Written by Andy Behlen, Fayette County Record

I love fresh peas from the garden. I’m amazed at how nature found a way to turn soil and sunlight into something green and sweet. I love the way they look growing up a trellis. They can provide a beautiful architectural element to the garden space.

I grew a variety called “Oregon Sugar Pod II” this year. This is a variety of snow peas. You can wait to pick them until the pods fill with plump peas. However, most folks who grow snow peas pick them when the pods are slightly immature. You can eat the entire pod this way.

I planted these peas in a row back in late January. The seed package said they would reach maturity in 68 days after germination, and that was pretty accurate. I picked the first harvest about a week ago, and the vines are already loaded with peas again this week.

The more you pick them, the more they produce. This is a trait common to most of the legumes grown as vegetables, which include green beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas along with English peas, sugar snap peas and the snow peas I’m growing.

Gardeners get an extra benefit from growing legumes in addition to the harvest: they have the ability to transfer nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil. This process is called nitrogen fixation. Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for plant growth.

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