The Princess and her Peas

Garden-wise tips, and pea sprouts, from seed to saladPea Princess

FPlant "pois mange-tout" or "sugar peas" if you want to eat the entire pod and pea.

FMost peas take about 15 weeks to mature and thrive in early Spring, which is why gardeners often love to get them in the ground while there's still a nip in the air—in hopes of having them ready for the table by early June. You can start peas indoors, but they can be troublesome to transplant. FAnother trick is to Plant peas at the bottom of a small trench which will protect emerging vines from wind and provide more stable temperatures during cold snaps.

FIn the garden: lash together rustic sticks with natural twine to make "steeples" and trellises for peas and their flowers to climb. This princess always protects the base of her garden peas with metal mesh (trimmed rain gutter mesh) or rings made from drinking cups, so as not to lose them to slugs or grubs.

FIf you miss Spring planting, you can plant again in late June for a Fall harvest.

Sprouting for the Kitchen

FSprouting peasFresh peas are back in the stores in Spring, but are sometimes astringent, mealy, and very expensive! That's what happens when they are past their sweet prime. Luckily, they are easy to transform into gourmet sprouts.

I sprinkled the peas into pots with some clean soil and covered theSprouts Outdoorsm with more soil—about 3/4". In a very short time they were beautiful, lush, and green. Beautiful as well as delicious.

On fair days my peas sprouts sit in the sun; most days they are under flourescent lights in a spare room.

Recipe ideas for pea sprouts:

• combine with marinated mushrooms aPea Shoot Saladnd chives
• make a colorful salad with crisp vegetables, edible flowers, and black sesame seeds
• roll into spring rolls with other vegetables and shrimp

—