Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Peas and Green Manure

Last March when we put in the new raised beds, we decided to plant peas to occupy the soil, and to fix nitrogen into the beds. At the time, we decided we would harvest what we could when we pulled the pea plants up for the compost pile. In the meantime, the pea plants would keep the soil viable and the plants themselves would fix nitrogen. As with out usual planning, the peas bloomed and fruited out sooner than later, and all of a sudden they had to be harvested. The heat last week just about did them in so I spent three days harvesting, shelling, and freezing peas.

We planted Canoe Peas, Green Arrow Bush Peas, Little Marvel Bush Peas, and Snap Peas (above). I made some observations and took notes. Those who garden may find this of interest, those who don't read this anyway, it might come up some day for Trival Pursuit.

Canoe Peas - We planted two beds, I harvested 5 gallons of peas, which amounted to 1 gallon of frozen peas.

Green Arrow Bush Peas - Out of 2.5 beds planted, I harvested 7.5 gallons of peas, which amounted to 3 gallons of frozen peas.

Little Marvel Bush Peas - We planted a quarter bed of these peas and got 3 gallons of peas, which equaled almost 1 gallon of frozen peas.

Snap Peas - I harvested 2 gallons of peas from a half bed, which amounted to 1 gallon of frozen peas.

The Little Marvel Peas were the easiest to shell. The Canoe were the least productive and hardest to shell. The Green Arrow were the most productive, and easy to shell.

Slugs love peas, but our loss to the appetite of slugs was minimal. I also figured out why slugs don't both the peas as seedlings. They want the peas to grow and produce, so they can eat the peas themselves. Yum, yum.

All of the "bush" peas were out of control, and definitely need to be trellised. These plants were literally hanging over the beds and covering the next rows.

Next year I'll plant Little Marvel and Green Arrow. They both did very well for our region.

The reward for all of this work? Green Manure, 280 gallons of it! If you are an organic gardener, you get excited about things like green manure.
You also get to eat organic garden peas in the winter, that touch of green to make the meal pretty!



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