When I stopped out at the garden the other day, I was very excited to see my peas starting to flower. This variety is called Kent Blue – it’s an heirloom variety that traces back to Kent, England, and has been grown there for over 70 years. (Thanks to SSE member OR ST A, who sent me the seeds)! It has flowers that start as a purple color, then turn to blue as they mature. From the purple color on the leaf axils and flowers, it’s evident that this variety caries the A gene which allows the plant to synthesize the anthocyanin pigment, which allows it to produce purple, red, and blue colors. It may be interesting to cross breed this variety with some of my other peas. I’ll post more photos as they continue to grow.
In the last few days, the never-ending winter weather has finally started to break. (Punxatawney Phil gets an F in meteorology this year!) With the warmer weather, I’ve been thinking a lot more about my garden. Two days ago, I was able to get out and plant seeds in my cold frame. I’m going to try to get an early start on Beets (Crapaudine), Carrots (Dragon), Lettuce (Spotted Aleppo), Radishes (Saxa 2), and Arugula. This is the first time I’ve planted in a cold frame, so I’m still learning. The last several nights we’ve had nighttime lows in the upper-20s, and daytime highs in the mid-50s with plenty of sun, so I’ve been stopping at the garden twice a day to open and close the cold frame, to keep it warm enough at night, but to make sure the germinating seeds don’t cook during the day.
The seeds that I started indoors (6 days ago now) are germinating! Here’s a couple of little tomato seedlings coming to life! These are Opalka tomatoes, which are supposed to be a very good processing variety. I’ve never grown them before. I’m hoping it’s a good year for tomatoes this year, and we don’t have problems again with late blight.
My Kale seedlings germinated within 4 days – super quick! Here are the Dwarf Curled Blue Scotch, and Lacinato kales. I was in the Home Depot today, and I was amazed to see that they were offering Lacinato transplants. Two years ago, I couldn’t find transplants anywhere. Last year, I found them in limited supply at a local nursery/CSA. It’s cool to see some of the heirloom varieties start to become more accessible, especially as more people plant gardens. The Dwarf Curled Blue Scotch is supposed to be hardy enough overwinter in Zones 4-5, so I’m hoping it will survive the winter here in Zone 6a. I’ve started to become more interested lately in season extension. I think this year I’ll try to get a late fall/early winter harvest of lettuce and green using my cold frame, and anything I can be harvesting in the winter is worth trying to grow.
I put up a rabbit fence today around my community garden plot, and I also planted peas. Here’s what I’m growing this year: Desiree Dwarf Blauwschokkers – a blue shelling pea, Sugar Snap, and Kent Blue – an English heirloom with beautiful blue flowers (grown as either a snow or a shelling pea). I’m going to do some crossbreeding between these varieties to see what I get.