19/6/13

raspberryfool: (Gardening)
I never thought I'd get excitied about peas. I rarely buy them, except dried ones in boxes which make great mushy peas. But I love crisp, fresh mangetouts and sugarsnaps. Despite the cold spring, the lacklustre summer and the predations of a certain wascally wabbit, the pea plants I planted out in February are doing very nicely. The younger plants are also coming along well, and I've been busily tying them into the canes for support, and to prevent them from growing crookedly along the ground.

I'm growing a heritage variety called "Golden Sweet", whose first pods are almost ready to pick. These are a mangetout type pea with beautiful, yellow pods and bi-colour purple flowers that never fully open. I'm going to have to discipline myself though, since I'll want some to mature for seeds.

yellow mangetout


The other pea variety I'm growing is "Bijou", which is a sugarsnap type which I'm promised has 7-inch long pods. In fact, everything about this variety is large – even the leaves! These also have beautiful, bicolour, purple flowers.

bijou1


bijou2



Peas and French beans are self-pollinating, so there's no need for bees to visit them and there's very little chance of accidental cross-pollination occuring since the anther and stamen are inaccessible. As an experiment I've taken pollen from each variety and used it to (hopefully) polintate the other in the hope of procuring a large-podded, yellow sugarspap variety. Rebsie Fairholm's website Daughter of the Soil has loads of information about breeding vegetables and is a wonderful (but alas no longer updated) resource.
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