Pea-picking confusion

Picking peas last night, I found it difficult to distinguish the mature flat-podded snow peas from immature shell peas, because they are right next to each other and are roughly the same height - the line between them is fuzzy. The sugar snaps are reliably taller than the other two, so next year I suggest that we plant the snap peas in the middle, and simply note on the garden plan if the snow peas are on the left or right of the snaps.

2013 Legumes (end of season notes)

Bush Beans: all did well, wonderful varieties, didn’t last quite as long as last year
Dried Beans (3 sisters): planted closer to correct time to climb corn, good yield, tasty
Fava Beans: badly attacked by aphids, fairly low yield of very tasty beans
Peas: only early snap-type germinated, good yield. Broadcast late bush variety Super Snappy did well – try bush type shell pea in spring next year?
Pole Beans: Romanos planted early (where shell & snow peas crapped out) did well on trellis. Kentucky Blues planted after peas (which were slow this year) were last beans in garden.
Soybeans: good yield, plants seemed to mature over a shorter period than last year

Peas: Good Tall Varieties

Tall Peas


Growing multiple varieties of vegetables is the tradition at Robbins Farm Garden. So it is with our Peas. This year, we grew three types: Snap (Sugar Snap), Snow (Mammoth Melting Sugar) and Shell (Alderman).

The Sugar Snap Peas performed well enough last year to justify a repeat performance, covering our 7-foot high bamboo trellis which also serves as the platform for the late season Pole Beans. Yet, the bush-type Snow and Shell Peas we grew last year were not the best use of vertical space.

The search for a tall Snow Pea was easy. Mammoth Melting Sugar is an heirloom variety, considered one of the largest and finest flat pod peas on the market. They grew, not unexpectedly, terrifically well in our garden. A tall variety of Shell Pea was more difficult to find. We decided upon Alderman, a variety marketed by Thompson & Morgan.

Alderman is a later pea (85 days to maturity vs. 70 for Sugar Snap & 68 for Mammoth Melting Sugar), but it did not disappoint. The plants grew as quickly -- and as tall -- as the other Peas, and the production was every bit as good. Fresh from the pod, they rival snap peas for flavor and sweetness. One warning: they require very little cooking, and they lose their flavor if over-cooked.

The Pea plants were pulled today and Pole Beans planted in their place. Overall, I would have to rate this year's Pea crop as outstanding, with a solid month of harvest.


Peas are the garden's geeks

We harvested our third variety of peas yesterday. This year we are growing three types: tall snows, sugar snaps, and tall shells. This time it was the tall shells, reaching up 6 feet on the garden's tallest trellis.

These peas took about three months to grow that tall. They were among the first veggies planted in the garden on March 24th.

Why are peas sorta geeky? It's because of roles they played over the years in important advances in science and technology. In the mid-1800's, peas were central players in research done by Gregor Mendel, now regarded as the father of heredity science and modern genetics. In the 1920's, they were early contributors to the work of Clarence Birdseye in developing the technology for the fast freezing of fresh foods, work done here in Massachusetts and still used widely today.



Fans young and old

I opened up the garden today to entertain quite a number of visitors. Three adults were much impressed with our potato plantation, never having seen blossoming potatoes! We're educational for adults as well as children. I wish I'd had a camera for a sturdy 3-year-old fingering a squash leaf attended by a smaller one looking on. I fed the two some peas from a pod, and when the mother asked the 3-year-old to say "thank you," he said "more" instead. Two other older children, Korean, decided to keep the peas to plant them as their peas hadn't come up.

Fall Crop Update

The peak of the harvest is past, and yet we tried second plantings of some crops because we had the space, to see what would happen.  With about a month to go, here's their progress.

Cabbage & Cauliflower:  large leaves, producing well, but no sign of heads yet.

Carrots:  leafy fronds are doing well; no sign of poking out of the ground.

Beets:  alive but struggling.

Spinach:  mostly eaten by Something.

Peas:  half-height, base leaves yellowing, no sign of peas.

Lettuce:  looking good!  Might harvest some next week.

Also, here's an update on some first plantings:

Eggplant:  *continues* to produce, though more slowly.

Beans:  the bush beans produced another handful; the pole beans have disappointed.

Potatoes:  we pulled a single plant to obtain some potatoes for display at Town Day.  The number amidst the roots was extensive, and while mostly small-to-tiny, there was at least one big red one.  From just one plant!

Squash:  the tiny zucchini was accidently harvested; there's still a medium yellow squash; and the pattipan has several small fruits (not to mention flowers) which it thinks it has time to make bigger -- we'll see.

The mildew is back to some extent on the squash, and worse, has jumped to the other side of the garden and covered the collard leaves.

The rest of the greens (kale, chard, arugula and other herbs) still doing well.

Peas, part II - out with the old, in with the new

We pulled the last of the snow and shell peas today, and replanted new snow and shell peas for a fall crop - same varieties: Oregon Sugar Pod snow peas, and Pioneer shell peas.

The spring crop was ready for first harvest after about 70 days. So everything else equal, we could expect a new crop around the beginning of October. However, the spring crop starts with short, cool days and ends with long, hot days. The fall crop sees just the opposite. We need to keep them well-watered in the hot months so they don't just croak.

Babies Growing Up

Zucchini.  Looking a bit battered- hopefully it won't make a difference when it gets a bigger.

Tomatoes changing color.  I think these are the grape tomatoes, in which case they are turning red, or maybe they're the Sungold cherry tomatoes turning yellow.

Peppers- these look like chili peppers rather than bell peppers.

Shell peas, finally.  Yummy.

Peas for the visitors

Tuesday, I opened the Garden for about an hour and a half, and we had about a dozen visits in that time. One group had 3 adults and five children, all of whom I gave a pod pea pea or two. Michael came by at the end to off a few weeds and talk to one visitor. Emma (his dog) had a drink. This time I tried drawing a squash plant, definitely a challenge. Spied one blossom!

Snap peas - day 63

Snap peas

We're getting into the peak of pea season. We had a good harvest on June 23, 63 days after planting. Fresh peas right off the vine are becoming a visitor favorite. Lots of folks have never tasted a fresh tender young pea pod that's never been refrigerated. "Extreme Locavore".

Peas 1st big harvest - June 19

first snow peasThe first snow peas were harvested on June 19 (59 days from planting). Peas will be coming fast and furious for the next two or three weeks. We also picked a few sugar snaps, but they won't really come into their own for another week. The shell peas are probably 2 weeks from maturity. We could have planted peas earlier and harvested a week or two sooner, but we were too busy in March creating this garden from nothing.sugar snaps


Subscribe to RSS - Peas