Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Peas Picked

Cascadia, Mammoth Melting, Super Sugar Snap

Last Sunday I picked my first peas. I showed them to you on Monday's harvest post. I had a total of three snowpeas. They have since been eaten in a nice stirfry along with some Komatsuna, Chinese cabbage, mizuna flowers, and garlic scapes. They were a little lost amid the other plentiful vegetables. But no more back seat for the peas. They are really starting to come in and I'll be picking them every couple of days.

I'm growing three kinds. I love how Mammoth melting grows, but it really isn't the best tasting snowpea I've ever had. Maybe I'll find another pole type that is better someday. Since I had two snap peas this year that grew, I could do a taste test with them. Cascadia wins hands down. It is much sweeter than Super Sugar Snap and SSS has a tinge of bitterness. I can see it would go well in a stirfry, but Cascadia would be best in a salad. So what did I do? I just tossed them all into one container in the fridge. Now I can't tell them apart at all. Oh and Super Sugar Snap seems much more prolific than Cascadia so far. It would be the less tasty one that grows so well.

I'm saving one of my varieties of peas, SSS, for the Seed to Seed Challenge. I chose two really nice plants on the end that are farthest away from the other peas and will not pick any peas off of them. It is really more of a trial than anything. I want to see how many peas can be saved from a plant before it gives up the ghost. I know once it sets, it will stop setting more peas. I'm also learning how to mark the peas to be saved. Right now I have a little bit of orange twine marking the blossoms. It is hard to notice however despite the orange color. When I pick peas I zoom in on one and don't even notice the twine. I need something better to mark it.

The big question with saving peas that are right next to one another is if they will cross or not. Peas are self pollinating and are usually pollinated before the pea flower even opens. But sometimes you can get crosses depending upon the insects in your area. I think I will be able to see if the peas have crossed or not by just seeing what the peas look like. The closest pea to this one is Mammoth Melting. The peas that grow from this are not wrinkled (sweet) peas. If my peas end up smooth than I will know some crossed (and which peas won't come true and I can just pick them out) and might have even crossed with the other snap peas (these I won't be able to tell the difference, sugar snaps all have wrinkled seed). If I see no smooth peas, then I think I'm set for the following years to save peas from any ones I want.

This is prime pea season. Last year I picked my first peas on June 16th. This year was only a couple of days earlier. If all goes well I will be picking peas for a long time to come. Last year I pulled up the last of the spring peas at the beginning of August. Will this year's last as long?

On a more down note, my potatoes have late blight already. I've never had late blight in my garden before. I'm very very worried that it will transmit over to the tomatoes. Right now I have any sign of infection picked off. I don't want the spores to get into the air. I hope this isn't the end of the saga of the potatoes but it might be. Should I pull them all up and protect my other plants? I'm guessing they need until August 1st to mature. This is a long time. We have had a lot of damp cool weather. This coming week it is predicted to rain all week long. Late blight thrives in these conditions. Is it better safe than sorry? Has anyone had late blight before and gotten a crop, especially this early in the game? If it were the middle of July I'd just wait and see how the potatoes turned out but I'm just not sure. This morning I sprayed them with asprin and compost tea. The next non rainy day I'll spray them with Seranade.


  1. I pulled my sugar snap vines last night. Our hot weather had pretty well put a halt to production, and I can use the real estate for something else. I had planted SSS, and liked them, but I didn't think the production was anything to brag about. I didn't inoculate them, which may have been the problem. My Tall Telephone peas are just beginning to put on pods, so I'm not holding my breath that they will survive our 90 degree days.

  2. late blight? I am not familiar with that for potatoes/tomatoes. Hope things go ok, though. I have a few peas in a pot (our spring runoff makes it hard to get anything in the ground early enough for peas)

    thanks for visiting my blog!

  3. My Cascadia snap peas are still just in blossom form, I started them really late but am glad to hear they are great-tasting! I usually eat this kind raw so I'm relieved that they are the best you've found for that. Sorry about the potato blight - my mom has avoided potatoes in her garden for just this reason. She is more into tomatoes. I hope you get an answer and figure out what to do. How frustrating!

  4. Hey Daphne, Would you mind taking a look at the photos I've got up on my blog and tell me if that's the same thing you're seeing on your potatoes? I've been taking a wait and see attitude so far- and actually, despite the massive quantities of rain and the cool temps, I'm really not seeing much progression.

    Thanks for the pea taste test info. Our peas are pretty sorry this year, but what gardener isn't lookin' ahead?

  5. I am "pea green with envy" because mine shriveled up and died on me! Not to be defeated, I will have a fall crop!

  6. Very healthy, Daphne! I grew Super Sugar Snap this year and love them. Yummy!

  7. I've never seen late blight on potatoes before....I certainly hope you get it under control.

  8. Your peas look lovely. I have not picked any yet but have noticed there is going to be a bumper crop this year. I guess cool weather is good for something. I can't offer much help with blight as I have never had that before. Maybe your extension office could help out with suggestions. My inexperienced opinion would be to just leave them in and watch closely.

  9. Annie's Granny, I didn't inoculate mine either. I had vetch (which was inoculated) growing here last fall so I think there is still plenty of the fungi around. I hope you get lots of peas, but with weather in the 90s I think you will get lots of tomatoes and squash and not so many peas.

    Muum, late blight is the fungal disease that caused the potato famine. So it can be pretty nasty.

    Karen, I haven't grown them here before and have certified seed potatoes, so don't know why I'm having an issue. Spores must have blown in from some wild nightshade. If I grow them again next year, I'm going to grow a lot fewer since then it would be an easier decision to pull them out.

    Maggie, I did and left an answer on you blog. I'm always looking ahead too. What am I going to plant next year?

    islandgardener, so sad. Good luck on your fall crop. I grow one too, but it is usually much smaller than my spring harvest.

    DirtDigger, I need to get out my stirfry pan and cook some up. Or maybe I'll just have some plain.

    Engineeredgarden, thanks.

    Daniel, yeah at least we get peas and greens in this weather. My squash and corn aren't doing so well. I hope they get a move on or no winter squash this year.

  10. Your peas look marvelous. Maybe I shoulda planted more pea plants. I made a 3-pole teepee (teepea lol) with three plants per pole and it's growing great but I don't know if I'll get that bountiful harvest I was hoping for.

    I think next year I'll grow mine in a bushy row like yours :D

  11. Oh, Daphne, I'm sorry about the potatoes. I wish I had advice, but if it's raining there as it's raining here, ouch... How close are they to the tomatoes? I'm thinking I might sacrifice the spuds for the tomatoes.

    At least your peas are thriving. They are gorgeous!

  12. You peas look fantastic! I can't believe you pea keep on until August! Mine are almost ready to be pulled, just waiting on the seeds! I might have to try Cascadia next year! It's hard to find the right combination of taste and growth!

    I'm so sorry to hear about the blight, I've always dreaded it, but never had it, after all it is the malignant disease responsible for the great (or not so great) potato famine!

  13. Cynthia, I've never grown peas on tepees. I've done it a lot with beans but never peas. It makes me wonder if I should grow my beans this way.

    June, they are about 7' away from the tomatoes. I just hope that is far enough, but I might have found it on the tomatoes too. I hope I'm wrong.

    Lzyjo, They don't always last that long, but they did last year. Only the snowpeas however.