Friday, December 4, 2009

Peathetic, that's what it is, peathetic

Anyone else obsessively read Winnie the Pooh to their children? That story was one of my favorites. Poor Eeyore and his birthday party. Aaaaat any rate. . .

All of the children love snow peas. They get sort of fought over in stir fries and other dishes. Many of the kids like shelled peas, also. Those get stirred into pasta, and I remember the kids eating them as little frozen snacks when only babies (the kids, not the peas).

So I figured, based on last year, that I'd grow both kinds.

"Alaska" seems to be a basic bush pea, that many seed companies carry. They're supposed to get 30" tall, so I figured I'd try the compostable sticks method of staking them. Seems to be working out well -- they're blooming and setting peas and I'm sure they're going to enjoy ten straight days of rain next week.

I also tried "Canoe," a pea from Territorial, as they promised that there would be so many peas crammed into each pod that it wouldn't matter how many you planted -- peas galore. They are significantly shorter, so far, than the Alaska peas, and while the Alaskas have small leaves and graceful, delicate tendrils, the Canoe are like the rugby players of peas.

Rugby players with wild, enthusiastic hair. Their tendrils grow in bunches, like ferns with attitude. I don't know if they hold on any tighter; they're not that big yet.

We'll see if they respond happily to their upcoming near drowning.

So far, so good. But what about snow peas? Remember, I was going to grow so many that we could stuff our freezer full of them and not buy any more packaged, sad-looking snow peas? I even planted the long bed, where the tomatoes had been, full of them, all along the sides of the drip hoses. We were going to do nothing but pick peas.

The birds appear to have had other ideas.

Although the peas have sprouted well, every single one seems to have sustained multiple bird attacks. It's "off with their heads" all the time in that bed. I don't know if the birds have noticed the golden snow peas planted later in the lower half of that bed. Last year, there was the same problem. Apparently it's a timing issue -- they just have to get big enough to not be interesting, and these were planted at just the right time to seem like a thoughtful buffet for the beaky ones. I don't want to fuss with bird netting, so I'm going to plant again and again, just before the rainstorms, and see if I can get a few crops out of this.

Remind me of that when I'm moaning about how many peas there are to pick and freeze, okay?
Michelle, or as I refer to her privately, "The Studmuffin of Seed Saving," sent me some "Green Beauty" snow peas. Here's where they're going to go, after I rip out the sourgrass, of course.

These are going to get a little Reemay jacket until they're big enough to stand up to the bullies.

Hope your predators are either too cold to predate or elsewise occupied!


Daphne Gould said...

:> So you are just getting peas as I'm doing the lowdown on what became of my peas this year. I always love the different seasons that people have. This coming week we will be getting multiple freezes and soon our ground will be frozen solid. I'll be planting peas again in March.

Michelle said...

LOL, studmuffin of seed saving! I have a long way to go to earn that title, actually, I'm really just a manic seed sower.

The dang birds always attack my sprouting peas also, the remay works great. Bird netting is only so so unless it is suspended far enough away and above the tempting treats so that the birds can't peck through it. Last winter they figured out that they could alight on the netting to weigh it down onto the foliage and then they'd peck right through the netting - sheesh. Now they've decided that the tender top growth of my snap peas are a tasty treat, not much I can do about that...

Hope you like those Green Beautys!

el said...

For the first time ever, I had birds eat something (wild birds, not the wandering chickens who sometimes go nuts in the garden) and it made me mayyaaaddd. It was baby lettuces.

We're shell pea fans here. I grew a ton of snow peas at school; those plants got to be something like 7' tall...insane! But you're right: kids seem to universally like them.

good luck with your 2nd sowing. That's usually my plan: if at first you don't succeed, plant, plant again...

Mr. H. said...

I love your peas, especially the Canoe variety which is very similar to our Tacoma peas. We always have the same issue as you with the snow peas, something eats them before they like you, we replant and replant.

A few weeks ago my grandson and I had a very long discussion regarding Eeyore's tail issues.:)

kitsapFG said...

The peas are always consumed with gusto around this house. Sugar snaps, garden peas, and snow peas - all so good!

Kate and Crew said...

I can't grow a pea to save my life. My pea plants get about 6 inches tall, turn white, then brown and shirvel up...every single time. They look spectacular from about 1 to 6 inches though.

Stefaneener said...

Yes, Daphne, I'm always amazed to see snow in people's posts -- it's just foreign completely to me. I'll probably plant peas through January and harvest until May.

Michelle, the birds are pretty smart when it comes to destruction. It's just snow peas, somehow, oh, and the lettuces. I'll let you know about the Green Beautys -- they got a nice welcome to the ground rain last night!

el, I'm with you. I thought those lettuces weren't going to make it. They're happier now, though. I'll have to get out today and replant those snow peas, probably.

Mr. H., it's good to know it's not just me. Crows pull them up before they sprout, and some little birds nibble after. It's like a double-team. My family has always loved Piglet shrieking "It's a heffable horralump" or something like that, and him deciding: "And then he thought, 'Well, even if I'm in the moon, I needn't be face downwards all the time," so he got cautiously up and looked about him.'" For a long time Sarafina talked like an 18th century child because all we read to her was Pooh and Beatrix Potter.

kitsapFG, I hope to get some! They are a real treat.

Kate, it must be seasonal. Do you have any good "just in our area" kind of gardening publications? I read Bay area-specific books and find them really helpful. Maybe this year?

Kristin said...

Can snow peas handle a freeze? I thought it looked like a slug or a snail had eaten your sprout. How can you tell the difference between a bird's nibble and a snail's munch?

Anonymous said...

I hope your snow peas bounce back or you get to plant more. We love snow peas to -I like to grow them longer in order to get more of a pea inside at the store they are as flat as a pancake.

Jackie said...

Good luck against the bullies. I went with the bird netting, since I already had some. Stay warm!