Friday, July 9, 2010

Pathetic Peas

There is no gardening without humility. Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder.
~Alfred Austin

Well, it’s to the bottom of the class for me today!

Last year I bought a packet of snap pea seeds. I love the snap pea varieties. No shelling needed and incredibly sweet pods surround delish peas. With my small veggie garden a packet often yields me two seasons of sowing, so this year I planted again from the same packet.

Last year my peas were truly pathetic, the vines barely getting more than 1 foot (31 cm) tall and producing just a handful of sweet snap peas. Not enough even to get past my mouth and make it to the kitchen counter. I blamed it on the unseasonably short, cool spring that too quickly turned hot. Not very pea friendly, too much heat makes peas stop flowering. No flower, no vegetable.

This year however, our spring has been loooong and unseasonably cool. Very pea friendly. But wait…my pea vines, which should be 6’ (1.8 m) tall are still stunted, barely taller than last year. The only difference…more peas to munch on. What gives? I even moved this season’s crop to a sunnier locale and gave them an 8 foot (2.5 m) trellis upon which to produce their bumper crop. That and months of cool weather…what more could a pea vine want? I’ve been growing peas for years. My peas should look like Simon’s! Up to the front of the class, Simon. Ok, he does have a greenhouse in which to start his crops, but still…that’s only a covetous excuse when it comes to peas. It pains me to post this picture…to totally expose my pathetic pea crop…but alas one must remain humble. The bare naked fence should be covered!

Thinking perhaps my pea growing days are over because my lovely vine maple trees are making too much shade, I finally referred to the seed packet. ‘Sugar Sprint snap pea, edible pods’. So far so good. ‘Dwarf form of Sugar Snap, bear crunchy pods on 2 foot vines…”. DWARF! TWO FOOT VINES! How could I have missed that? I’ve got 8 feet of trellis attached to that fence! What a dunce! READ the packet, Joan! For two springs now we’ve missed out on a great pea crop because I missed the fact that I mistakenly bought a dwarf variety! Sigh.

I definitely won’t make that mistake again…I hope. Was I beguiled by the pretty picture on the front of the packet? Or was it the recipe on the back? Hmmm…Pea and Bulgur Salad. Yum. Fresh snap peas, grain bulgur, cucumber, sautéed onion, toasted pine nuts, chopped mint all tossed in an oil/vinegar dressing. Hmmm…maybe this seed packet wasn’t such a blunder after all. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait till next spring (and a new packet of seeds)mto make this wonderful salad from our own garden. But I will, mark my words!

In Bloom In My Garden Today: Purple Poppies, Borage, Phygelius, Echinacea, Lobelia, Mullen, Nigella (Love-In-A-Mist), Thyme, Lavender, Dutch Iris, Clematis, Bletilla (hardy orchid), Thalictrum rochebrunianum (Meadow Rue), Lavender ‘Hidcote’, Digitalis, Begonia ‘Bonfire’, Penstemon schmidel ‘Red Riding Hood’, Salvia officinalis (culinary sage), Salvia nemorosa ‘Viola Klose’ and 'Hot Lips', Astilbe ‘Bridal Veil’, Baptisia, Tomato ‘Stupice’, Dianthus (Pinks), Hardy Geranium, Peas, Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’, Armeria latifolia ‘Joystick’, Rose, Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’, old fashioned Coral Bells (Heuchera), Alpine strawberry, Daphne caucasica ‘Eternal Fragrance’ and ‘Summer Ice’

Authors photos


Simon said...

Thanks for the big up! Now if I could just write as eloquently as you do...

Joan said...

Thank you Simon, you are a dear!

Truly I've learned alot from you and your methods, even though you are a man of few words.

Keep up the good work and thank you for visiting!

Cindy said...

kinda like our contractor getting us ORNAMENTAL strawberries last year. who grows plants that look like strawberries but never produce fruit?


live and learn me thinks!

Joan said...

I'm with ya on that!
Real strawberries would do the same ground covering as the ornamental types so why? Perhaps for the pink flower, but I'd rather have the produce too.

Thanks for reading!

Kathy J said...

Joan: I definitely want to taste this salad when you make it; I'll bring the wine!
See you soon

Joan said...

Hi Kathy! Sorry my friend but this is not the salad for you...bulgur is wheat grain, but I could easily substitute lentil or quinoa so I'll bring it to our next lunch!

Kathy J said...

Yes, I know :) I automatically substitute quinoa in my head when seeing such recipes. I look forward to any get together and a new salad is an extra bonus!!