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Vermont Garden Journal: Fall Peas

Lee Reich
Plant fall peas two months before the first expected frost in your area. That means now!

This ancient vegetable was found thousands of years ago in caves in Northern Thailand, Egyptian tombs and Swiss bronze age villages. It wasn't until the Italians started cultivating it as fresh vegetable, and introduced it to the French, that it really took off. The petit pois or fresh garden pea is normally a spring treat. But, it grows equally as well as a fall crop. Let me tell you how.

Plant fall peas two months before the first expected frost in your area. That means now. I grow quick maturing varieties such as "Sugar Ann" and "Strike." If powdery mildew is an issue in your garden, consider "Sugar Daddy." Another option is to grow some snow, or flat podded peas. These don't have to reach full size to eat so are good for places that get unexpected frosts. I love the yellow colored "Golden Sweet" and the new purple podded "Shiraz." They both hold their color when cooked. If all else fails, eat the pea tendrils and leaves. Harvest the last 4 to 6 inches of the pea branches to include in soups, stir fries and salads.

To grow peas, soak them overnight in warm water and sow on compost amended raised beds. Cover the bed with a floating row cover, especially if you have birds, chipmunks and rabbits. Keep the bed well watered. The water will keep the soil cool for better, more uniform, seed germination. Many of these varieties don't need traditional pea fencing, but simply a 3-foot-tall twig fence to keep them upright. Peas can withstand a light frost and keep growing. However, the shorter fall days means plants will grow slowly, so it's important to get them flowering and fruiting by early fall.

And now for this week's tip, to get your cut flowers to last longer, re-cut the stems under warm water so air bubbles don't get in the stem and slow water movement. Change the water daily and many cut flowers can last for more than a week.

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about invasive shrubs. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

Broadcast on Friday, July 25, 2014 at 5:57 p.m and Sunday, July 27, 2014 at 9:35 a.m.

The Vermont Garden Journal with Charlie Nardozzi is made possible by Gardener's Supply, offering environmental solutions for gardens and landscapes. In Burlington, Williston and

Growing Fall Peas
How to Grow: Peas


Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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