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Vermont Garden Journal: A Garden Riddle

Rendition Of Pisum Sativum Or Garden Pea

I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal. Here's a quiz. What's this vegetable? It was first found in Egyptian tombs about 6000 years ago. Three quarters of a cup of this vegetable has more protein than an egg. Starch from this vegetable is used to make plastics. Only 5% of this vegetable are eaten fresh. What's is it? It's the garden pea.

Most of the peas sold are either frozen or canned, so growing some of your own fresh garden peas is a real treat. First, you'll have to decide on the pea type. English peas have to be shelled. Snap peas are eaten pod and all once the peas have formed. Snow peas are eaten while the pods are still flat. Tall pea varieties will have to be trellised with wire, plastic or twig fencing to keep your peas from flopping. Peas are beautiful, too, and not just green. 'Golden Sweet' is a snow pea with pink flowers and golden colored pods that stay golden when cooked. 'Shiraz' is a new purple podded pea. Imagine a fence row with green, golden and purple colored peas dancing in the breeze.

Plant peas as soon as the soil can be worked on raised beds. Soak pea seeds the night before sowing in warm water to pregerminate them. This will help prevent rotting in the cold soil. Inoculate your pea seeds with a rhizobium bacteria to help them fix atmospheric nitrogen. You'll only have to do this once and then the bacteria will be in the soil every year. Keep peas well watered and weeded and in about 2 months you'll be noshing on sweet pea pods. For a real taste treat, consider snipping the ends of the pea branches to harvest the tender pea shoots. These are great in salads and stir fries.

And now for this week's tip, even though your shrubs are loaded with snow, let Mother nature melt it. Chances are you'll do more damage than good by trying to remove the snow with a shovel.

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about the other peas: sweet peas. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.


How to Grow: Peas

Beginniers Guide to Growing Peas

Broadcast on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5:57 p.m. and Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 9:35 a.m.

The Vermont Garden Journal with Charlie Nardozzi is made possible by Gardener's Supply, offering environmental solutions for gardens and landscapes. In Burlington, Williston and Gardeners.com.