Saturday, April 05, 2008

Peas - Growing Notes

You can see I resisted my usual urge to go unlabeled. If it was only one type of peas I had planted, I would have not labeled. Instead, I planted two types, which I suspected I couldn't tell apart until harvest, so I labeled them Snap Peas and Snow Peas. Photo above is from today, below is from last week.

This is the second post collecting my notes on a specific vegetable. Fennel was the first one.

DH & I grow snap and snow peas because we like to stroll through the garden and eat them. Some do make it into a salad and we'll also eat them steamed. After a blanching, I'll freeze some for winter. We have never grown the shelling kind, though.

What are your favorite peas? When you do start them, and inside or outside? When?

Variety I'm growing:
(1) Sugar Snap Peas - 6 foot vines. I've used up the Cascadia Snap seeds I've grown in the past so I'm trying these. Territorial Seed Company. I picked them up from Thunder Mountain Farm on this Spring Excursion. Snaps are a favorite garden grazing menu choice.

(2) Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Peas - 30 inch vines. Territorial Seed, left over from past years.

Seeding & Germination:
Soil temp. for germination: 40-75 F.
2008 & 2007 sown inside mid March in small but deeper pots to give the roots room. April & May, planted some directly outside to fill in gaps in the pea fence.
2006 sown outside mid March.

I had read that in our area, peas could be planted outside on Presidents' Day in Feb. Last year, I tried planting them outside early. While some sprouted, them just seemed stressed (cold & damp soil, I think) and they were not the first to produce. Plus something started eating them! See this photo. So, last year, I also started some inside and they seemed to do the best.
I do inoculate pea seeds as often recommended. I dampen the seeds and coat them in this inoculant powder that contains a rhizobial bacteria. It is supposed to help peas use and fix/share nitrogen in the soil.

Planted out:
2008 - soon, 4/5-moved outside to a cloche, and pinched back per Matron's suggestion
2007-transplanted seedlings by mid April

I have used fencing in the past. This year I'll need something taller if those Snaps actually grow 6 feet. Here is a photo with the 4 foot trellising I use. I didn't have much luck with the fall planting in the photo, though. I'll try again in a less shaded spot.

2007 - blossoms around May 20th, harvested first Snow peas in early June; vines finished up by late July. See this post on hidden peas.
2006 - blossoms in early June. See this photo.

Saving seeds:
? These say they are open pollinated varieties (not hybrids). Does this mean they can be dried and saved? Do you save pea seeds successfully & from what variety?

Memoriable Pea Moments:
I often see lady bugs on the peas, but this furry guy fascinated me. He showed up in August when the pea vines were ready to come down. So determined to get a good night's rest, so I left them in place that day. I didn't see him again after this.


Matron said...

I start my peas off in toilet rolls in the greenhouse. Do you Americans call them bathroom rolls?? LOL I find this prevents the mice eating them. I harden them off outside for about a week then pinch the tops off when they are about 4 or 5" tall. This will encourage more side shoots and eventually more flowers and pods.

Greenmantle said...

Have just been doing some googling to get round the language barrier and find out what "snap" & "snow" varieties are like.

Snow peas are clearly what we would call "Mange Tout" in the UK...(Yes its a French name but things are histrically complicated in these parts OK!) They are fairly common, and readily available in the shops. I've not actually seen anyone growing them on an allotment, but doubtless people do.

Snaps peas then, we do also have, but possibly the slight variation known to you as "sugarsnap". These are far less common though I'd say.

Probably 90% of all the peas grown an eaten here would be traditional podded, or "English" varieties.

Although many still do not make it to the table, or indeed even out of the garden when they are young and sweet.....

For my money, I don't much care for Mange Tout etc....why eat all that flappy, stringy, crunchy, tasteless pod, when you can have a handfull of nice fat juicy peas instead!

Petunia's Gardener said...

Matron & Greenmantle...ah, yes, this same/not same language! They are toilet paper rolls here. Does TP ever show up where it isn't supposed to in the UK like in trees and shrubs? Sometimes a highschool prank, here. I've always know it as TP'ing or being TP'ed. We moved to WA and they refer to it as "rolled" ('someone' rolled his house last night).

Greenmantle, I have liked snow peas in Asian recipes and some restaurant salads or meals. I would say we preferred the sweet, juicy sugar snap peas (no string varieties) from the garden. Thought I'd try snows again since i had the seeds. We did like the youngest of the snows most so I'll just try harvesting at the right stage.

What varieties of the traditional podded peas do you recommend?

Thanks for the input! - Paula

Greenmantle said...

These are the only varieties that I can speak of personally. They are pretty much the "Uk standard" ones I'd guess, but they have been around for donkey's years, and were always grown at home when I was lad.

(I copied this for accuracy)

First Early: Kelvedon Wonder Height 60cm (2ft), can also be used in place of maincrop variety. Vigorous and reliable cropper - RHS Award

Second early: Hurst Green Shaft Height 75cm (2.5ft), great taste, good disease resistance

Maincrop Onward
Height 90cm (3ft), very prolific.

I know some people swear by "Alderman" and purple podded varieties are also quite popular these days.

The person to consult, would be Rebsie aka "Daughter of the Soil"

What she don't know about peas....