SUNDAY’s Sampler Platter – (imagine that).
To pea or not to pea that is the question. And here in McHenry, it’s time to pea!
It was in the 80’s today. So being the happy gardener that I am, I decided to put in some peas. Peas are well-suited to cooler temperate climates. In fact, when temperatures exceed 20C (70F), most varieties of peas will stop producing pods. While in Salisbury England, I had mushy peas served with fish and chips. It was incredibly delicious and not something I would have guessed would be served with the fried fish and potatoes. But wow! It was bloody good!
I’ll even share my Stonehenge story with you. We booked a guided trip to see Stonehenge. But unfortunately the bus never showed. We waited and waited and waited and waited. Did I mention we waited? So after an eternity, my traveling companion said Bethsheba, we must go find our own way to Stonehenge or we will never see it. So off we whirled to find a bus to take us to Salibury plain! Our bus arrived and you would be amazed to know that it’s out in the middle of nowhere. No town, no trees, nothing. An awe inspiring side. Having been to other tourist sites around the world, you’d typically see most in the middle of a town.
There is a giant path leading around Stonehenge because you are not allowed to touch the stones anymore. That was a great big disappointment to me. But alas I still got to see one of the wonders of the world…
Now get out there and plant your peas:
Peas are part of the legume (Latin Leguminosae) family of vegetables, which extract nitrogen from the air and store it in little nodules along their roots. For this reason, when the plants finish cropping, dig the roots directly into the soil, where they will slowly decompose and release nitrogen for other plants to use.
Peas are a prime example of the difference between shop purchased vegetables and those fresh from the garden. Fresh peas win every time, on taste, texture and food value, and that includes frozen peas!
Where To Grow Peas
Peas will grow on most soils, although they prefer a medium well-dug soil with plenty of organic material. Do not add nitrogen to the soil before planting (or after) – peas extract nitrogen from the air sufficient for the needs. An over-rich soil will cause lots of leafy growth, but a reduced cop of peas. Peas like moisture, so do not plant too near walls or fences.
A sunny area is best, although peas are tolerant of partial shade, especially if the shade occurs during the hottest part of the day. Maincrop peas are tall leggy plants (6 ft), and they can easily be damaged if planted in areas exposed to high wind.
Remember that the taller varieties will cast quite a shadow over any other crops nearby. A good plan is to use the space around the pea plants for smaller shade-tolerant plants vegetables – radishes are an excellent choice.
When To Sow Peas
By sowing a couple of varieties over a month or so, the cropping can be extended from mid-June to mid-September. The table below shows when to sow each type and when they will crop. Specific varieties are recommended later – use the menu on the top left of this page (‘pea varieties’) if you want to go there now.
|Type||Sow||Harvest||Sow to Harvest|
|First Early||March to June||June to September||12 weeks|
|Second Early||March to June||June to October||14 weeks|
|Maincrop||March to June||July to October||15 weeks|
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen green peas
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring a shallow pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add frozen peas, and cook for 3 minutes, or until tender. Drain peas, and transfer to a blender or large food processor. Add cream, butter, salt and pepper to peas, and process until blended, but still thick with small pieces of peas. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve immediately.
Laugh, learn and liven up your taste buds!