I told Paul that June was too late to plant snow peas.
(Not that we could have planted them sooner; we had put together the two new raised beds in our front yard in May, and finally had them filled with topsoil and compost in early June.)
But peas are one of Paul’s favorite vegetables, and if we were going to have a garden, he wanted to grow peas. So, as I was setting out chard starts, and hesitantly planting tomatoes and tomatillos in 60-degree June weather, Paul pushed a handful of dry peas into one end of the bed.
And while my tomatoes and tomatillos shivered in their bed, those peas germinated, and the tiny plants pushed their first leaves up. I was still unconvinced that there would be snow peas, as I was sure that summer weather — too hot for peas — would eventually arrive.
True summer never came to Seattle this year. Instead, we had spring weather most of July and into August. My three tomatillo plants made one single husk among them. Paul’s pea plants grew and grew, covering the trellis that we put up for them. The plants blossomed, and then — magic! — tiny peas appeared from within the wilting flowers.
At first, we picked the peas one or two at a time, enjoying their sweet green crunch while watering our raised beds. Eventually, though, the plants bore enough good-sized snow peas that we could harvest an entire handful. (At the same time, I picked my single, $10 tomatillo, the last of the bush beans, and the half dozen cherry tomatoes that glowed ripely orange.)
Over the next couple of days, we plucked more snow peas from the vines, until we had almost half a pound — enough to make a meal of them. How would I cook these peas, the first substantial harvest from our brand new garden? Simply: sautéed with onion from our neighborhood farmers market, CSA garlic, homemade chicken stock and a little low-sodium soy sauce, served over brown rice. Need I say that they were delicious? And even more so because they were from our own garden.
Snow peas from our own yard. In August. Next year, I expect Paul will plant peas earlier… but if he doesn’t, I won’t even think of telling him that it’s too late.