"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Harvesting Peas with Gimpy

With a little help from one of my trusty assistants "Gimpy" I began harvesting peas yesterday afternoon. Gimpy has a re-occurring leg injury and has been allowed to follow me around the gardens of late in order to get a little break from her mean sisters. She is also a member of a small party of "well behaved" chickens that are involved in my experimental currant fly/maggot eradication program. Currant flies emerge from the soil in April - May and lay their eggs in the fruit. When the fruit drops, the maggots enter the soil and so the vicious cycle begins anew. My thoughts are that if the chickens eat the fallen berries and any maggots that have already entered the soil it should help control the numbers of these nasty little bugs going forward.

Anyway, we harvested a nice little haul of Afilia peas and kale out of this bed and replanted more Afilia peas and fast maturing Roma bush beans in their place that will both hopefully be ready around the first part of September. I did leave a 6' section of peas at the far end of the bed to dry on the vine for next year's seed supply. While my bush peas have been planted, harvested, and replanted a small patch of our pretty purple podded pole peas (try saying that really fast) are just now in full bloom. With any luck the weather will be favorable for the next couple of months and another fine crop will be had.


Roasted Garlicious said...

my peas are just finishing, hadn't thought of replanting the spot with bush beans... am going to try that.. as for Gimpy, get well little chicky!!! eat up all those berries and get protein from the maggots... yummy yummy!!

Annie's Granny said...

pretty purple podded pole peas
petty purple potted pole pads
pitty poople padded pale pets

I give up

Diane@Peaceful Acres said...

You have a Gimpy too! Mine is Gimpy because I've stepped on her toes too many times....they do have a way of getting under my feet. Always anticipating a treat. I'm glad that Gimpy is helping with that pest problem. They are very good pest controllers.

Don't you just love pea blossoms? They are so beautiful. I'm hoping to get in another crop of green beans where I dug potatoes.

Geno said...

Oh how I love fresh peas!

Faith Kolean said...

Mr H, those peas look great.

Stefaneener said...

I really want to try those peas -- they sound perfect. Also, I love the idea of purple peas. What fun. It's nice to have some well-behaved hens. I wish I could train some to just eat Bermuda Grass!

Sense of Home said...

Sadly, something ate most of my peas down to a stubby size and they aren't producing. I was able to gather a handful today, but there will be no peas in the freezer for next winter.

It is a good thing we aren't trying to live off our small plot of land completely, we would never make it. We are trying to eat and preserve food, in season and from our region though.

AJK said...

I love your blog!!! You guys are what I strive to be. Someday....hehe

kitsapFG said...

Hurrah for peas and for well behaved hens! I have one hen in my group of six that is just a sweet heart. She wants to be held, hangs out with me, and because she is so well mannered, she get's to go into the big garden with me when all the other ladies are restricted to the back yard area adjoining my garden. She alone will not do that much damage to the bug population, but I enjoy her company (along with my cat Sid) in the garden.

I tried to do the tongue twister and ended up pretty much with what Annie's Granny typed out! LOL!

Heiko said...

I wish I could grow peas. I must experiment with different varieties, because different planting times don't do it either. Best regards to Gimpy. It's always good to give the dis-advantaged a chance to prove their worth! :) Loved that story!

Mr. H. said...

Roasted Garlicious - I was going to plant some more kale in that spot but remembered I had these wonderful Roma beans that I really enjoyed last year. They are predicting a nice September this year and I hope they are right as I could use a little gardening season extension for certain crops. Gimpy is a very happy little bird.:)

Annie's Granny - Good job on the tongue twister and thanks for making me laugh.:)

Diane - Pea blossoms certainly are a very pretty flower. I put them right up there with potato flowers which I really like because all the different varieties bloom at slightly different times.

The thing I forgot to mention about Gimpy is that she is also one of my finest laying hens...poor little thing.

Geno - Me to, fresh out of the pod or tossed into a salad.

Faith - Thanks, this is a good year for peas in our garden.

Stefaneener - I would be more than happy to send you some of each (peas not chickens) to plant if you are interested, I have a bunch, let me know?

Sense of Home - Patience, persistence, and perseverance is the name of the game when it comes to gardening. Unfortunately sometimes we only get one chance each year to make it happen. I hope that next season you have much better luck with your peas. I tried growing peas in our salad garden on year and they were eaten down to nothing just like yours, I think it was slugs that did them in.

AJK - Thanks, but please do strive to be better than us as we are not all that great. I have never been able to grow one of those beautiful Daikon radishes like you do. I'll trade you some of our luck with peas for yours with radishes.:)

Laura - I'm so glad to hear that I am not the only person that has both a cat and a chicken following them around in the garden. I was beginning to think perhaps I was a bit touched in the head. Whats that word...eccentric.:)

Heiko - Now I would have thought you had a good environment for growing a late or early crop of peas. Isn't it funny how we each have certain crops that just will not do well for us...with me it is radishes, rutabagas, and certain Asian greens.

Yes, we are thinking of setting up a work program for wayward chickens, girls only though...Roosters need not apply. The last thing we need is a lot of funny business going on under the currant bushes.:)

Anonymous said...

I did the same thing, sowed bush beans after puling peas.
I wish you success with the maggot eradication program. It does sound like it could work.

Robert said...

I couldn't get anywhere growing peas either till I realised the pigeons were getting them all. I start them in pots now, and itr works well. Another ploy was to cloche them until they got going properly. The other problem is mice but at least I don't get that one, as I always have rat poison down.

Joshua Levin said...


I hope you don’t mind me reaching out. I’m producing a film on Haiti's agricultural crisis and the grassroots sustainable ag-based recovery movement emerging there. I believe strongly that Haiti is an amazing test-case of the failed paradigms of the past, and we are making this film both to promote a new path for Haiti, as well as leverage this "teachable moment" for the world.

We're on Kickstarter, and we've produced an Intro Video which I think your audience would find appealing. The video is at www.handsthatfeed.com. An embeddable version from Vimeo is available at: http://vimeo.com/13301985. I would also love your guys’ feedback on the project if you have any.

Thank you,

Mr. H. said...

Vrtlarica - Let us hope that both of our bean crops do well. Between the beans and peas being grown there and adding to the soil it should be an excellent spot for my cabbages next year.

Even if the eradication program does not work at least the chickens are having a good time of it.:)

Robert - Pigeons in the garden would be a tough one. Our biggest problem is with slugs eating the new growth but so far that has not been an issue this season.

Joshua - I will certainly check out your websites.

LynnS said...

Gimpy is a lucky hen! There's no doubt that her foraging will cut down on the pest cycle for you. It's a shame we can't just point to what hens can and can't have and then turn them loose. All the bug problems would be solved! lol

Your pea harvest looks wonderful. I, too, enjoy the pea blossoms -- the Afilia bloom is a very pretty one with the 2 tones. I am heading out in just a bit to plant a double row of bush beans here(where the Alderman peas were pulled). Beans are one of the best replacement crops mid-summer, I think.

TTYL, Mr. Eccentric!

Mr. H. said...

Lynn - The nice thing about Gimpy is that she does not move very fast so it takes her some time to stray from her designated area.:)

Beans are normally a good succession crop for us too. We are supposed to have a very warm dry August and September so that should help...I hope so as my tomatoes will need it this year.

Frugilegus said...

Normally I visit your blog and just add to my list of things to grow. Now I want both pretty purple podded pole peas AND a Gimpy. You're a trouble-maker, Mr H.

Mr. H. said...

Frugilegus - I know, I know, so many things to grow so little time and space. I do rent chickens out so feel free to stop by and borrow her anytime.:)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Gimpy is like my favorite old hen, Henrietta. She follows me around and helps (and criticizes) me at every turn. Great work on using whatcha got to battle the bugs! Do you have ducks? Ours are the slugs biggest foes.

Mr. H. said...

Ohiofarmgirl - The hens are doing a good job at removing berries and bugs from under the bushes. I wish I had a duck or two to patrol the salad growing area for slugs though. Henrietta sounds like a handful.:)

Silke said...

Hi Mr. H., Those peas look delicious and the flowers so pretty! Congrats on your harvest!!

And thanks for your comment on my blog. We both love tarragon and do a lot of cooking with it. Some years ago, we (sort of) invented a salad made with rice, chicken, grapes, pistachios, tarragon, and a light vinaigrette dressing. So very good!!

I'm glad that your sister-in-law had a good time in GA. I hope it wasn't too hot and humid for her. We are having another heat advisory today...

Happy Friday! : ) Silke

Mr. H. said...

Happy Friday Silke,

The salad you described sounds yummy. I have never had pistachios in a salad before but then I had never tried cilantro in a salad until you mentioned it either.:)

Anonymous said...

Too funny, Gimpy! I had a Gimpy too but she sadly didn't make it (gimped from birth). Do you let your chickens into your main garden ever? I always used them (and the duck and goats) for fall clean up and spring clearing/weeding/prep work. I'll be very interested to know if Gimpy and friends do the job for you; sounds like solid logic at any rate!


Mr. H. said...

Hi Kristeva - I do let a few and sometimes all of the chickens into the gardens depending upon what is going on. We always have some sort of new seed started so it is not often that everyone gets to be in the main garden. Gimpy is easy to catch and slow to go where she is not supposed too though...lucky her.:)

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