Sunday, June 28, 2009

Screw peas

A few months ago, I planted some peas in my EarthBoxes. The way it normally goes, you plant peas in early spring and they grow quickly enough that you can turn over the ground and grow a different crop, like tomatoes, where the peas were planted.

Thus was my plan, to get some peas in early and then have the rest of the summer to grow tomatoes. The best laid plans ...

I planted about 120 seeds in my 4 EarthBoxes. You start with that many and then thin them out to about half that. I once had planted them in the boxes before but only planted in two boxes, and only 8 plants in each box, so I didn't have nearly enough to make a sufficient quantity of peas to eat. That's why I went with 120.

So I planted and, no sooner than I had, squirrels dug in the boxes and ruined the plantings. Did they eat the peas? No, they just were digging to see if they had left other stuff there. But they messed up the planting. So I tried to fix it, but many of the peas had been thrown from the box. I put a mix of black and cayenne pepper in the box to try to thwart this from happening again, and re-set as many of the seed peas as possible. Three days later, it rained and the pepper was washed away, so the squirrels came back to look for more stuff again. I should have stopped there.
much so for most any vegetable. Peas can take the cold, but they need sunlight daily to grow and this spring it may as well have been Seattle here. They didn't grow that well, and the lack of sunlight and preponderance of precipitation caused them not to produce many flowers, which in turn produce peapods.

So I finally get some peapods on the vines, but it is long past the time the peas should have been harvested normally. Now they were fighting with the tomatoes I had planted in the same boxes. I was expecting the peas to be finished by now.

So this past Monday, I had my first harvest of peas, and what a harvest it was:
. That bowl you see is a small cereal bowl, and there were exactly four teaspoons of peas there. Yesterday, I had my second harvest, about the same. I was so agitated I went out and pulled the little shits right there, swearing off growing peas ever again.

You have to understand how much I really love peas. From when I was a kid until the time I was 30 or so, my mom and dad would grow a large garden and there were always peas. I don't remember how many pea plants we had, but I'm thinking it must have been half a frigging acre's worth to produce the amount of peas we would have in a season. They would also plant potatoes, and the peas would be ready to harvest at about the time the potatoes would be the size of large walnuts - at that point, they are known as "new" potatoes - and my mom would fix a large dish of creamed new potatoes and peas and it was one of the best garden dishes ever. Even our friend Jeff still raves about them from when he stayed at my mom and dad's house years ago. I have always wanted to make them since, but it doesn't appear that I will be growing them myself.

Oh, and did I mention that this year's peas were probably the sweetest, best peas I have ever tasted in my life? They were incredible. But as plants, they suck. Screw peas. I am sticking to tomatoes from here on out.

Oh, and by the way, I don't know who ordered the cold spring we had in New York, but it really sucks. When we were in Kansas (and I will be writing more about that in a day or two), I was appalled to see how large our friends' tomato plants were! Mine were about 16 inches tall at that point and maybe 9 inches wide, while theirs were at least 42 inches tall and 30 inches wide! Because spring heats up sooner in Kansas, they plant tomatoes in March or April, while we have to wait until Memorial Day or later to plant. So they get a lot more tomatoes out of their plants and a lot longer growing season. Of course, they have to live in Kansas to do this, which is the trade-off...

Normally, Long Islanders might expect to have their first few tomatoes by the end of July. We are going to be lucky if we have them by the end of August.

I hope you're having a good weekend and I hope next weekend is a nice one for all, too. Summer can't come soon enough.

2 Comments:

At 6:34 PM, June 30, 2009, Blogger Pua; Bakin' and Tendin' Bar said...

Aww..Poor Marc! While I sympathize with your plight, I must tell you that I'm not a big fan of peas. It could be because my mom only ever used a can opener to produce them. Those mushy things grossed me out. I've always been told that peas fresh out of the garden are nothing at all like those canned things. However, I've never known anyone that grew them. That is until now. Hopefully, one day, I'll have the chance to taste your garden fresh peas. Perhaps in your mom's recipe. I'll look forward to that!

 
At 8:55 PM, July 04, 2009, Blogger Marc said...

Ewww. Canned peas are nothing like the fresh ones. Not even frozen peas are as good, but anything is better than nasty canned peas. If you come out, I will fix!

 

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