Peas are perfect in school gardens because:
1) They come in their own wrappers. In terms of food safety—-winners!
2) Peas are one of those foods whose “fresh” version and “canned” version are radically different. If you’ve only had those nasty little canned ones, fresh peas seem like a whole new food.
3) You can’t plant enough peas. My experience is that kids love to search for them on the vine, pop them open and eat. Every year I plant them I resolve to plant ten times more the following year.
4) As nitrogen-fixing legumes, you can chop up the plants after they’ve produced and dig them in to improve the soil.
5) Peas can be put in the ground early (Valentines Day here in Julian) so kids can plant and harvest during the school year. (Because some vegetables ripen in the summer, plants whose entire cycle can be observed during the traditional school calendar are great.)
As part of our “emerging” Farm to School program, I am working to choose a “crop of the month” for our school and align it as much as possible with a planting and harvesting schedule for the garden. We will also be incorporating the excellent matching resources of “Harvest of the Month” in garden lessons.
Naturally, our first crop will be peas for May.
To start, I bought every variety of pea I could find! Here are a few:
More pea-brained ideas to follow…..