Saturday, 18 June 2011
In Praise of Peas
Every year I plant peas, some years they are more successful than others, this year we aren't doing too bad. I sowed three to a 3" pot and waited till they were fairly strong before I planted them out. I think keeping them covered with a mesh tunnel helped them establish and there was no slug, mice or rabbit damage. On previous years rabbits were getting in to the allotment garden and having a fine old time selecting what to have for their dinner. This year I haven't seen so many rabbits about (I think they too have good and bad years) and also my neighbours in the next field keep several cats which may help keep the population down. (Do cats kill rabbits - not sure about that one).
I know that you have to plant a lot of peas to get decent crops and that it takes a lot of picking to get enough for a meal. Then there is all that podding and faffing about. But you know what, I love fresh peas. I realise that Mr. Birds' Eye does a pretty good job with his peas - but they are different in taste somehow - home grown peas have an earthier taste with more depth to it. The only time I would say his peas are better than mine are when used in pea soup. The colour is better not so sludgy looking.
I knew a man once who put the whole of his allotment down to peas. He sowed them in succession and his rows graduated from a few inches to a few feet - it was a sight to behold (I think he may have liked peas). It was from him that I learned how to support them. Rather than using 'twiggy pea sticks' (I love that phrase), he placed canes at intervals all along the row then used string or baling twine to link the canes together, and as the peas grew he would add another length of twine etc. until the top of the canes was reached.
I am picking peas in the home garden raised beds where I put my spares; the allotment peas are still in flower, but I'm sure it won't be long before I am wandering down the row with my basket looking for pods that are full to bursting then sitting in the sun having a good old podding session.
'Peas in our time' as my husband wittily remarked.
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