Monday, July 7, 2014
Yes, We Have No Peas
When we first came to this land two decades ago, my plan was to grow food crops. Pesticide free vegetables picked at the moment of ripe perfection was the single goal of time spent here. Peas have long been a favorite of ours. This picture shows the condition of the bed after the four rows of pathetic pea plants were removed. Fine leaf mulch applied after the peas were up did a fine job of limiting weed invasion and kept the soil underneath moist. My futile attempts to bring these plants water during the early hot dry two weeks failed. Our harvest was about equal to the amount of seed planted but these are soup peas. Weeding will give Becky's volunteer poppies a chance to give us a late show of cheery color. The leaf mulch will rot down darkening and enriching the soil for next year's vegetable crop.
Perennial flowers have earned considerable garden space. Mail order day lilies have put on impressive growth in this nursery bed and will be moved next spring. These plants have several characteristics to recommend wide use in our zone 4 garden. Hardy varieties require no protection from late frosts. A wide range of color, form and scent add much to our time in the garden. Contrast the condition of this bed with the equally sized space devoted to peas this year and you will see the promise of many flowers to come rather than crushing disappointment.
An organized planting of day lilies that takes into account their time of bloom, color and size requires gathering information. We need to record the sequence of flower appearance so that something is always in bloom while nearby plants are still to bloom or are past. A flower as beautiful as this Destined To See deserves to appear surrounded only by green foliage. We tried dividing our clump of this treasure early this spring. The division was placed near the stone wall down by the road. It flowered ahead of its parent plant still located away from the protection of the river and slightly higher in elevation. That success will encourage us to bust up older clumps to increase our planting stock and give individual plants room to grow.
Molokai is also in bloom now. Its clear bright color and ruffled edge were the basis for purchasing it. A vigorous grower promises that it will be a long term resident here. If the new planting is properly planned, prepared and planted, the next owner of this place should be able to enjoy these plants with little maintenance. He will have to make his own decision about planting peas!