Monday, 15 July 2013

Two Peas in Pods

It's that time of the year again! Actually, it's almost past that time of the year, as the peas are slowing down and the beans are starting to think of producing. At any rate, here are two peas that were new to our garden this year. This one is the very popular and readily available Homesteader, also known as Lincoln, or sometimes Lincoln Homesteader. In spite of this very American sounding name, it is actually an English variety introduced in 1908. Perhaps it is named for the city of Lincoln.

The pods in my hand look great, with 10 peas per pod being quite common. They are also a fine tasting pea, which started fairly early at about 65 days to harvest. They are said to be heat tolerant, and they seem to be holding up to the blistering temperatures we have been having off and on for the last several weeks quite well.  We planted them a bit later than some of our peas, so they are still going fairly strong. The one problem we have had is that they have been struggling with some kind of fungus or mold, with a good (bad, rather) proportion of the pods turning a greyish-brown and failing to develop properly. Now admittedly we have them jammed in there, but so are a lot of our peas jammed in there, and none of the others are showing this problem.

There they are; another pea at the right hand end of the bed, then beans, then the Homesteader, then more beans. You can see one of the vines is turning a bit yellow or something. Obviously, they are short enough that we did not really need to put them in the trellised section, although they are tall enough to need some kind of support. Looks to me like they won't hit more than 3' in height, so a selection of sticks stuck in the ground, or a simple tripod would do it.

These are generally regarded as a particularly productive and tasty variety, but without much in the way of disease resistance. They do seem to hold on the vine reasonably well for several days, and as noted  have good (for peas) heat tolerance. They freeze well.

In spite of their heat tolerance, like most peas, they should be planted as early in the spring as can reasonably be managed. I say we planted ours later than some of our peas, but I am talking about perhaps a week difference. They were still planted reasonably early.

I guess I will grow these again; I'll get some new seed just in case the fungus on these came in on the seeds, and try them in a spot with better air circulation.

This is Ne Plus Ultra, a fairly tall pole pea, finishing up at 5 to 7 feet in height. Unlike the Homesteader, these will need good trellising. At 60 days to maturity, they are surprisingly early for such a tall pea. They have produced steadily if not prolifically since then, and are still going after about a month, as I write this. I suspect they are slowing down, but the harvest is fairly spread out, for peas, which in general are not long producers. Some sources describe them as late, but mine were definitely the earliest of the talls to get started, and not far behind even our very short earlies.

The flavour is excellent, and the pods are a nice size, with 8 or 10 peas per pod being typical.

They are being grown in our wet bed, in the first section on the right. The peas right next to them are Mrs. Van's. They look remarkably similar. They started producing in similar time, although the Mrs Van's were perhaps a week later to get going. Mrs. Van's might be a tad larger and sweeter, but they are so close it is very hard to say for sure. I could not tell them apart in a blind taste test, I'm sure. In other words, I strongly suspect that Mrs.Van's is a selection out of Ne Plus Ultra.

I would be very happy to grow either of Mrs.Van's or Ne Plus Ultra again; they are both great peas. In fact, I suspect I will just mix together my saved seed from both of these peas and return to calling them Ne Plus Ultra.

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