I keep notes, I write this stupid blog. And still, I make the same mistakes over and over.
What, pray tell, was I thinking in March when I created this mess?
Actually, I know what I was thinking when I planted shelling peas two rows wide followed by sugar snap peas weeks later, three rows wide. I was thinking: “Shell peas are planted earlier than snap peas. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a problem telling them apart because the shelling peas will mature a lot faster. This will be great!”
I planted the shelling peas a full three weeks earlier than the sugar snap peas.
The sugar snap peas are ready now.
The shelling peas are ready now.
I can’t tell the damn difference!
See? Here is a side-by-side comparison:
Yes, yes, the pizza crust is somewhat easier to identify. The shelling pea compared to the sugar snap pea though? Not so much.
So we’ve got a big bowl of them on the counter. I offer them to guests and say, “Just bite into them. If the shell isn’t juicy and sweet, here, spit it into this bowl.”
But keep the peas!
And now, some useful gardening information:
How not to plant sugar snap peas.
Gardening books will tell you various things about planting peas. I don’t consult books very often anymore unless I have a real problem, but I am quite positive that I read this in a gardening book: it is a good idea to plant peas in wide rows (meaning instead of a single row of individual pea seeds, you plant 3 or 4 rows of pea seeds closely) since the vines will help hold each other up. I have done this religiously every year. Because:
1) it makes sense, and
2) it allows me to plant more peas in a smaller space.
It is 2010, I am writing this post so that I remember NEVER to follow that advice AGAIN!
Here is the mess planted that way:
Half are falling down (thanks to Lola, the pea-loving dog. She’s like a migrant dog, working her way from crop to crop as they ripen):
Now, I finally know better, because this year, in addition to planting them that way, because I had leftover sugar snap pea seeds, I stuck them in a single row along the back fence behind the garlic. You could say that was a bad idea too, since the tall vines now shade the garlic more than I’d like (let’s just forget that part for a minute), but I prefer to think of it as a surprise success.
Because, these peas, planted in a single row, are a dream to pick. Easy. Fast. Healthy. Not falling over. And in the end, I bet I’ll harvest more from them, too, since I can actually find them.
Lola can find them too. She camps outside the fence and pulls them through the fence holes. But at least that way, she can’t pull the whole vine down, which is another bonus.
All I have to do now, is to remember this for next year…ha!