Harvest Monday: Peas and Beans

And it actually IS Monday, so I’m off to a good start.

Last night, I harvested 2 lbs 5 oz of fava beans, almost 1 lb (11.4 oz) of shelling peas, and about 1.5 lbs of snow and sugar peas (mixed).  That felt good!  The peas almost filled an ice cream bucket, and I know there will be more to pick every day for a little while yet.  So I guess we’ll be trying to freeze some!

The favas got mixed reviews; I shelled, blanched and then removed the skins before sauteeing them, just for a minute, in some butter and garlic.  I thought they were delish, Skipper thought they were good, but not at all worth the work.  Although I didn’t mind the work, I was a little depressed by the TINY bowlful that about 1 lb of whole favas became.  Considering the amount of space the plants themselves are taking up, that’s a pretty small havest!  As a cover crop, they are beautiful, and Skipper’s in favour of growing them just for the crazy plants and beautiful flowers.  I think I’ll try some different varieties next year, and only overwinter a patch–I won’t bother with a spring planting.  Seeds of Victoria sells a heritage crimson one that I’d love to try:

http://www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath/htdocs/2010%20catalogue%20images/BROADBEANSCrimson2.jpg

I’m pretty sure that the ones I planted in the fall were Sweet Lorane’s, which are generally recommended.  They’ve certainly been productive!

The shelling peas are Green Arrow, and I had decided a couple of weeks ago that I wouldn’t bother growing them next year.  The snow and sugar peas–where you eat the whole pod–are so tasty, and you can eat them sooner, because you don’t have to wait for the peas themselves to fill out.  You eat them at an immature stage, which in June is a good thing!  It’s been agony not picking the huge pods on the Green Arrow vines and waiting for them to have sizable peas inside them.  Last night, I decided some of them were big enough, and it was time to start picking.  WOW! I remembered why I wanted to grow these!  The flavour and sweetness is just like nothing else.  So even though the pound of pods also only gave us a small bowl of shelled peas, they WERE worth the wait and the work.  They are too good to even cook, which is too bad, because as a heritage crop, there are a lot of great recipes out there.  Oh well!

Besides the peas and beans, there are still lots of strawberries, LOTS of lettuce and salad greens, some chard and scallions, raspberries and currants to graze from.  Lots of herbs too, and still some garlic scapes that I’ve been saving.  I also read over the weekend that you can also harvest green garlic (immature garlic bulbs) any time now too.  I’m not surprised that hungry gardeners over the centuries have decided that immature plants are tasty while they count down the days until the real crop is ready. 🙂  So we’ll try some of that too. Dinner tonight: stir-fried carrots, mushrooms, peppers, tofu (not our own) with the garden’s peas, scallions, scapes and greens.

I’m slowly getting my head around the food cycle of my garden in this climate.  I’m aware that the peas will be done in a couple of weeks (although I did succession plant a little, so we’ll still have some plants producing well for weeks after that, I suspect), and yet it will be some time yet before the real summer crops are producing–the tomatoes, cukes, peppers, etc.  In summers past, we’ve eaten so much salad that I didn’t bother planting summer brassicas–who wants to eat broccoli when there are ripe tomatoes around?!  Save those for the fall when there’s nothing else to eat (I love broccoli, and brussel sprouts are the Skipper’s favorite vegetable.  But at Thanksgiving). I thought I was eating seasonally.  But I was really still eating from a stretched season, thanks to warmer climes in the Okanagan and thanks to the Fraser Valley greenhouses.

Now I see.  We could be watching our brassicas get tall and fat right now after the long, slow spring, and be munching them through July and early August while we lust after the ripening tropicals.  Instead, we’ll keep eating peas, and the bush beans will hopefully pick up the slack until the late summer harvest of pole beans and nightshades kick in.  Carrots will be around all summer too, which is great, but I need a bigger bed to keep them going!

On the plus side, we’ve done pretty well with our potatoes.  We’ll still have lots to eat over the next month or so, and then there will probably be early potatoes ready from our main crop, if we’re judicious.  We may yet get a continuous supply for the summer and into the fall/winter keepers.  Fingers crossed.

On the minus side, although the strawberry patch looked promising, we’ve been keeping up just fine with its productivity, and I think the moment where it looked like we might get some jam out of the small bed may have passed.  There are lots of raspberries and currants, though, so we might get a few jars.  But it looks like we might have to do a small U-Pick after all.  Jam is one of the Skipper’s staples all year :).

So that’s the report this week; I’ll do my best to track the bounty a little better for next week, and get some photos along the way. Stay tuned!

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4 thoughts on “Harvest Monday: Peas and Beans

  1. Hi Toni,

    I just love reading what’s happening in your garden! I’m envious, as I haven’t had time to devote to my garden yet this year. Thankfully we have berries bushes/plants that do their own thing, as well as fruit trees, so we are starting to enjoy the first of the sweet treats of this year.

    best,
    Ursa

    1. Thanks Ursa. You’re right, thank goodness for the fruit bushes and trees that just keep producing regardless of the neglect :). The permaculturists love the perennial plants for that reason, and I can definitely see their point.

  2. I just can’t grow real peas anymore. They are way too much work for me. I do love my snow and snap peas however. For some reason I don’t mind shelling all the dried beans I grow. I think it is because I can just leave a bag near the chair for when I watch TV. It gets done when I’m not even thinking about it.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Daphne! It will be interesting to see how I feel about all this when the year is up. So far no amount of labour is a problem when the rewards are so tasty, but I can imagine that shelling dry beans in September/October might not seem as stressful as shelling peas now while the garden is taking off. I’m just hoping my dry beans will come to something; so far the slugs have gotten a few of the sprouts and I’m not sure how many beans I’ll get on each plant. I’m enjoying watching and learning, though!

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