Posted by: gisspar | July 16, 2009

Secret to my success (with peas)

I was feeling a little low earlier this week, thinking my sugar pea season would probably end in the next week or so. But then I ran into a coworker that has an award-winning (in a community garden kind of way) plot. While we were comparing notes, I learned that he had pulled out all of his peas last week because they had given up the ghost. I’m still getting new flowers on mine!

The vertically growing pea pod.

The vertically growing pea pod.

As you can clearly see, the leaves have sustained a fair amount of damage from grazing grasshoppers. There’s also been some damage from an earlier heat wave. I can only speculate as to why my peas are still going, so here goes:

  • A lot of shade. My best guess is that the deck gets 3-4 hours of sun around midday with a bit more very early or very late in the day. Although I do think that has limited the growth a bit.
  • Lots of grasshopper aeration. Not as many leaves and lots of holes == more energy for the pods?
  • Plastic pots & potting soil. Plastic to keep the moisture in (although I did mention earlier that the size might be limiting the growth).
  • Watering almost every day since the heat sort of kicked in.
Desperately trying to support the vines

Desperately trying to support the vines. The cage is the newest addition since the plants have started to spread away from the existing poles rather alarmingly.

In general, I’ve noticed that some of the plants in my yard tend to be a little later blooming than either the neighbors or other areas in town. I don’t know if that’s the shade or what. I may have started the peas a little later since the spring was punctuated with a lot of hard cold snaps. Anyway, we’ve reached a point where the tallest plants have run out of pole and/or broken the pole. As you can see in the image above, the poles have been lengthened with duct tape and extra bamboo and are now tied to the plant hook for some support. The peas are actually being supported on the string with zip ties. I might lop the top off, but it was producing pods so I’m not sure. So far the total harvest has been roughly 30-35 pods. Suffice it to say, I am living off my garden. But they were very good.

Oh, and the parcel seedlings took so maybe in a week or two I’ll find out if it really is parsley that tastes like celery. I am very tempted to make an ants on the log sandwich (celery, peanut butter and raisins).

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