap peas are also edible-podded peas that differ from snow peas in that their pods are round as opposed to flat.
21 Extend your harvest season by re-planting in two-week successions. Succession planting is the practice of following one crop with another to maximize a garden’s yield. It is an efficient use of gardening space and time.
22 Peas don’t need much nitrogen fertilizer - they actually fix their own nitrogen from the air, and can even improve the soil by adding nitrogen to it.
23 Any unused pea hulls and foliage are added to the compost pile - nothing gets wasted.
24 An entire pea harvest usually lasts one to two weeks.
25 Peas are starchy, but they are also high in fiber, protein, vitamins A, B6, C, and K, plus magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc.
26 I hope your pea crops have done as well as mine - enjoy them.