Every February I plant pea seeds in a winter landscape. I do this because I know that peas enjoy cold weather. They are the first crop of the gardening season. Fortunately, my North Carolina location allows me to plant this early.
Peas grow fast starting in March. In April they send out their tendrils, hoping to hook onto the trellis to climb. By mid-May they produce delicate white flowers and sometimes lavender ones. By late May, the flowers turn into pods. At this stage the pea stalks are taller than the trellis, which is six feet high. When I start to look for the pods, at first I can’t see them, but there they are, hiding in plain sight, blending perfectly with the green foliage.
Once the pods begin to form, they will produce peas over the next few weeks. I can pick both pods with tiny peas (Sugar Snap peas) and large, wide pods with larger peas ready to be shelled (Mammoth Melting Sugar peas). The small pods are tender and sweet. I like to let some pods stay on the vine so they can produce large, sweet peas. I can eat them raw or stir fry them quickly. Either way, they are crunchy and incredibly fresh. I pick the peas, right outside my kitchen, then I bring them inside for dinner.
By late June, they are done for the season. Then I turn my attention to beans, the next crop for the trellis.