Pick for productivity!

This morning’s harvest of Alderman peas, front; and broad beans, at the back.

A quick reminder to all of us that picking the pods from our peas and beans on a regular basis encourages more flowering and more productivity.

If you don’t need to eat them straight away then pod, blanch and freeze your produce as you go. Smaller amounts are handy for one or two serves and you will be relieved that you didn’t need to spend all day processing those kilos of beans!

Autumn activities

We are still picking saffron flowers, over 230 so far, but now our thoughts are turning towards putting in our winter crops. Peas are the first to go in. Having successfully sown 4 varieties of seeds I’m now trying to get them all planted out into the garden.

It’s not just the digging and planting that is taking time, but I have also been wrapping copper tape around bits of pvc pipe to act as a barrier to all those snails and slugs trying to devastate my plants. My first planting was the Alderman climbing peas. I am growing them up some commercial mesh that I bought in Japan. 

Alderman pea seedlings in their snazzy copper collars

I also needed some new garden stakes, however because I always enjoy painting them interesting colours to make the garden just that bit more entertaining it took even longer to get them dry enough to use.

New garden stakes, painted and ready for action

Having gotten the stakes painted I used them in the front garden for my Purple Podded peas. I am putting in a different support here. Tying double pieces of string to the crossbeam and then securing the lower end to a stone or in this case a few small pieces of concrete. This way the growing plants can be slipped between the strings so the peas have an easy way to climb up. 

I ran out of pvc pipe to make protective collars so I have re-used some seedling pots, cutting the bottom out of them before adding the copper tape. In the background is the mulched area is where I have planted my bush peas. 

Since planting this lot I have also planted out some shallots at either end of the trellis. The shallots can be planted quite close together so it was a good use of the space left over from planting the peas.

And yes I still have to find a spot for my Snow peas!

Peas Please

With spring well underway all those peas I planted out several months ago are now starting to deliver. We had our first meal incorporating them last night – TB’s version of Mapo Tofu with some peas and asparagus for added flavour.

Massey bush peas, great for a small garden.
Massey bush peas, great for a small garden.

The first out of the pod are the Massey bush pea (above) which grow lots of pods on compact bushes. They are great for a small garden.

It will only be another day or two before we start harvesting our climbing peas. This year I have planted Alderman and Purple Podded Peas.

Alderman climbing peas.
Alderman climbing peas.

The Aldermans are galloping up the wire so quickly that we’ve had to tie a rather Heath Robinson arrangement of ex-curtain trim around the top of the stakes to try and provide some more support.

I’ve planted my favourite Purple Podded climbing peas in the front garden, where their striking two tone pink and purple flowers have already been mistaken for sweet-peas by a passing neighbour.

Purple Podded Peas, both the flowers and the pods make an attractive display.
Purple Podded Peas, both the flowers and the pods make an attractive display.

I do plant some peas just for the shear pleasure of their flowers. I love the many varieties of Australian native peas, such as this Mirbelia oxyloboides. I purchased this plant from a weekend market while I was on holidays in Bairnsdale several years ago – now I wish I’d bought more.

Mirbelia oxyloboides.

These plants bring to mind a scene I experienced in Namadgi National Park many years ago. Walking along the fire trails at Mt Ginini we could see the surrounding mountain slopes covered with thousands of flowering orange pea plants – quite amazing!