Garden Peas Vegetables

Peas – A Step Towards Independence

I was rereading Robert Rodale’s editorial that appeared in the September 1976 issue of Organic Gardening and Farming Magazine (now called Organic Gardening).  Our country was celebrating its 200th anniversary of independence and Mr. Rodale was commenting on virtues that stem from individual independence.

He spoke of the thrust of industry and government to develop the country in the fastest way possible regardless of the consequences. And he correctly made the observation that as a result we have tied ourselves together in a tight net of dependence.

Mr. Rodale said “You are not tied to others when you are independent. —You are able to support yourself, working with your own resources. The person who is truly independent will live well no matter what happens to the rest of society.”

There are few people now in our society who have achieved (or even have) the goal of being totally independent.

Nonetheless I think many desirable qualities can be obtained by striving for independence in as many areas as we are able and at every opportunity.

It is little bit by little bit (here a little, there a little) that we develop the attitude of independence.  That attitude can provide — to use Mr. Rodale’s words — “the resilient reservoir of strength in case of hard times.”

How Peas enter into the Picture

Our meals seem incomplete without some kind of  fresh green vegetable. And in winter that is a much harder thing to accomplish than when the garden is going full swing. (Of course, I’m not speaking of canned vegetables or big-agri-business frozen vegetables — or vegetables loaded with pesticides — which is the bulk of what’s available at big food stores.  I speaking of fresh organic vegetables that really are food for the body.)

One of the things I’ve come to appreciate a lot in the winter months are my peas.

Yes, peas can be work intense — however, if you take the right approach you can easily get a great return on your investment each year and it will be one more thing you can do to become independent of the big food stores.

Guidelines that make having peas in winter one of the easiest thing you can do:

  • Plant only what you can handle.  (I plant 3 rows of peas.)
  • Stagger the plantings to stagger the harvest.  (You’ll  probably still have a couple of days that you’ll get a large harvest from all your plantings.)
  • Pick every day whenever possible or at least every other day to keep them coming.
  • Shell immediately.
  • Set aside some for dinner and freeze the rest immediately after shelling.  (Peas loose sugar content every hour they’re off the vine – so for best quality use or freeze immediately.)

Peas used within a year can easily be frozen without blanching. They taste fresh-from-the-garden-sweet this way and also don’t stick together. You can take out what you need and put the others back in the freezer.

  • When the harvest starts to dwindle leave the last peas on the vines until they’re dry. (But pick before the pod cracks and breaks open – spilling the peas on the ground.) Shell and place in a paper bag, tape closed, and store in a cool dry place until next year at planting time.

Final Thought

It’s a little thing – this business about peas.  But every step you take towards independence will help build that reservoir of strength to see you through future times.


Related Posts:

Peas – Support Makes for Easy Picking

Peas – To Blanch or Not to Blanch

Peas – Gourmet Treat from the Garden


Organic gardening is easy, efficient, effective and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • Theresa, Hardly any of us remember how to do useful things anymore. We seem totally dependent on others for things our grandparents would have just dealt with. It actually scares me to think that years ago, my family of 5 would have been dependent on what came from our backyard garden!!! That’s why I love your blog, you seem to be able to feed yourself and your husband so well from your efforts. That’s what I aspire to.

  • Well put Sandra — about remembering “how to do useful things”. I think that is so true with so many.
    But you’re on the right path and you have the right attitude — so you’ll get there.

    Why not start with peas on hand for winter use. You probably don’t have enough planted right now to eat fresh and then take you through the winter, but nonetheless you could freeze a package or two — also save a little seed for next year — and plan for next year.

    Love having you comment! Thanks!

  • Hello Theresa
    I am the one who wrote you about knowing AP Thomson. I wrote to Mrs Thomson and received a nice note from her. I hope to purchase some apples from the orchard this year. Back then, Mr Thomson was the President of the Organic Growers Association which I think was based in Texas. It was a big position. It was also the big days of Paul Keen and Walnut Acres Farm in PA. That was a treasure for anyone who knew about it. They were passionate as was Mr. Thomson. His orchard was so alive and I remember they composted the apple solids from juicing back to the trees.
    What a privilege to know him. If I ever find any of his letters I will send you a copy! He was a prolific writer.

  • How wonderful to hear from you again Elizabeth.

    I was so glad to learn that you wrote to Mrs. Thomson and receive a note from her. I had sent her a copy of your comments but never heard back, but I know she has her hands full.

    Yes, Walnut Acres was absolutely WONDERFUL! How I miss them. Mr. Keen would be so sad to know that they sold out and what he established is no more. It went the way of many small wonderful companies that offered healthful food (or seed). Big agri-business is gobbling up everything they can. Indeed — you are right — they were a treasure!

    I’d love to have a copy of any of Mr. Thomson’s letters that you come across. Thank you for thinking of that.

    Again, it is good to hear from you. Please stay in touch.

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