A-Z Gardening in Zone 3-4

For the organic gardner struggling in the short season climate

Peas, Please

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Since the jute string is hard to see, I have drawn a line underneath the string to make it easier to find.

I know that it’s a little late in the season to be talking about peas. It occured to me that maybe someone else might like to know about some of the pea culture ideas we have put into practice here in our garden. Since I’m a tall person and getting on in years I don’t like to bend down to do anything. That’s why I weed sitting on a step 2 garden scoot and sew peas onto a chicken wire fence.

Peas need to be planted as early in the spring as possible. We usually try to plant them on Good Friday. This year Good Friday was so early, March 21st, that the garden was still covered with snow so we had to wait until the ground thawed out to plant them. Peas like it cool and if it gets too hot for too long they will just turn yellow, stop producing and die.

There are three kinds of peas, snap or edible podded, snow or sugar peas and shelling. Snap or edible podded peas look like shelling peas when they are ripe, they are round and look full of peas. Snow peas are flat and should be picked then they are small to medium size and very flat. With both snow and sugar snap peas you eat the pod and all. Before cooking or eating raw it is a good idea to pull off the string, just grasp the stem end and pull down and it should come off easily. Shelling peas need to be removed from their pods before eating or processing. Shelling and snap or edible podded peas come in many varieties and are either short or tall. I prefer the tall variety because I don’t like to bend over to pick them, tall peas also don’t get dirty laying in the dirt.

We sew both the short and tall varieties of peas onto 48 inch high, 1 inch grid chicken wire fences when the peas begin to flower. We do this because when the pods mature the tendrils are not strong enough to hold the peas onto the fence because of the weight of the pods. We use a dowel with a rounded head and drill a hole large enough to thread jute twine through it. Jute twine last only one season which makes clean up easy next spring. I takes two people to sew the peas onto the fence, one on either side to pass the needle, the dowel, back and forth through the fence to secure the pea plants. The best and fastest way to do this is to sew one side then the other, skipping over some of the peas and picking them up on the next pass.

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Author: tbenkovitz

I have been gardening for over 50 years, 38 of them as an organic gardener in the short season climate of upstate New York.

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