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Peas and Pea Pods

Featured Recipes: Gardening Tips:
Cues for Minding Your Peas
Picking peas is easy, but you need to do it at least every other day for best quality and freshness, and to keep production going.
Here are a few tips:
~For pea vines that flop over but are too short to trellis, flip them to one side and pick the ones exposed on top. The next day flip the whole row back again and pick the other side.
~For tender shelling peas, pick when the peas are round and filled out in the pods. When you squeeze the pod they should feel solid but not hard.
~Pick snap peas such as Super Sugar Snaps when they feel hard, but while the surfaces of the pods are still smooth.
~Peas grown for their pods, such as Snowflake, should be picked while they are still flat, before the peas swell inside. The pods can be picked while tiny, but have more flavor at a larger size.
Win the Race for Spring Peas
A local restaurant we know used to award a prize for the earliest peas brought in. To me, that heavenly fresh taste is reward enough. Here are some tricks for extra-earlies: prepare the bed completely in the fall, digging in lots of manure. It can even be fresh manure, since it will rot during winter. You won’t have to wait for the soil to be workable; just pop the seeds in the ground as soon as it has thawed. In warm climates, you can even plant in late fall or winter for spring germination.

Memories of eating peas straight from the vine has no doubt led many of us down the garden path with our watering can. Peas prefer cool weather so direct sow in sun and fertile soil in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Plant tall, climbing varieties along a sturdy or netted structure to support the plant and to elevate the pods. Harvest shelling peas small and tender and snow peas once the pod is flat and shiny. Pick daily once peas begin to mature. (Peas are open-pollinated and ideal for seed saving: a great activity for humans of all ages.)

Found in nurturing American chicken pot pies and tuna casseroles, sinfully rich Fettuccini Alfredo, refreshing Middle Eastern minted-salads, creamy emerald-green soups and scores of winter stews, the pea is revered around the world.

Barely blanched fresh peas with sweet butter and a light sprinkle of sea salt is the best. But admit it, who among us does not love the seven layer salad of the 1970s? In a large glass salad bowl, layer from the bottom up: 3/4 head chopped iceberg lettuce, 1 cup chopped celery, 1 cup chopped red or green pepper, 1/2 cup diced red onion, 1 cup fresh peas, 1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts and 1/4 head chopped iceberg lettuce. Mix together 2 cups mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Spread over the top of the layered salad and chill for 24 hours or overnight. To serve, top with 1/2 cup crumbled crispy bacon, 1/2 cup chopped hard boiled eggs and 2 cups grated cheese. Toss and serve to rave reviews.

Average seed life: 3 years

#3405 Iona Petit Pois Peas: 68 days
Once you’ve experienced the delicate texture and sweet, buttery flavor of this authentic petit pois, you’ll quickly understand why French cooks will accept no substitute. This new and improved French variety will bestow clusters of 3″ to 4″ long pods on 2″ vines that produce the highest yield when trained on a supportive structure. Its treasured, delicate peas are about half the size of a regular shelling pea, and twice as delicious, like precious flavor gems. Fresh or frozen, as a side or tossed with pasta, they are an exquisite gourmet experience. (OP.)

Packet of 300 Seeds / $3.25

# of Packets:
#3410 Dakota Shelling Peas: 55-60 days
This easy-to-grow shelling pea produces slender pods with eight to ten plump peas, borne doubly at each node. Give Dakota’s tendrils 3’ stakes so the compact vines can twine to 2’. Good for freezing, they are also pure heaven when steamed and drizzled with butter. (OP.)

Packet of 300 Seeds / $3.15

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#3420 Super Sugar Snap Pea: 62-66 days
The 3” to 4” long pods are well-filled; many borne doubly at the nodes. Super Sugar Snap bears on disease-resistant vines scrambling to five feet or more. Try this easy, yummy Primavera Presto pasta fixed in one pot: undercook penne or ‘bow’ pasta by about two minutes, keeping pot at a low boil. Add halved Super Sugar Snap peas, fat asparagus in 2” pieces and cook two to three minutes more. Drain, tossing with butter, olive oil, freshly grated parmigiano and Italian parsley. (OP.)

Packet of 200 Seeds / $3.35

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#3435 Avalanche Snow Pea Pods: 59 days
Disease-resistant Avalanche produces mountains of beautiful, flat, shiny dark green pods that are about 5 1/4” long, crisp and sweet. Self-supporting, its robust semi-leafless (afila-type) vines can stretch to 30” tall, reliably setting double pods at each node. Resistant to Fusarium and powdery mildew, Avalanche is incredibly productive as long as you pick it regularly, hunting down any fugitives hiding under its leaves. (OP.)

Packet of 300 Seeds / $3.25

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#3450 Golden India Edible Pea Pod: 60-70 days
Rare, beautiful and delicious, this unique, yellow, edible pod pea has tasty, flat pods that are sweet and crunchy. For best eating, harvest them while small and slim. The 6’ tall vines require structural support and deserve center-stage garden placement: they have enchanting, two-toned purple flowers followed by their striking lemon-yellow pods. Originally from India, this heirloom is just fabulous in stir-fries. (OP.)

Packet of 150 Seeds / $3.85

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#3460 Blauschokker Blue Pod Peas: 80-85 days
Also known as “Capucijner blauschokkers” for the European monks who developed it in the 1500s, it is one deliciously sweet and tasty pea. Decorative Blauschokker grows up to 6’ tall with red and violet flowers, followed by blue-purple pods filled with brown-gray peas traditionally used in soups or robust side dishes. We have also enjoyed early-picked 3” pods prepared in much the same way as Snow Peas. Once the beans are ripe, they may be used fresh or dried. (OP.)

Packet of 100 Seeds / $3.85

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#3470 Sugar Ann Snap Peas: 52-62 days
Easy-to-grow Sugar Ann has self-supporting vines that grow up to just 2’ tall with 2½”-thick crunchy sweet pods. Ready to pick at least a week earlier than Super Sugar Snap, this newcomer is just as sweet, crispy and coveted for fresh salads, stir-fries or pasta dishes. (OP.)

Packet of 200 Seeds / $3.15

# of Packets:

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