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Vegetable Gardening 2012 Continues as Vegetable Gardening 2013 Begins

In the automobile industry, the end of a calendar summer is the beginning of the next model year. So it goes with vegetables, but in carbon-neutral fashion.

Shelling dry snap peas for next year's and this fall's seeds

Garden fashion magazines depict the cultivation of flowers and food as a thoroughly bright, clean, color-saturated experience. But this yesterday I find myself at a desaturated end, with dried up pods of snap peas on my kitchen table. Last year, I set out pea pods to dry in my basement but discovered the downfall of that strategy: mice ate them up. This year, I just let the peas I didn’t eat dry out on the vine outside.

I had a bounty in front of me. After a season of snacking for the family, there still were enough dried peas to fill one envelope for next year and one envelope for our neighbors for next year, with the leftover peas going right back into the soil to sprout back up again later this month. These peas, like most peas, are open pollinated and not hybrids, so the seed I collect will grow plants that make the same kind of peas, year after year. The time from planting to harvest for snap peas is about sixty days. If I’m unlucky, a deep frost might wreck the pea pods. If I’m lucky, I’ll get a whole new round of delicious, nutritious goodness. I’m feeling lucky today: a deep rain is soaking the seeds in the ground as I write, just as needed.

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