Peas – A Great Veggie to Plant in March

Peas should be planted in central Virginia around the middle of March, so I thought I’d give you some interesting tidbits about these delicious veggies. Well, botanically speaking, they’re technically a seed. The peapods are a fruit!

Pea Facts

  1. Peas are one of the earliest known domesticated crops—about 11,000 years ago, though they were eaten for thousands of years before that!
  2. Thomas Jefferson loved them and grew as many as 30 different cultivars.
  3. Janet Harris holds the world record for eating peas in England. She ate 7,175 in just one hour—using chopsticks!
  4. Peas are one of the best courses of plant protein. One cup has 8.58 grams. A 100-calorie serving contains more protein than an egg.
  5. One serving has as much vitamin C as two apples.
  6. They are a good source of vitamins K, B1, B6, C, B2, zinc, iron, manganese, fiber, niacin, phosphorus, and folates.

Because peas are sweet, they lose their flavor soon after being picked because the sugars begin to convert to starch.  Because they are best eaten fresh, here’s how to grow your own.

How to Grow Those Delicious Peas

Most peas are grown on vines. There are some bush-type varieties, but even they will do best with some support, especially if they’re loaded with fruits. To plant, soak them for 12 to 24 hours to speed spouting, then plant one inch deep, two inches apart. Sow directly, as legumes do not transplant well. They like temperatures on the cool side, so starting them in early spring is best. An old legend says to plant them on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Harvest regular sweet peas (English peas) when the pods have filled out. Snow Peas can be harvested when the pods develop, but BEFORE they fill out. Harvest snap peas anytime, but do not let them fill out completely, or they get stringy. Beginning your spring veggie garden with peas is a great way to start the season.

Stop by the Great Big Greenhouse and Nursery Now

Speaking of spring plantings, this is a perfect time to stop by the Great Big Greenhouse and Nursery to get everything you need for the upcoming season.

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