The Scoop on Choosing Garden Peas

Friends Drift Inn Farm Gardening

Garden Peas for Spring Vegetable Gardening

Dreaming of Spring Peas

Rushing through the door at my buddy Mike Johnson’s Farm and Garden store, I make a beeline straight for the fireplace. As my limbs begin to thaw, and I rub my hands together trying to get some feeling back, Mike looks over at me and goes about the daily business. Customers come in and out in a steady stream.

Me? I am on a mission. There is no way the peas are going to get planted this Valentine’s Day weekend. We have about 6 inches of snow on the ground, more is coming down and the driveway to the big red barn is slicker than goose droppings. (That’s slick! Giggles)

Mike and I argue about the virtue of peas. I do not like them much, except for Snow Peas which are my favorite for stir frying.

Snap peas are the most popular in our community and I laugh because there is a difference in preferences between Pikeville and Paintsville. I am firmly in the Paintsville camp, I like Sugar Anns. For market growers Sugar Ann’s yield quick, about 56 days from the time the pop their little green sprouts through the ground. Pikeville favorites, Sugar Snaps take 70 days. I’ll be growing both.

Peas English or Shelling Peas

Chef Jeremy Ashby in Lexington says he can never get enough shelling peas for his restaurant. We call them “Salat Peas” here on Johns Creek, but the flatlanders call them “English Peas.” Wando is my favorite to grow, maturing in 68-70 days. Wando handles extremes mood swings – err I mean hot flashes very well. I like a pea that understands our mountains’ erratic temperature shifts during Little Winters. The variety is good in salads, and is perfect for freezing.

Snow Peas are my absolute favorite. Like English peas, they take about 10 weeks to mature. I like them pod and all for an unexpected crunch in salads. I like them as a staple in stir fries. I like them raw, their wide pod making a great scoop for dipping. They also freeze well, so long after the frosty pea season is a distant memory I can enjoy the pleasure of a home grown harvest.

Mike scoops up my seed order as I linger in front of the fireplace. The sight of simple brown paper bags with black marker scrawling across the stapled tops makes me smile. We talk about spring, in the hopes we can speak it into existence.

Cat spills pea seeds for the spring planting season much to dismay of me!  Giggles

There is eight inches of snow on my deck. The cat has spilled the peas as I was trying to shoot photos. Looks like pea planting will have to wait. But here in the big red barn, we are ready for pea planting season.

Just show me a snow plow and get out of my way!

I have always been a gardener, my passion being heirloom vegetables. This year I am trying my hand at growing for the Farmers Market. Follow my adventures on Facebook at Friends Drift Inn Farm Produce

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About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.