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.

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6 Responses to “The Productivity of Peas”

  1. Sara Aylett July 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    my family would be lucky to eat one kilo of peas…Maybe if J offered them to uncle Nath, he would eat them on principal of not wanting to upset her!

    • L July 20, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

      It’s always worth a shot 🙂

  2. The New Good Life July 20, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Ah my brain is hurting with all those sums – maths was never my strong suit. Your family must really love peas, hope the yield is good for you. However much you get it’s always a good feeling to be harvesting in the heart of winter.

    I’m just about to plant out some peas that I’ve been growing in my home made greenhouse. I now have them acclimatising outside before they go in the ground. I’m a little concerned it might be too cold for them and they might end up victims of the frosts if we get anymore good ones, but I’ve got plenty more seeds so am planning on periodic plantings anyway.

    • L July 20, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

      I’ve found that periodic plantings of peas aren’t necessary for us. If you plant it all at once, then you have enough of a harvest all at once to actually get a decent meal. The excess is so easily frozen that it doesn’t matter if you have a glut.

  3. ali July 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    That is a lot of peas. I’d like to keep us in bananas year round, but I think I’d have to plant out our entire garden in order to do so… isn’t it amazing what we take for granted from the supermarket?

    ps I grew greenfeast this year too… no good for me, my peas didn’t perform this year.

    • L July 20, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

      Wow Ali – that would be an awful lot of bananas – and your pictures suggest that you already get quite a few. Do bananas crop progressively? I thought that if you planted more trees you would just get big gluts. Maybe not in QLD – do they fruit all year round?

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