Peas are one of the first cool season vegetables to grace our late winter/spring gardens, and growing peas is easy! Raw peas are a delicious snack whether packed for lunch or picked and eaten straight out of the garden. They are full of Vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids. Tender pea shoots are also edible and make fun additions to salads and fresh veggie dishes. Incorporate peas into a children’s garden by erecting an edible teepee that can double as a hideout.
- English / Shelling Peas: shelled peas are good for fresh eating, drying or cooking; pods are generally too tough and fibrous to eat.
- Snap Peas: one of my favorites for fresh eating, these can be plucked right off the vine and popped in your mouth pod and all!
- Snow Peas: a popular vegetable in Asian cooking, these are delicious eaten fresh pod and all, or lightly cooked to maintain crispness and flavor.
Pea Growing Basics
- Sow seeds or transplant starts in Feb / Mar.
- Seeds will germinate when soil temperatures are at least 45 °F, however germination may be sporadic until temps warm to >50 °F.
- Pea starts are quite frost tolerant, but tender greenhouse grown starts should be given a bit of extra protection until they acclimate.
- Use a soil inoculation when sowing seeds
- Amend heavy soils with compost and add lime if soil is acidic
- Side dress with a balanced slow release fertilizer. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers.
- Provide vertical support to save space in the garden.
- Peas will dramatically slow production when temperatures start climbing into the 80 °F realm.
- When peas are spent, chop and turn under the vines to add organic matter and nitrogen to the bed for your next summer crop!
Glazed Snow Peas Recipe
Melt 2 Tbs butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 8 oz snow peas, 1 bunch chopped scallions, a pinch of sugar and ¼ c water. Cover and simmer 2 minutes, then uncover and boil until the water evaporates, about 2 minutes more. Season to taste with coarse salt.
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