Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sugar snap peas...

From the comments... something I wrote responding to someone who wanted to know more about sugar snap peas. They're easy, and as you can trellis them, they make a great "between the row" crop in small spaces like mine. It's hard to see in the pictures below, but I have four crops growing in what is essentially a single three-foot row: Broccoli right next to a trellis full of peas, which is itself right next to a row of hybrid, multi-color carrots, and then, mixed alongside the carrots, a few dozen parsnips. So long as you have a lot of compost and a lot of water in play, you can plant this densely. Probably everything is slowed down and there's some compromise for each individual plant's optimal production/size, but maybe not... I get a LOT of broccoli out of this row, and as you can see, a lot of peas. The carrots (there's a picture of them, too) are about ready for harvest, but will continue to grow happily for at least another month. I don't know why I grew the parsnips... I've grown them in the past. They do OK here in Florida, but not as sweet as the ones from up North. I'd be better off growing more carrots, but parsnips make a nice change, and they grow well enough here... 

OK, anyway, I don't have time to write this entry, so, here's what I said earlier about peas...
hmmm... well, let's see:
1) i use a hybrid, super sugar snap. i like them. sometimes i grow them out to have peas, sometimes we just eat them as snow peas.
2) plant them anytime in the late fall/winter. they get nipped by frost but usually always bounce back.
3) plant them DENSE... i mean, like, three peas per inch, in a zigzag. then, oversow as they grow. the ones hanging on the support you see in the picture below are the result of three distinct plantings, about a month apart.
4) use a lot of compost but little or no fertilizer. mine are growing between carrots and broccoli. really dense planting there--lots of crops in about a 2' wide row. so, you need lots of organic material. but peas don't produce well if there's too much nitrogen, so here, in this case, i just fertilized on the outside of this triple row, along the rootline of the broccoli and carrots. right?
5) water generously.
6) be sure to pick them before the peas get too big and then dry... i think that makes the plant 'turn off' and stop producing, but maybe that's just superstition.
7) full sun, ideally with a little afternoon shade, which will buy you a week more fruit.
8) they burn out eventually, when it starts to get too hot. but until they do, they're really easy and tasty.


Anonymous said...

Thank you

Joe said...

Love sugar snap peas. They are simple to grow and produce lots of pods.

australian writings services said...

Hello, you said there were pictures below? I can’t see any of them. It sounds like you really love growing crops such as carrots etc.

Anonymous said...

Completely new to Fl.
Have sandy soil dirt.
So if i put down organic soil i can grow them in ft pierce? I am from north. I tried to grow tomatoes. Moldy catastrophy. I had green thumb in north. But here i feel lost. Right time to plant now tomato pea, lettuce? How do i keep rabbit and pest away? MANY THANKS FOR ADVICE. ANY IDEA WHERE TO GET GOOD SEEDS ( PROBABLY ONLINE)?

Anonymous said...

I am adding a Q. Can i grow in large pots. I would love to plant lettuce, tomatoes, snow peas.

Unknown said...

@Anonymous Right now (Feb 15) you can plant carrots, beets, beans and peas (including Green Arrow shell peas) southern peas (blackeye, purple hull, crowder, conk, etc) peppers (good time to start seed as they take some time to germinate) tomatoes, corn, pumpkin, squash, melons, kale, celery, asparagus, radish, turnips, chard, cucumbers, peanuts, tomatoes, eggplant and every herb, both culinary and medicinal.

I have the same, sandy soil and have dug the soil out of the beds, broke up and evened out the holes (I have about 350 sqft in my amended beds) and lined them with black plastic sheeting (use a pitchfork to make drainage holes).

I used the soil I removed and amended it with peat moss and compost (I have my own chickens so I have plenty of well aged fertilizer on hand).

I mulch some of the less drought resistant plants with straw or hay (but be careful it's not gone to seed or you'll grow hay).

A good guide for people that have moved to Florida (or within the state, like myself) is "Month by Month Gardening in Florida by Tome McCubbin.

I found it a ready guide and indispensable I moved up here from Homestead. I was 2 USDA hardiness zones north and it would have taken a lot of trial and error without it.

Unknown said...

Another thought: Make sure you choose heat resistant and drought resistant varieties.

We have nematodes...they've always been here and will be here to stay, but they don't have to destroy your root veggies. Try "Danvers" carrots instead of Italian. They're shorter but much thicker.

Tomatoes are easy but keep them steadily watered or they'll crack, especially if you grow heirlooms. I find I have the best success when I use an EarthBox or similar, self watering containers...they're more accurate and I'm not taking chances with my Cherokee Purple or Table Talk tomatoes cracking.

Shade seedlings from afternoon sun. (I use palmetto fans, they're in abundance and can go into the compost heap)