This vegetable is one of the oldest known to mankind, dating back 10,000 years.
It was originally eaten dried before the Italians and French started using it fresh off the vine. We know it as petit pois or the fresh garden pea.
Fresh peas are a garden treat not often found in stores. There are three different types of peas. English peas, such as Alderman, need to be shelled from their pods. Snap peas, such as Super Sugar Snap, can be eaten pod and all. Snow peas, such as Oregon Giant, are also eaten pod and all, but before the pods fill out.
There are dwarf varieties, such as Sugar Ann, that only grow a few feet tall. There are also different colored peas such as the yellow Golden Sweet and purple Royal Snow.
Peas need cool conditions to grow, so as soon as your soil dries out, plant. Some people plant when the peepers or tree frogs, start peeping. Either way it will be soon in most areas.
Create a raised bed, making two rows on top of the bed. If needed, erect wire or twig fence between the rows, for the peas to grab hold. Soak seeds overnight in warm water, coat with a legume inoculant if you've never grown peas in that spot before and plant the next day.
Peas can make their own nitrogen from the air with the help of bacterial inoculants, so need little fertilizing.
If birds, chipmunks or squirrels are curious diggers, cover the soil with a floating row cover to deter them and keep the soil warm for best germination.
Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about paw paws. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.