Thursday, December 9, 2010

Two Quite Different Types of Very Cold Hardy Peas We Can Grow

AUSTRIAN WINTER FIELD PEAS IN OREGONMost of us I am sure have grown English Peas and Snow Peas, plus the Sugar Snap Peas that resulted when the first two were crossed, but there are two other cold loving edible crops bred from the same base species, Pisum sativum. One, Austrian Field Pea, I grew in Denver in early spring when late frosts and snows were a certainty....great soil nitrifier, pods a little tough but edible (starchy seeds, low sugar content) and the usual edible leaves for people and poultry. Seeds are sold in bulk to farmers but should be available by the pound mail order...some folks raise it to feed and lure deer.

The other obscure pea is 'Novella' which has almost all of its leaves replaced by edible tendrils that people snip into salads and omelets, stir fry etc. I think I have a pic; if so I will attach it. A few years ago I bought from an Indian grocer a bag of dried peas to plant just to see what came up....there were 'Novella'! The pods are on par with your usual English Pea...need to be shucked unless picked VERY young. Super cold hardy too.

In Denver, peas of all kinds are SO cold hardy we'd plant them in late fall just before the ground froze to germinate EARLY the next spring, or we'd plant them in EARLY spring just as the ground thawed. I had no damage to peas here in Tampa even during the Christmas Eve Freeze of 1983.

Give Peas a Chance! John

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