I have never before grown sweet pea. This year the winter had been short and mild in Toronto. In March it warmed up quite a bit. A gardening freak I was looking for something to do in the garden and found out that pea can actually grow in cooler temperature. We like sweet peas. I went on to purchase packaged seeds from local Home depot.
In the section of the garden where I had planted tomatoes the year before I decided to plant pea seeds there. According to my reading pea would be ready to harvest in 60 days, which would take me to end of May or mid June just in case it took slightly longer. I could plant something else in the same spot after discarding the pea plants.
I added some black earth, mixed it up with the existing soil and planted the seeds in three rows. When I was left with some seeds I went on to create couple of more small patches and seeded them.
While the seeds were working on to germinate I worked on to build the tailless around them so that once they grow they’ll have something to lean on, which I learned could increase the production. I wasn’t even sure if I’ll any peas at all but wanted to be in the right side doing whatever needed to be done. This was a relatively new garden, just three years old, and I wasn’t having success in everything. Some of it due to my ignorance. I was doing a lot of reading and thinking as well. [This season I actually went as far as to buy a soil test kit and test my soil as in the previous season I had noticed mid season some of my vegetables just wouldn’t do any better.]. The result came as expected: Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium all are pretty low. I had added sheep manure and planned to use Miracle Grow – primarily to see if that combination works well or not. Peas will be my first experimental subject.
My sweet pea plants grew very well. I admit I had used some miracle grow, may be twice in lighter dose (lighter than what the label suggested). One thing needs to be remembered that peas can create their own nitrogen and it is advised not to use too much fertilizer as it may cause lots of foliage but little to no peas. After two applications I had totally stopped fertilizing the peas.
The Spring had been very strange in Toronto this year (2012). It had warmed up early for sure but then there were those phases of cold weather that came and went as it wished. The main problem was some days it would get really hot. While that was good for other vegetable plants peas I learned may not produce if it is too hot. I was really apprehensive whether I would get any peas at all. However, one day I noticed some flowers in one of the pea plants. This was definitely a good news. I became hopeful. In next few days all my pea plants flowered heavily – beyond my expectation.
Peas mature really fast. From flower to reasonable size pea could take as little as 3 days. We, I and my little daughter picked almost every day for a whole week and then every other day. Every time we were able to pick enough for several meals. We cooked some (fried with potato) and stored the rest in refrigerator. We’ll be eating those slowly over a month or so. The good part is there are still more peas left in the plants. I had uprooted some of the plants that were at the end of their life cycle. Let’s see how many more we can get from the remaining plants.Here are the yields for a few days.