knits & plants

aah, the simple life. almost.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Daily Veggie (1.06)

Green Arrow Shell Pea

Arrow is right on the mark for commercial growers who prefer it to all others. We sell more than 1,000 lb. every year. This heavy yielder sets the standard for midseason varieties. Long pods with up to 10 peas per pod (average 7-8) on vines up to 3'. Easy to pick because pods tend to set in pairs at the top. Tolerant to F, DM, CTV, W. -FED

2 oz packet sows 30 ft, 1 lb. sows 240 ft. All peas are open-pollinated. Peas were among the earliest crops to be domesticated, perhaps as long as 10,000 years ago. Very old seeds have been found near the Burmese border of Thailand, in the Languedoc region of southern France, and in Switzerland. When it comes to picking peas, Tom Stock says he’s “learned to slow down and approach the problem from different points of view.” Young plants very hardy but frost stops production at the blossom or pod stage.

Like cool moist weather; dislike heat. Sow as early as ground can be worked for best yields. All peas produce more when staked; varieties (except AFILA types) over 2 1/2' must be supported. Plant 8-10 seeds/ft. in rows 3' apart (5' if very tall varieties). Early morning picking retards spread of powdery mildew disease and ensures best flavor.

The August 2003 edition of the Avant Gardener suggests milk diluted with water sprayed twice weekly kills the fungus and stimulates the plants’ protective systems. If you love peas as much as we do, you may want to try for a fall crop. Timing is crucial, as peas ripen slowly in the cool of September, and frost will halt production.

We recommend 1st week July planting for fall crop in central Maine. Warmer areas try mid-July. Smooth-seeded peas germinate better in colder soils than wrinkle-seeded peas, but are not as sweet.

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