Worms and Flowers

Debunking the D.G.

Posted in Peas by Lzyjo on May 28, 2009

Dwarf Grey Pea, that is.

Seed descriptions will lead you to believe a lot of things. They are a sales rap printed directly onto the product, or product page in the online store. They extol the virtues of their products to make sales, neglecting to mention any shortcomings, or perhaps inadvertently printing incorrect information.

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Here is a seed description for the Dwarf Grey Sugar Snap Pea from the Seed Savers Exchange. I have bold-faced certain keywords that I disagree with.

Introduced in 1892 by D. M. Ferry & Co. Broad palegreen 3-4″ pods are stringless and fiberfree; well suited for steaming or in stir-fry. Vines grow 24-30″ and do not require staking, beautiful purple blossoms. Edible podded, 60 days.

From my personal experience the second and third sentences are totally inaccurate. I’ll start with the plants. My shortest plants are over 37″ tall. That is almost one meter. They range from 37″ to the tallest one that is 50″ and still growing. In my humble opinion all peas can benefit from growing along a fence or other support. I would not attempt to grow Dwarf Greys without support.Photobucket

And about fiber free, they certainly are not! These peas are best when picked before the peas start swelling in the pod, approximately 2″-3″ long. I have many small pods that already have large peas in them and are very fibrous. The good news is they can be shelled and nothing goes to waste. This toughness may be partly attributed to root rot and/or fusarium wilt from the heavy rains and flooding combined with the compacted clay soil. The problem wasn’t bad enough to effect yields but symptoms were visible, yellowing bottom leaves and brittle stems. Truth be told, the first picture is at least two harvests, one that had been in the fridge.

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About the name Dwarf Grey, the plants are certainly are not dwarf, but like grapes, some fruits, and other peas, they have a white powdery coating on the pods that can easily be  buffed off, but makes it appear as if are slightly grey. This trait is more pronounced on older pods. After flowering the tiny pods are bright green.Photobucket

Enough ranting. There are a few good things about peas in general, Dwarf Greys included. The plants are pretty, the flowers are pretty, and the pods are pretty and delicious. They are fun to pick and eat fresh, enjoying the satisfying snapping explosion and the puff of air as the pods crack under tooth. The smell of the fresh pea pods is unmistakable. Peas are a delightful garden experience.

Next year and I plan on trying Oregon Giant or Oregon Sugar Pod II, which have 5″ long pods and are disease resistant.

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