Peas, please!

March Garden Update:


Peas are always a popular crop for home gardeners, so in late February, during the cold spell, we planted three varieties of peas. Ho Lan Dow (Pisum sativum ‘Ho Lan Dow’), Sugar Snap Peas (Pisum sativum ‘Sugar Snap’), and Sugar Anns (Pisum sativum ‘Sugar Ann’) were selected for their productivity and ease of growth. The peas were directly sown into amended soil about an inch deep and three inches apart. We watered them in and covered the beds with straw to keep moisture contained during these dry and windy days.


Sugar snap pea seeds inside their pods.


The Ho Lan Dow peas are snow peas, noted for their flat pods that are eaten whole. The plump pods of Sugar Snap and the Sugar Ann peas are also eaten whole and are prized for their sweetness. Sugar Snap peas get quite tall—5 to 6 feet and need support as they grow while Sugar Anns are short—2 feet and are the first peas to be ready for harvest. The Sugar Anns take only 51 days to maturity while the Sugar Snaps take 58 and the Ho Lan Dow are ready in 60.


Sugar snap peas in blooms with pods forming.


Last year we grew another type of pea—a dry soup pea called Roveja (Pisum sativum ‘Roveja’), now available in the Seed Library. Like dry beans, these peas are harvested when the pods have fully dried and the peas look like little rocks, sometime in mid-summer. These peas take from 100-120 days to maturity as they need a long drying time. This particular pea originally came from northern Italy and is an heirloom variety on the Slow Food Ark of Taste. These peas grow to about 5 feet and need trellising.


Roveja peas growing with their trellis support.


A couple of weeks ago, another dry soup pea came to us from a visitor from Sweden. Lena, from southern Sweden, came to the garden and library on the recommendation of her local relatives. Lena is a seed saver in Sweden and brought us a gift of Swedish soup peas, called Rahviksart, that had been selected by their local chefs for their tastiness. Here is a link to the Swedish website of Lena’s group: https://foreningensesam.se/ . We will be growing out the Swedish peas this season to see how they adapt to our climate, while Lena took some Shasta daisies and Hopi Black Dye sunflowers to grow back in Sweden. Seed by seed we continue to plant the world.


Swedish dry soup peas inside a handmade envelope delivered by our visitor, Lena.


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