The Pea Pod
In late winter 2023, we celebrated spring by planting peas as a community; we called ourselves the Pea Pod. Splitting into groups, each team worked on designing and building trellises, acquiring netting, making signage and scarecrows, and keeping everyone fed and watered on the day of planting.
Here are some resources about how to harvest the peas, the pollinators and pests to look out for, and most importantly, the recipes to try once our peas are ready to eat!
How to Harvest & Eat Pea Sprouts
How do you know when peas are ready to be picked?
Most varieties of peas are ready to harvest 60 to 70 days after planting. Peas mature quickly, so check daily once you see the flowers bloom.
- Pick snow peas when the delicate pods begin to show immature seeds inside.
- Gather snap peas when the pods become plump yet are still glossy and filled with sweet-tasting peas.
- Pick shell peas before the pods become waxy.
- Harvest peas in the morning after the dew has dried. They are crispiest then.
- Harvest regularly to encourage more pods to develop.
- Use two hands when you pick peas to avoid damaging the plant. Hold the vine with one hand and pull the pods off with the other.
- Peas are at the peak of flavour immediately after harvest.
- Pea pods that have hardened or turned a dull color are over-mature. Mature plants usually stop producing and die back in hot summer weather.
- If you missed your peas’ peak period, you can still pick, dry, and shell them for use in winter soups.
(Information sourced from: https://www.almanac.com/plant/peas)
Pests & Pollinators
- Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus L.) are beautiful pollinator-friendly plants that blossom in all kinds of colors and range from pastel pink to white, purple, red, and blue.
- Sweet pea flowers will attract especially honey bees, wild bee species, and bumble bees in spring, summer, and autumn.
- Sweet peas are rich in nectar and pollen and are ideal plants for every biodiverse garden. They have quite a long flowering period and will bring color to your surroundings for a good part of the year. Sweet peas bloom between June and October.
(Information sourced from: https://www.confettigardens.com/post/pollinator-friendly-sweet-peas#:~:text=Sweet%20pea%20flowers%20will%20attract,good%20part%20of%20the%20year)
There are many potential pests of pea plants, with aphids and pea weevils being the most prevalent.
- Aphids multiply rapidly and suck the sap of the plant, resulting in weak and stunted specimens. This also results in very few pods and possible disease contagions, such as pea leaf roll and mosaic virus. Ladybugs are an eco-friendly method of pea pest control in this instance, as is neem oil spray.
- Pea weevils emerge in spring and lay their eggs in the pea’s seeds. Once hatched, the larvae munch on the seeds, creating holes. Insecticides are useless in this battle since the larvae can’t be affected; therefore, the adults must be eradicated. The pea leaf weevil attacks both roots and leaves of the plant. Larvae feed on the nitrogen-providing nodules of the plant. Adults appear as a grey-brown bug with a trio of stripes down their back, and the infected plant will have notches in foliage.
(Information source from: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/peas/pea-plant-diseases-and-pests.htm)
Chawan Mushi with Shrimp and Spring Peas: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/chawan-mushi-with-shrimp-and-spring-peas
British Mushy Peas: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/easy-mushy-peas
Smashed Pea and Stracciatella Crostini: https://lindseyeatsla.com/smashed-pea-and-stracciatella-crostini/
Spring Pea Pasta with Burrata: https://whatsgabycooking.com/spring-pea-pasta-with-burrata/
Spring Pea Pasta with Goat Cheese & Mint: https://www.rieglpalate.com/peas-goat-cheese-and-mint-pasta/
Sweet Pea Panna Cotta: https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/recipes/sweet-pea-panna-cotta-recipe
Stir-Fried Pea Shoots with Garlic (蒜蓉炒豆苗): https://omnivorescookbook.com/stir-fried-pea-shoots/
Fresh Pea Soup (Potage Saint-Germain): https://www.oliveandmango.com/fresh-pea-soup-potage-saint-germain