|Photo from the USA Dry Pea & Bean Council|
Peas (Pisum sativum) are a part of the legume family which makes them a great source of nutritional protein for us and a great nitrogen source in our gardens. Dry peas (split peas) have been cultivated since ancient times while tender peas (shell, snap and snow) weren't developed until the 1500's (CDC). The garden pea entered the realm of science in the 1800's when Gregor Mendel used the garden pea to study trait inheritance (stretch you memory back to school science classes!).
The shell and snap peas (eatable pods) are family favorites in my home and last week I invested a lot of room toward peas in my garden. Peas are climbing plants and fit well in my recent focus on vertical gardening, but I also planted some in squares following the concept of square foot gardening. They are a cool weather crop and can be direct seeded into the garden as early as 5 weeks prior to the average last spring frost. Sow them about 1.5 inches deep and 3 inches apart in well drained soil. Pick daily while they are in peek harvest season. Once the temperatures get warm, the peas will start to fade and can be removed to provide space for something else. I plant my garden knowing that I will be able to use the peas' space for squash, cucumber or pumpkin vines later in the season.
|2 shell pea rows|
|4 snap pea squares|
Get more information on the garden pea from the National Gardening Association.
Feel free to share any plants that you would like to see featured as the plant of the week and I'll see what I can do. See you back next Wednesday for the next Plant of the Week.
Happy Gardening! :)