Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Anybody who says frozen peas are as good as fresh is kidding themselves. We like to think it's true, because getting fresh peas isn't easy. But really, there's nothing to compare with peas right off the vine. My wife prefers them just like this--raw, uncooked. I see them tossed just a few seconds in a saute pan with some butter and a little salt. Our friend Shelley is wild for fresh peas. She tosses them in her salad.

We've had our best crop of peas this year. Some plants are loaded with pods. I planted them in a long row in the rear of a 14-foot-long bed, then drove three wooden stakes into the ground and strung twine between the stakes for the peas to climb on. As the peas grew taller, I added another rung of twine. Sometimes they needed a little help finding the string and I'd give them a nudge in the right direction.

Still, it's not enough. The freshly harvested peas look pretty at the bottom of a mixing bowl. But we want more. Not all the plants grew so tall and healthy. I'm not sure why. I did not do anything to the soil when I planted the peas. Maybe they'd like a little compost. Next year we'll just have to plant more. Or perhaps a fall crop?


Erica said...

Your right, there is nothing like fresh peas. We eat them raw right off the vine. Hopefully we will get two crops of them in this year, to satisfy our cravings until next summer!

Laura said...

So jealous! As mine are still only 3" tall I'm not expert. However, I read that they like to be side dressed with a bit of bone meal and that if you've never grown them or clover in that patch that it's worth innoculating them. The innoculant increases their nitrogen fixing abilities and therefore their yield.

I didn't innoculate this year as there was plenty of clover in the lawn we took out and the local garden "expert" told me I didn't need to. Only time will tell I guess.

Enjoy your peas!

Kevin said...

I love fresh English peas. When I was a kid we grew them, but my most recent experience with them was at $5/lb three years ago.{sigh}

WeekendFarmer said...

Yum...I want some : )

Janet said...

I've grown to love fresh peas, and I'm partial to sugar snap peas, maybe because I'm lazy. Are all of yours shelling peas?

Ed Bruske said...

Erica, two crops sounds like an excellent idea. I'll make sure to figure out the planting date.

Laura, specific bacteria work with legumes such as peas to produce nitrogen that they deposit in nodes on the plants' roots. You can skip the guesswork though and just work some compost into the soil.

Kevin, having shelled a number of peas, I understand why farmers are charging $5 a pound. Everything is much cheaper if you grow it yourself--fresher, too.

WF, want peas? Grow some!

Janet, I've also planted fava beans and plan to plant some edamame, which my daughter loves. So far, we have not tried sugar snaps or snow peas. Great idea. I can recommend the edamame. They produce huge amounts.

WeekendFarmer said...

: ) that is the problem...growing them! The bunnies keep eating before I can get them to grow old enough to fruit. I am happy to see your harvest.

Fromartz said...

I don't know why but my spring peas have never done well. The leaves turn yellow and the pods are meager. This is in soil I manured last fall, in which lettuce is going well, so I don't think it's a fertility issue... Disease maybe?

Ed Bruske said...

WF, we are pretty lucky in the wildlife department here in the inner-city. No deer. No rabbits. No groundhogs. Just rats.

Sam, not all of my peas did well. I pulled on plant that was experiencing the symptoms you described. Beans and peas are susceptible to fungi--they need sun and good air circulation. In this case, I suspect some kind of infection in the soil.