Back in December, I did a series of my favorite varieties of plants. In my post on Legumes, I shared my favorite snap beans and limas, but I didn’t yet have a favorite variety of peas. Now I do.
I’ve grown several varieties of peas, most recently Dwarf Gray and Tall Telephone peas. However, my whimsical purchase of Tom Thumb peas (from Seed Savers) has turned out to be my favorite variety for several reasons.
First, the size. The most frustrating thing to me about growing peas is finding enough upward space (trellis, fence) for them during the cooler months. If I use my fence, I have to plant them in pots; but I don’t have enough windowbox-sized pots to plant enough peas to make it worth while. I tried to plant them along one of my trellises (which I use for cucumbers and melons), but the winter winds kept blowing the trellis down.
Well, Tom Thumb peas don’t require a trellis of any kind because they don’t grow any taller than 8 inches! I planted them along my front walkway and in pots.
I planted three plants in each of two large pots on the side of my front door. Because I didn’t know how many peas to plant in that size pot, I planted three; but I think the pot could easily handle five. Here’s one of the plants in one of those pots.
Second, the flowers. The flowers on these pea plants aren’t pink and lavender as many pea flowers are. They’re completely white.
Third, the production. Just because these plants are pint sized, don’t think they produce fewer pods than their larger cousins. They produce quite a few pods for such a tiny plant. And the pods are full size, too.
Fourth, variety. Not only do you get a lot of pods, you get two for the price of one. By that, I mean you can use these as snow peas (if you harvest them young) or as regular peas (if you let them mature). Here’s a bowl of mature pea pods I harvested one evening.
When mature, I don’t even cook the peas. Just split the pods and pop the peas in your mouth for tender, sweet goodness. And the immature pods are delicious sauteed in a stir fry.
For those of you up north and in the midwest where it’s still cool-weather crop time, consider planting Tom Thumb peas this spring – in pots, along walkways, or in between other plants. They’ll give you lots of peas in a little space. And they’ll last a long while, too. Here in the South, it’s spring crop weather, so it’s too late to plant peas. Yet the peas I planted in early February are all blooming again for another batch of peas.
Tom Thumb peas – yummy goodness…any way you eat ’em.
Have you ever grown Tom Thumb peas?