5/9/12

The Pea Report

Oregon Sugar Pod II (left) and Sugar Ann Snap Peas (right)
I'm harvesting big quantities of two varieties of heirloom peapods now. The ones shown in the photo on the left are Oregon Sugar Pod II. I took a chance on our mild winter weather and planted these seeds on January 29th, and the gamble payed off. I purchased these seeds from Bakers Creek Heirloom Seeds. The plants are vigorous and highly productive. Equally sweet and crunchy are the variety shown on the right, Sugar Ann Snap Peas, which I planted at the end of February. The pods are fatter, with the peas developing larger inside. These can be eaten as edible pods or shelled... I don't bother with the extra work of shelling. I love peapods raw, with a dip or in a salad, as well as lightly stir-fried. I mixed some into a yellow squash casserole too (I'll make that recipe a future post, since I had a request for it when I served it.) I picked both types today, and I am going to experiment with dehydrating with a wasabi coating, like those wasabi peas from the supermarket, great for snacking.

Both of these peapods are considered "bush" varieties. The Sugar Ann plants were shorter - about 18" tall - but they were in a newer part of the garden where the soil is not as rich, so that might be why. Both types were easily supported in my usual manner of sticking branches about 30" tall into the garden soil among the emerging seedlings. The pea plants grab onto the sticks with fine curling tendrils, and are supported as they grow taller. If I only grow one type in the future, which would be smart if I intended to save the seeds, I'd choose the Oregon Sugar Pod II. Remember that pea and bean plants add nitrogen to the garden soil, and it is fine to rototil or turn the plants back into the soil when you are finished harvesting. Try an early planting of peas in your garden next year!