I grew up on a farm. We chickens and pigs. We had cows that gave us milk and cream, and from which my mother made cheese and butter. We skated on our lake in the winter, swam in it in the summer, and ate fish from it every Friday. We had an apple orchard, pear trees, strawberries, a celery patch in the swamp, and most of our vegetables grew outside the kitchen door. We played hide-and-seek in the wheat fields in the summer, and my brothers helped harvest it every fall. I lived there until I was 18 when I escaped from what I never thought was the idyll that sounds so enviable.
But I never thought I didn’t understand plants. My husband and I have grown everything from avocados to zucchini, from asparagus, bananas and lemons, to beans, tomatoes and squash. Or perhaps I should say my husband grew these things. I occasionally weeded the garden, but mostly I was happy with more urban pursuits.
We are now, however, engaged in an experiment in intensive gardening to produce more of our own vegetables in our own small suburban plot. I told my husband I was planning on buying a few plugs for peas. He sews mostly from seed, but I thought I’d experiment with plugs instead. “What kind of peas?” Peter asked?
What kind of peas?! I thought. Well, round green ones. You know, the kind that come in cans or they serve with fish and chips.
Boy, do I have a lot to learn! I’m beginning to think that learning about peas is making my book about all of time look like child’s play.
Peas are not just peas, my dear. There are round peas and wrinkled varieties. There are mangtout varieties, petit pois, and asparagus pea varieties, all of which themselves come in various sizes, colors, heights, and temperaments. Some crop as early as February, some as late as November, and others all the months in between.
I had no idea. In fact, I had no idea that I had no idea. The bags in the frozen food section of the supermarket where I thought peas went when they grew up just say “garden peas.”
Do you think Birds Eye know about this?