Tag Archives: Snow Peas

Spring means Peas

On a suburban farm in Everett, Washington.

We have been eating raw peas for a couple of weeks. More are on the way. Our peas do not like hot weather, and we sure have been having unusual heat. The main crop is just coming on.

June 5, 2016 (3)

Cascadia Snap Peas…. about the best snap peas I’ve ever had.

Golden Sweet sno-peas

Golden Sweet sno-peas live up to their name. Though they are small for a flat, Chinese style pea, (traditionally used for stir-fry) they are sweet and golden. The flowers are a pretty lavender and purple that age to a deep blue and magenta. When I first saw them years ago, I thought, “If all these are good for are the pretty flowers, then they will always have a place in my garden.” Then I nibbled my first crisp golden pod. They live up to the “sweet” part of their name. I bought my original seed from Uprising Organics. It is nearly impossible to harvest all the pods, even though they are easy to find with their sunny yellow pods, so saving seed from these heirloom vines is really effortless.

June 5, 2016 (7)

Golden Sweet sno-peas

Purple Pod Shelly Peas

Just for fun, I picked up a package of Purple Pod shelling peas from Ed Hume Seed Company. I have not seen any pods yet, just a load of beautiful flowers. Like Golden Sweet Sno Peas, these are full size vine peas, meaning they need a good support for the six foot-heavy vines.

June 5, 2016 (1)

Purple Pod Shelly (English) Peas

The original: Sugar Snap Peas

These are the peas that turned my pea-hating husband into an enthusiastic muncher of peas. We have tried dozens of different types of snap pea in the 20+ years since growing our first crop of snap peas. With the exception of Cascadia, none of the short vine snap peas come close to being as tender and sweet as a plump Sugar Snap in our seldom humble opinion. The six foot vines require strong support. It is still a little early for sugar snaps, the pods in the picture (June 5th) will plump up before they are ready to harvest.

June 5, 2016 (11)

We have been eating tiny Dakota, and our favorite early pea, Maestro, for a couple of weeks. I only planted a taste of the early peas. Their vines are starting to dry up, ready to pass on to the chickens. Working full time, I only have time to tend to short rows. School will be out June 8th, and if the Almighty is willing, there will be time for me to be a farmer, field-to-table epicure and prepper. Still to come out on the pea frame are  Tall Telephone Peas. An heirloom that will hopefully go into the freezer. (I’m am not a fan of canned peas).

May 23, 2016 Bento

Maestro Peas for a sweet treat in my bento

The pea frame

Early morning at The Toy Box Suburban Farm. Because we are making a transition from Square Foot Gardening to Back to Eden, we seldom need to water. But after a stretch of unusually hot days, I ran the sprinkler for 20 minutes in the morning, just to keep the vines from prematurely drying out. You can make out the pea and bean frame Ray put together (the Tomato tree can also be seen.) Climbing beans are just getting started on the other side of the frame. The legs of the frame are set about 18 inches into the ground. We hope that is enough to survive July storms. The plant in the foreground is parsley that I am saving seed from.

June 5, 2016 (18)

Late Spring at The Toy Box Suburban Farm

June 5, 2016 (15)Blue Sky Sunday. Very surprising after the black smoke that rolled through the valley from a fire that ate a recycling center and two other big buildings on the water front. Thanks to the fire men who put on hot bunker gear to fight those fires !!

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Between the Rain Drops… Mid April At The Toy Box Suburban Farm

Spring at The Toy Box Suburban Farm

Spring at The Toy Box Suburban Farm

Fits and starts, I think that is what it is called when nothing happens then everything happens then nothing again. Such is April. Every day I peek at the progress. It seems like nothing changes, until all of a sudden I see something new.

Parsley and Peas (Green Arrow)

Parsley and Peas (Green Arrow)

The trouble with daily peeks is not noticing the change. At first I had to get down on ground level to see the graceful arched stems of the peas pushing out of the ground. I have no idea how they got so large all of a sudden. These are Green Arrow shelling peas. We also have a short row of Canoe, Cascadia Snap, old fashioned Sugar Snap, an Italian snow pea and Tall Telephone (more per square foot then my favorite Maestro). Out front in the Back to Eden area there are some Dakota peas. I know, crazy, but I wanted to plant stuff and peas are ok with the cold of Saint Patricks Day.

Green Garlic

Green Garlic

All my garlic this year is volunteer. I took a chance, dug them up and seperated them. Then trimmed the leaves and roots like you would with leeks and replanted them. So far, so good but I am keeping my fingers crossed. I’ve never done this before. Looks good so far!

Kale Buds

Kale Buds

I have been plucking kale buds and tiny leaves from this plant all winter long. The poor thing is getting desperate to make seeds. The buds are starting to ripen up faster then I can tuck them into my lunches. The larger leaves have made some fantastic soups. My Bento’s get some of the tiny leaves with the spinach and radishes from the green house for the sweetest early salad that only gardeners in the Pacific North West get. One of the perks for putting up with all the rain.

Apple Blossoms

Apple Blossoms

One nice thing about the rain, it does make the air smell sweet! April 12, 2015 in Everett, Washington, it seems a little chilly. High 53, low 43. Even though there is only a 10% chance of rain, that 10% added a half inch of water to the rain gauge. Sunrise at 6:25, sunset at 7:54 giving us 13 hours and 29 minutes of a pretty spring day.

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In the March Garden at The Toy Box

Sunset on February was pretty, Sunrise on March looks to be gorgeous!



You can still get away with stopping to listen to the bird song in March, but I feel the urgency to get out and get dirty… or muddy, depending on what hour it is in March. There are very few chores that must be done this month, but don’t put them off too long or you will miss out on some of the best food from your garden, come May.

Most Toy Box peas are direct seeded, but a few always get their start in soil blocks.

Most Toy Box peas are direct seeded, but a few always get their start in soil blocks.

The first half of March

  1. Pick a place to plant peas, set up your pea fence.
  2. Buy fresh inoculate (if you use it)
  3. Check your Soil Block stash, got enough?
  4. Get ready to start those Tomatoes!
  5. It’s time to chit potatoes!! Get your favorites early
  6. Plant more salad and radishes.
Soil Blocks of Tomato seeds.

Soil Blocks of Tomato seeds.

Every Year I tell myself that next year I am going to wait until April to start my tomatoes… and like every other year, I’m feeling anxious to start them in March. I just happen to be missing soil block ingredients this year so I may be forced to wait. Meanwhile, I try to keep my eyes off the tomato pages of local seed catalogs. I’m sure the 20 plus packets of seeds that I already have will be sufficient. Except that I want….

If we spend any money at the garden shop, it will be for seed potatoes. We need everything. Most of the seed potatoes we plant can be found locally but one is iffy. Burbank Russets are not even sort of rare. Even so, they are hard to find in Everett. They are the one potato that does well in our potato towers, making potatoes at all levels as advertised. Everything else can be found on a day trip to Marysville or Mt. Vernon.

Have your radishes sprouted yet? Whoo-hoo… Don’t wait too long, start some-more. Mine are growing in the greenhouse with tiny greens, scallions and spinach. This first week of March I like to set up the cold-frame and get another patch of salad started. The slug wars begin.

Rudy Valentine

Rudy Valentine

March 1, 2015 and the sun is up at 6:50 AM (duh). The back porch is wet but the weather prophets are telling me I have zero chance of seeing any rain, a good day to get those weeds while they are still young. (adding the herb garden to my list of must do). High of 55, low of 37 (F). I’ve only got 11 hours and 3 minutes to get everything done today, sunset at 5:53 PM

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What’s a farmer supposed to do on Rainy Days?

I’ve be waiting for a rainy day to get my starts going.

2014 in the greenhouse

2014 in the greenhouse

Late February, and I’m starting….

  • Artichokes (usually winter sown, so I’m crossing my fingers)
  • Parsley, both curly and Italian
  • Celery
  • Celeriac
  • Onions, Italian Torpedo, Cipollini (need to buy more yellow storage: New York Early)
  • Salad, (we have a lot to choose from!)
  • Leeks and Shallots
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Maybe a few peas in soil blocks instead of pots.

That’s what springs to my mind, what are you planing to start indoors this month?

Robins have returned to Everett, WA

Robins have returned to Everett, WA

Every grove of trees in Everett is alive with returning robins arguing over the best camping spot until they can get a permanent nest built. They will be building those nests in the rain today, Friday, February 20, 2015. The chill in the air probably means the rain will soon be replaced by blue sky, but today the forecast is at 70% chance of rain, 51/39 Sunrise at 7:06, Sunset at 5:39 giving us 10 hours and 33 minutes of wet daylight!


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The Table: We found it at Value Village. There were 4 chairs but one was broken. Chairs are easy to find.

I sold my big table last summer. We were hoping to get enough money from a garage sale to buy a new (used) car after losing the Honda to a thief. It was not meant to be. Allstate does not consider stolen cars mayhem. Even with full coverage we did not get enough to replace a similar car. Then the Washer and Dryer quit. New elements were not doing the job in the old oven AND the transmission in the Suburban needed expensive repairs. No car, no table, no money. Balancing plates in our laps in front of the TV worked while everyone was working different shifts. I’ve missed sitting down at the table for a meal. I have not been this excited about a simple piece of furniture for a long time.

A perfect fit.

Chris talked about making a table for me. I hope he still does. But talking with him forced me to think about something I wanted to avoid. I do not like to think about what I do not have, only what I do have. Being content comes from the inside. Anytime I feel like something is missing, like meals at a table, I start seeing what I do not have instead of the abundant blessings showered upon me already.

I thought that a round table would be perfect (not very good at the content thing am I) because the dining area light is round. Chris drew up plans for a table top very much like this one. The legs on his were his own pattern that was nearly genius.

Some of the framed pictures from Robe Valley and my old Roll Top Desk

My old desk: The first furniture I ever bought was a roll top desk. It has been sitting in Chris’ room since moving to Everett. So were plastic bins of pictures. He brought them all out shortly before Christmas. After re-arranging the sitting room for a TV Ray bought the house for Channukah I was able to fit the desk and many of the pictures in a nice clutter. See all those blank spaces on the wall?

Pictures that still need a place.

There are so many more pictures that need a place to be. I’m not sure how we got so many pictures but every one is a treasure.

More goes on inside the house in January than outside. Soups and broth simmer on the stove. The scent of baking bread brightens the dark afternoon. Making our plans now that Ray is out of work gets discussed. Thank you YHVH for the table! There is still a few chores that need to be done outside during the cold, wet winter on an urban farm.

Bertha (in the box) and Lil'bit get a little time to graze before being scooted back into the Easter Basket because I get cold.

Chickens need to be tended everyday no matter what the weather. How do I know? Because I was sick in bed for 8 days and only asked the guys to feed my girls and check their water. I clean their bedding daily. After 8 days it was rank in their cute little house.

Every day I still have to go outside with a shovel to clean up after my dogs. I am SO thankful they are small dogs.

Once a week I still turn the little green compost bins. I am sure I could go longer but I like being outside. Sometime this week, maybe while Ray is out filling out all the forms a man looking for work needs to fill out, I should start some winter-sown seeds, a basket of micro greens and press together some soil cubes to start salad and greens in. I will be mad at myself come March if I skip the last task.

Volunteer Snow Peas and the Fava Beans showing signs of life.

Those fava beans I started in November are already coming up.

Fava Bean video

I am not sure if this is good or bad. I guess I’ll find out this spring. While we still have some money I got my seed orders in. That was fun. It feels like the new year is really here once I do that.

Looking for work......so I keep finding jobs for him to do. Not sure that is what he wants.


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Early July 2011 in the Toybox, Wet and Cold

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Orange-Saffron Butter Sauce on Spring Vegetables and Pasta

What should I do with all those snow peas? Annie Somerville had a good idea in her book, FIELDS of GREENS. It is “Lingunie with Spring Vegetables and Orange-Saffron Butter”. I am pretty sure that you have to live in southern California to have ripe red and yellow peppers in spring. Annie makes her own Lingunie. I bought peppers and pretty green pasta from Trader Joe’s.

Fresh from the garden, Golden Sweet Snow Peas, English Peas and Shallots. Maybe next year I'll have a few asparagus from home.

 Tools and Equipment needed: Stockpot (or Pasta pot), knife and cutting board, large saute pan and tongs, colander, serving platter (or pasta bowl)

4 Tablespoons Butter, softened

1 generous pinch Saffron Threads, soaked in 1 Tablespoon hot water

Salt and Pepper

1/2 pound Asparagus, woody ends trimmed off

1/2 pound of any kind of Peas (I used a combination of shelled English and Snow)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 Shallots, thinly sliced

1/2 red or yellow Bell Pepper, thinly sliced (I used 4 mini bells of various colors)

1/4 cup dry White Wine

Zest and Juice of 1 orange

1/2 pound (Annie uses fresh) Linguine

Garnish: Chive Blossom and Parmesan cheese

1. Put Pasta Water on to boil.

2. Lift the hydrated saffron threads from the water (save the water) and add them to the butter with a big pinch of salt (1/8 teaspoon), and a grind or pinch of pepper. Cream the spices into the butter and set at the ready.

3.  Slice the asparagus into 2 inch lengths. Shell English peas, trim snap and snow peas (which ever you are using) and set at the ready.

If your water has come to a boil, salt it and add the pasta. For the last three minutes of cooking time for the pasta, add the asparagus.

4. Preheat a large saute pan over medium heat. To the hot pan add the olive oil, shallots, and peppers with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and two or three grinds (or pinches) of black pepper. When the peppers have softened, 4 to 5 minutes, add the wine and juice to the saute pan with the peas. Continue to cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes.

5.  Hopefully the pasta and asparagus will be ready as the liquid reduces in the saute pan.  Drain the pasta and asparagus. Give them a quick rinse in cold water.

6. Reduce the heat under the peppers. Add the orange zest and saffron soaking water to the peppers. Add the linguine and asparagus to the pan, toss with the vegetables.

7. Add the saffron butter to the vegetables. Gently heat the saffron butter with the pan juices to make a sauce for the linguine. Toss to coat the pasta.

8. Transfer to a serving platter. Grate Parmesan cheese over all and sprinkle with chive blossoms.

Good with Grilled Salmon Steaks

Somerville, Annie; Fields of Greens, page 121,Bantom Books, 1993

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