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Monday, July 27, 2015

Repeat performance

Plant a pea seed in early spring and it will give you vines aplenty, with pods full of tender, green morsels. Let a few of those pods mature past the stage of good eating (when those peas are too big for their britches), and they will produce the seeds you can easily harvest to sow another crop. If you live in an area with a mild winter you can plant peas in late summer for a fall crop. My area has long, hot summers and long winters of yo-yo freezes and thaws, separated by the tiniest of consistently pleasant autumns -- not the best conditions for a fall pea crop. The seeds I harvest will be for next spring.

I purposely let a few pods go all the way to seed stage, especially to justify those that got overlooked for picking and nibbling. Their drying pods can hang out alongside newer pods and blossoms while the plant still produces green gems. Eventually peas succumb to the heat. When this happens I yank out the vines to give room in the garden for something else. I take a few moments to separate the browning pods before I cast the vines into the compost bin. I put the pods in a sack on my patio to dry out thoroughly. Voila, nature's seed packets.

Heirloom seeds are the best to save, as the seed will match the parent. (Learn more about heirlooms here.)

Read here for helpful, concise information on seed-saving basics.

Do any of you have great luck with second crops of peas or other plants in the fall? I would love to learn more about your conditions and what plants fare best for repeat performances months after the first.

P.S. Carie, Daisy, David and Becky -- You made Samuel's day with your comments addressed to him!  I loved hearing from you and look forward to reading more of your adventures.


Carie said...

I've not tried growing peas yet - I have plans for next year - but it's just another example of mother nature's cleverness!

David said...

Jennifer, I haven't tried fall planting yet. I don't know of any gardeners that do fall planting here. It's not that it wouldn't work but by the end of August most gardeners are tired of being in the garden and are glad to see it wind down into fall. I might this year but it just doesn't seem right that now is the time to start the plants just when the summer harvest is coming into full force. Our growing season for my area does go up until the first frost day of October 15th. I may sow some more radish and lettuce just to see what will happen.

Have a great fall planting day.