Friday, May 8, 2009
Unusual vegetables are near and dear to my heart, or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say my taste buds. My latest forays into the rare are with snap and snow peas. I got seeds for six different varieties to grow this year. Three are in the garden now and I'm saving the others to plant late this summer to produce a fall crop and hopefully overwinter to produce an early spring crop.
You may have read one of my recent posts about an unusual bout of hot weather that produced temperatures in the garden in the high 90'sF. The poor pea plants were getting crispy tips just as they were starting to form flower buds. The temperatures have since moderated and the peas have fully recovered and are growing like crazy. They are coming into bloom and one variety is just starting to set baby pods.
The varieties that I chose to experiment have unusual flower and/or pod colors. The first photograph above is of a Green Beauty snow pea blossom. Green Beauty plants are supposed to get to 7 to 8 feet tall and produce 7 to 8 inch green pods. Wow, I can't wait to see and taste those. The first blossoms have fallen without producing pods, probably because of the heat, they did look a bit damaged when they opened. The next couple of photos are of Green Beauty blossoms.
I got my Green Beauty seeds through the Seed Savers Exchange, also the source for the peas shown in the next shot. This is a Magnolia Blossom snap pea.
Magnolia Blossom vines get to 8 feet tall and have light green 4 inch pods with a purple stripe. They are supposed to be more tolerant of heat than most peas. They did seem to wilt less and had less damage from the heat than did the Green Beauty peas. Here's a couple more photos of the Magnolia Blossom peas.
Next up is the Golden Sweet snow pea. I purchased these seeds from Pinetree seeds (sold out at the moment). Baker Creek and Seed Savers Exchange are also carrying them. These peas are originally from India which may account for them being the least affected by the heat.
Golden Sweet pea vines reach 6 feet tall. The purple blossoms aren't as showy as the Magnolia Blossom or Green Beauty peas since the don't open fully. The real show put on by this variety are the lovely yellow pods.
These are the very first pods to form on any on the varieties. I sowed the seeds for all three varieties on February 24 and 25 in paper pots and started planting them out on March 9.
Did you know that pea blossoms are self fertile and have usually fertilized even before the blossoms fully open? There tends to be very little pollinization from insects which means you can grow different varieties near each other and not have to isolate the plants for seed saving. This makes peas a very easy vegetable to save seeds for, especially for a beginner like me. The difficult part will be not eating all the peas.