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Growing English Peas

The English peas in my garden are almost ready to harvest and I'm looking forward to using them in a variety of ways including stir-frys, salads and creamed with red potatoes.

English peas are a cool season crop that I plant in my zone 8 garden as early as Valentine's Day. The seeds will germinate as soon as the soil warms up to about 40 degrees F, which is still pretty darn cold if you ask me. But they seem to like the cold and the seedlings will survive a late snow as long as temperatures don't stay below 20 degrees F for an extended period of time.

Most varieties of English peas will mature into a large vine so I like to give my plants a little support. It doesn't take much, a simple teepee made from discarded branches will do the trick.

Like many of their cousins, these peas are sweet enough to eat raw, although their shell can be rather bitter and tough. But then shelling peas is half the fun of preparing them.