As part of my cool season planting program I have taken care of my pea needs and sown what should be a great crop. Aside from knowing that now is a good time to sow the seeds from past experience, the garden also told me it was time. Fallen peas from the spring crop had begun to pop up all over the bed, despite having languished, barely covered, beneath the soil over the height of summer with no intention of moving. Until now.
Unfortunately these bonus plants suffered a short life and were treated as weeds. It didn’t feel right to pull them up, and ordinarily I would have carefully moved them so they formed part of an orderly row, so they could live out their days fulfilling their true purpose – giving me peas to eat. But a weed is a plant in the wrong place and even a tree can be a weed. As much as I really love the variety of pea that has naturally sprung forth in my cool season garden, I can’t have them there anymore. They are just too tall and I have to admit I can’t control them as they get buffeted by the winds that whip about in my garden from time to time.
Sometimes you have to make the hard call and decide that some things just don’t belong in your garden, no matter how much you want them. I’ve grown many things over the years and some stay and become faithful occupants year after year, others are one season wonders and I do wonder why I’d even bothered. But without trying you’d never know. And other times there are crops you really want to have and you try so hard year after year to make it work but it never really comes together and you have to admit defeat. After half a dozen years and dozens of attempted solutions I have decided I shouldn’t really grow tall peas anymore.
But I loved the taste. They were so sweet and tender – even when they were fat. I need peas like this in my life. I need to find a short replacement so I headed off to the garden centre and grabbed a packet of each dwarf pea variety I could find. Had I looked further afield for catalogues and websites I’d have found more, but I wanted to get started now. Peas by post would have to wait for the spring planting.
I’ve ended up with six varieties to try to find my new bestie and forever pea. However I suspect two are the same kind, just named slightly differently by different brands and I couldn’t resist snow peas so in realty there are only four in the running for the position of new fav.
Conducting an experiment like this is exciting because not only could a wonderful pea be making it’s way through the soil and into my garden, but it also brings out my inner scientist. A time long ago my days were filled with conducting experiments, making sure only the best food made it to the plates of the nation. Ok it was in a lab, not a garden, but the intent is the same. Using logic to determine the best outcome. Actually it is nothing like it at all – this is all about passion in the dirt, not perfunctory tasks in a sterile environment.
It is amazing how something so simple as popping a small seed in the ground can bring me such pleasure and delight. Gardening is an occupation that can give so much on so many levels and I feel blessed to say it fills my time, my thoughts and my belly. Everyone should know this feeling.
Come again soon – you should see how misty eyed I can get over broccoli.
Sarah the Gardener : o)