Pulling Peas

by Ken Greene

Normally around this time I am picking peas. The pods are crispy on the vines and easily pop open releasing their wrinkled dry seeds. Instead of picking peas I am pulling them up. The near constantly wet weather is less than ideal for seed saving. Seeds are at their peak when dried on the living plant; each seed receiving the most nutrients and energy possible to help it stay viable until next season.  This year, however, the peas, and some of our other seeds, are in danger of rotting on the plant rather than drying.  Pea pods are especially susceptible to molding when soaked day after day. Rather than risk losing them, I pulled up all the vines by their roots and hung them upside down from the rafters in the barn. The pods will continue to dry on the vines, getting the most they can from the plant. When the vines and pods are dry I will harvest the peas and finish drying them on salvaged window screens.

Dry Peapod Dry Peapod

Sometimes, saving seeds means finding creative ways to mimic ideal conditions. When it's too wet, find a way to make it dry. When it's too sunny, find a way to make shade. When it's too cool, find a way to heat things up. Some gardeners build temporary roofs over their plants to create shade, amplify the sun, or keep water off. Although many seed saving books make it sound like there's a right way to do things, ultimately it's up to you to be get creatively experimental and figure out what works best for you based on your conditions and resources. Hope you are all letting at least a few plants go to seed just to see what they do!