Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Mammoth Melting Snowpeas
Mammoth Melting snowpeas are very popular heirloom variety, and one that has done well for us this summer. Sometimes they are known as Mammoth Melting Sugar, or Mammoth Melting Sweet. I can't find much background on them, beyond the fact that they were introduced in 1896. Most seed catalogues describe them as being "4' tall" and "needing trellising". Um, no and yes. They are not 4' tall. Mr. Ferdzy is 6'2" and, as you can see, is picking a peapod well over his head so more like 8' - so far - and they most definitely do need trellising.
They are named not for the size of the vines however, but for the very large pods they produce. These are not the largest we've had from them, but with the advent of hot, hot, dry weather the pods got smaller and started to fill out very quickly. We've been needing to pick them very small in order to keep them from getting fat and tough, but with the advent of some cooler weather they've gone back to producing larger peas. The "Melting" part of the name comes from the fact that they are very tender, even at their very large size (as long as they are not bolting in the heat.) Flavour is very good; rich and pea-y.
In spite of the fact that pea production suffered during the heat wave of early July, the plants themselves have held up well (with regular watering) and show every sign of bouncing back. All of our peas and most of our beans suffered much more.
Unlike the Norli, which produced very large quantities of peas then dried up and died, the Mammoth Melting are still going. I'm told they may very well last until first frost; we'll see. They don't produce huge amounts at once, but a very steady supply; making them much more useful for the gardener who intends to eat them as they come rather than freeze them. They do take quite a lot of space for the quantity they produce, but on the other hand much of that space is vertical.