There is just nothing like chomping down on a vegetable that you have grown yourself. From the time I was able to separate seeds from melons I have been growing things, often much to my mother's dismay. I would use any plastic container that I could find, fill it with dirt dug up from the backyard, pop the seed in, place the container on the sill of my bedroom window, and wait. It was always with a great sense of wonder that I would watch the first bit of greenery spring from beneath the soil. As you can imagine, I yielded little or no harvest in my bedroom with my sherbet containers and spindly vines, but the mere act gave me endless joy.
My love for gardening never stopped. I've had big gardens, small gardens, raised gardens, ornate herb gardens, Oriental gardens, and now confine most of my gardening to containers on my back deck. Honestly, even though I only have about a dozen containers, sometimes I get a larger harvest from these colorful pots than I ever did from a much larger garden. On my deck I don't have to battle the rabbits, raccoons, or squirrels, that often ended up enjoying more of my bounty than I did.
This year, itching to plant something early, I opted for peas. I had always been told that peas needed to be in the ground and trained up a constructed trellis made of stakes and a crisscross of wires. I beg to differ. They will climb pretty much anything from an inverted tomato tower, to a teepee of bamboo stakes, to a couple of dead tree branches, to a cone-shaped trellis like I have. Peas do need cool weather, so it is best to plant early (the bonus being that a second crop can be planted at summer's end to enjoy until frost). They grow rather quickly, so are a most gratifying crop. To grow them you will need a decent sized pot of 12”-18”, potting soil mixed with some sand or perlite (I use a combination of both) to prevent it from packing, a sunny spot, and the commitment to keep the soil uniformly moist.
Because peas prefer cool conditions, plant them early in the season, spacing the seeds two inches apart, and covering them with 1/2”-3/4” of soil. Water well, and wait. This season has been rainy, humid, and rather warm, and the peas seem to love it. After a good rain it seems as if they have grown two inches. White blossoms will first appear, giving way to green pods. Watch them and don't harvest until the pods are plump with fat, juicy peas.
Like other cool weather vegetables they'll bolt in the heat. When production has stopped, pull up the plants, toss them into the compost, and plant a warm weather crop in its place.
I cannot wait to taste my first bite of my own freshly grown peas. Ahhhh, summer!
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