Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Workday - the Pea Project

Somehow, without a "big" project this year, I've had trouble staying focused on changes and have kept busy with maintenance. I did set four goals this spring and have finished two of these mini-projects, with one part way done. The fourth... will have to wait for cooler weather. I'll tell you about them one Wednesday workday.

But I did have a fifth goal that I never wrote about. I wanted to grow English peas. They are one of my favorite veggies and how hard could it be?Easy as 1, 2, 3. 1) Plant a few seeds, 2) water a bit, then 3) pick and cook peas - right?

Well, sorta.

1) Plant a few seeds. First I needed a place, but I had that all scoped out. There is a nice chain link fence at the back property line that no one uses. It's a very open, sunny spot and the perfect way to support the peas. Right?

And it looked like this. All that brown, dead-looking grass is Bermuda. Aargh! Dead as a doornail in February, but stretching as far as the eye can see on both sides of the fence. No choice but to dig it out. So, I dug out an 18-inch wide strip that is about 20 feet long and got my peas planted by the weekend after George Washington's birthday. You do know that old wives' tale, don't you?

2) Add a little water. Well, wait a second. Peas are tall and they need support - got that with the fence - but how are they gonna get to the fence. Need some other support and guidance. This isn't on my list of steps. And, we have rabbits. It's a corn summer, so we will have more than last year, when it was a soybean summer. [Rabbits eat free at the farm down the road in soybean summers!] Definitely need a rabbit discourager! Another step.

Here's my design. I drove long nails into the ground - just at the base of the green fence - and ran heavy twine up and down from the nail heads to the top of the chain link fence. Twice around each nail head and then up to the fence. When I had it tied all the way, I drove the nails down hard into the ground to pull the string tighter and to bury the nail heads. Then I put up the "soft" green fence. It is removable and will come down first chance I get now that the season is done. And do you see the peas? They were about a foot tall at this point.

Then I carried water to them every couple of days. When planning my bed I neglected to note that there was not a nearby source of water.

3) Pick and eat. Finally, tho, on May 24 I picked and cooked. Did you ever see such a nice bowl of peas? And not edible!

Remember that I planted near GW's birthday (February 22) and I picked June 24 - 90 days, right? Well, peas mature in 60 days! I had let them dry on the plant. I cooked them another 2 hours and then they were delicious! Looked and tasted like LeSeure little peas, but we ate every one. If I do it again, I will keep track of growing time on a calendar!

Was it fun? yes! Was it worth the work? yes! Would I do it again? maybe. We'll see what comes along next year.


  1. You can't give up now: you've got the bed dug, the kinks worked out, and you have made the mistakes. Next year is bound to be better!

  2. I need to get into the habit of growing peas, I love their blooms.

  3. Anneke - your beds give me inspiration - as does the work it takes to grow stuff in your climate!

    MBT - I was so focused on the pods that I completely missed the blooms! As I recall there were some....

    But wait until you see the beets - soon!