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Peas – Discover The Only Heirloom Snap Pea

This winter I discovered Amish Snap Peas when I was mulling over Diane’s Flower Seeds website.

I love Diane’s descriptions of the vegetables and flowers because most are so personal.  By that I mean it’s almost like you’re chatting with her and having her tell you about how the vegetable or flower did in her garden and how she liked it.

She sells open-pollinated and heirloom flower seeds, including rare perennials and easy-to-grow annuals.  In addition she offers a fabulous selection of heirloom tomatoes along with other vegetable and herb seeds.

I’ve not grown snap peas previously.  Mainly because I didn’t want to trellis, but also because I had not tasted any that were all the wonderful that I couldn’t live without them. But Diane grows these for her family and touts them as an Amish heirloom that is truly an excellent snap pea.

So – I ordered them along with a few other wonderful sounding heirloom tomatoes.  I figured I could find room to trellis and plant the 70 peas that come in one package.

Trellis for Support

We had some good sized bamboo poles on hand and Bill made a simple support on which to weave string to trellis the peas.  It was a bit bigger than I needed for 70 peas so I decided to go ahead and plant my Green Arrows peas along side and use the trellis for them as well.  I just didn’t weave the string all the way up on their side.

Green Arrow peas don’t really need support. Last year I pushed small branches (saved from winter pruning of hedges) in the pea bed every 2 or 3 feet or so.   It gives them just that little support that make harvesting a bit easier.  Made me wonder why it took me 30 years to do that.

Bill got so excited about how the one large support looked, he put up another small one with the remaining bamboo. Of course, I had to use it for the Green Arrow. But that’s ok.  They’ll look good.

I planted peas and then mulched about 3 inches deep with loose straw.

Peas on May 14th. Amish Snap Peas are the tall ones in the upper left of the picture.

How They Did

Germination for the Amish Snap Peas was just about 100%!  And fast?   Wow!  They germinated long before the other peas and were up and running in hurry.  I planted during a nice “warm” spell the end of February and did NOT soak the peas first as Diane had recommended.

The plants were so encouraging and beautiful in March and April. Their white blossoms made them look like an ornamental.

First harvest of peas was on May 14th.  I could have picked sooner but I wanted the pods to fill out.  I sauteed the first picking for dinner.  They were sweet, tender and in short — out of this world delicious!

Amish Snap Peas. May 14th.

Then I tried some flat (without the peas inside) and stringless (when you pick them that young).  Great!  Perfect for salads too.

With consistent harvesting every day or at least ever other day, I should be able to have peas for fresh eating  at least 6 weeks.

The Scoop on Snap Peas

Peas similar to snap peas have been around since the late 17th century.  But they’ve disappeared and the Amish Snap Pea is the only true heirloom snap pea available.

From what I read, the only modern snap pea that is really good and sweet is the one the was released by Dr. Calvin Lamborn in 1979 call Sugar Snap. Reports are that all other modern varieties seem inferior to Sugar Snap in taste.

The Amish Snap Pea is two feet shorter and significantly earlier than Sugar Snap. Early is good since I’m starving for peas by then and I have to wait another two or three weeks for English peas. And since the taste is excellent —sweet and delicate even with the peas in the pods –  I’ll stick with it.

Possibilities

Even if you have a small space and little time to harvest, Amish Snap Peas might be just the thing for you.  In my garden they take a space about 3 feet x  3 feet and 5 feet high.  Takes about 5 minutes to pick each days offering and you could get fresh peas every day for about 6 weeks if you consistently harvest each day*.

Try a package next year.  I think you’ll be hooked.

__________

* note at the end of harvest: My Amish Snap Peas only produced 3 weeks.  I think it was due to the extremely hot temperatures.

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