Archive | 4:17 pm

The Productivity of Peas

20 Jul

Google tells me that today would have been Gregor Mendel’s 189th birthday. The fact that we still remember him is quite an endorsement of the importance of his work, seeing as he died at age 61. This guy’s been pushing up daisies for a very long time!

So it was very fitting that today, we harvested our first bowl of peas.

Harvesting Peas

We planted ‘Greenfeast’ peas this year. Their white flowers have been quite beautiful and productive. I’m concerned though that in order to provide enough peas for our family, I’d need to plant out my entire block. Don’t get me wrong, the plants are cropping quite densely, but we eat a lot of peas.

It’s given me a new appreciation of those bags in the freezer section. They are full of the precious little pearls, all for a buck or two. I can appreciate now the amount of land that must have been devoted to each little bag. My quick reading suggests that commercial yields of shelled peas vary between 1.5 and 5 tons per hectare. Say the yield is 3 tons/hectare, then that is 300g of peas per square meter. I’ve devoted about 2 square metres to my peas, so I think I’m optimistic in aiming for 500g.

I estimate that my family would eat 10 kilos of peas per year. If my math is right (and it rarely is) that means that I would need to plant  20 square metres of peas for self-sufficiency.

McCain, you’ve really have done it again.

Lettuce is looking mighty productive now.

**Update** We had a really wet winter and eventually all my peas were stricken with a fungal ‘rust’. I pulled the lot out, and that last harvest alone yielded 2.5 kilos of peas in the pods and 500grams of shelled peas. And this was at a stage where most of the pods were still too small to shell. I think that next year I’ll build proper supports and plant more, because I was quite encouraged by the yield.

They also froze very nicely, and didn’t even need blanching first.