June 23, 2011

Gardening with Mr. C. - Save money with DIY Gardening!

Mr. C. (and the Green Giant) say that to get the best value from your crop, it is important to "let the vegetables tell you when they are ready".

The "days to maturity" on the seed packets is based upon ideal conditions and should only be used as a guide to when to expect to begin picking. In the case of peas it is fairly easy to tell when they are at their peak. For other than edible pod varieties - if a pod appears full, give it a gentle squeeze. If it is firm, pick, open (peas should be about one quarter inch in diameter), and eat to verify that the peas are mature and sweet. Even if it proves to be premature, it will be enjoyable. Once you have determined that some are ready, continue picking - maybe some might make it to the table or freezer. Plan to check and/or pick often as the daily output will increase to a peak and then decrease until the vines die and stop producing.

I grew three kinds this year (note: all have Agways' names). The first to produce are called "Early Frosty".  You can see in the following picture of my plants that some have withered, but others are producing. This variety produces early (as its name implies) but is not as heat tolerant as other varieties (see pictures of my other pea vines). To illustrate how the seed packet information can be useful, adding the "Days to Maturity" of 63 to my planting date of April 7th would put ideal maturity at June 10, or about 10 days short of actual. I have made a note in my gardening log to plant them earlier next year. I usually plant them on St. Patricks day - three weeks earlier. Cold and snow will slow them down so you may gain only half the extra time, but that would definately help. I'll also replace one row of them with a more heat tolerant variety called "Wando" - which I have grown every other year. Note, I also weeded this bed and planted pole beans between the swiss-chard and the peas to make use of the soil and the fence.

                                                    Picture of Early Frost.

"Little Marvel" (64 day - planted on 4/1) is my best producer each year. The pods are smaller than both Early Frosty and Wando, but the peas are only slightly smaller. However,since each vine has six to eight pods, each maturing at different times promises to give a long and abundant crop.

                                                Picture of Little Marvel Peas

                                                             Picture of Sugar-Snap Peas
Samples of the three varieties clockwise from the top left are Sugar-snap, Little Marvel, and Early Frosty (the largest group).

                                                     Picture of Peas

Happy Gardening!

Mr. C.

P.S. Nip off the suckers that sprout between the stalk and branches of your tomato plants to yield larger fruit.

No comments:

Post a Comment