Garden Peas Last Stand

It’s time.

I waited to see if the garden peas would return after five punishing days of frost last November. Luscious green pods covered the plant for a time, with a promise of many more. When the frost hit (early and rare for us) I wasn’t prepared. By the end of that week it was too late.  The remaining peas froze on the vine, eventually shriveling to a dusty brown.

Always an optimist, I left the plant in place hoping it might recover. It did! In the last few weeks, the plant sent out a second round of flowers and legumes, plump and sweet.

After this last push, the plant looks spent.  Soon I’ll be planting Sweet Peas in the same place.  Keeping it all in the family.

I will definitely grow this winter crop again next year, but I’ll be better prepared.

Meanwhile, if you have a favorite recipe for pea soup, please share in the comments below.

garden peas

Garden peas

garden peas

I love the pretty white flowers

garden peas

Last hurrah

Garden Peas, Hold the Salt

first of the peas

First of the garden peas

We grew up eating peas, both fresh and canned. We loved them. When we moved to the States, it stunned our classmates to see my sister and me eating them from our lunch tray at school. Looking back, I don’t remember anything really delicious arriving on a school lunch tray but somehow those peas were edible, at least to us.

Kids would scoop there peas on to our trays and dare us to eat them. It was a nifty party trick. I don’t have many positive memories of lunch at school, but I do remember eating the offered peas and enjoying the attention that came with it.

Now I’m growing my own peas. Straight from the vine, they’ll be fresh and crisp.  Inside is the hidden treasure: a row of nature’s green pearls.

sweet pea unfurling

Shoots and ‘ladders’

Although I’ve always known that peas were good for you*, I didn’t know they were also good for the environment.  According to The Worlds Healthiest Foods:

Peas belong to a category of crops called “nitrogen-fixing” crops. With the help of bacteria in the soil, peas and other pulse crops are able to take nitrogen gas from the air and convert it into more complex and usable forms. This process increases nitrogen available in the soil without the need for added fertilizer. Peas also have a relatively shallow root system which can help prevent erosion of the soil, and once the peas have been picked, the plant remainders tend to break down relatively easily for soil replenishment. Finally, rotation of peas with other crops has been shown to lower the risk of pest problems. These environmentally friendly aspects of pea production add to their desirability as a regular part of our diet. – Source WHFoods.org

sweet pea

Pea perfection

sweet pea flower

Pretty flowers give way to legumes

*Of Note:

Apparently peas aren’t good for everyone. Peas contain naturally occurring substances called purines.  Taken in excess they can cause health problems in people with gout or kidney stones.  The purine converts to uric acid.  They suggest limiting any high purine-containing foods such as green peas. Who knew?  You can find the complete article here.

Mind Your Peas and Schmooze

sprouted peas

Sprouted peas under the trellis

Do you remember the expression “mind your Ps and Qs?”  A quick wiki search lead to several possible origins, each one plausible and fascinating.

One explanation suggests that “Ps and Qs” is short for “pleases” and “thank-yous.” Young children would pronounce them as Ps and Qs.  Here are a few more:

  • Another origin comes from English pubs and taverns of the seventeenth century. Bartenders would keep a watch on the alcohol consumption of the patrons; keeping an eye on the pints and quarts that were consumed. As a reminder to the patrons, the bartender would recommend they “mind their Ps and Qs”.
  • Another origin could be from sailors in the eighteenth century who were reminded to pay attention to their peas (pea coat) and queues (pony tail).
  • Another possible and viable theory is after the Norman Invasion of 1066 the courts, church, and establishment were becoming French-speaking and the English dialect of the 11th Century had no qs; so one must watch their usage in court or discourse with the French Norman conquers.
  • Another origin of the story of “mind your Ps and Qs” comes from early printing presses. Printers placed individual letters on a frame to print a page of text. The letters were reversed, making it easy to mistake lowercase ps and qs in setting the type. – Wikipedia

Where was I?

Oh yeah, peas…

I’m happy to report that under Mighty Mouse’s watchful eye, the garden peas are up! Hurray, hurray.

white cat

No squirrels over here.

I planted half the seeds, soaking them first for 48 hours to rehydrate them. I hold a reserve for what seems inevitable: the unceremonious removal by foraging squirrels. Apparently squirrels don’t like peas.  Score!!!

Not only did several come up in the curb garden, but at least half a dozen sprouted as well among the annuals on the other side of the lawn. As the annuals go to seed, the climbing peas will take their place.

Sprouted peas in the annual garden

Sprouted peas in the annual garden

It’s a happy day in the garden when seeds sprout and neighbor’s beloved kitty stops by to mind the peas and schmooze.

cat in the garden

The peas look okay

cat in the garden

The irrigation is in working order.

cat in the garden

Now scratch my ears!!!