As I walked my dog on this somewhat seasonally appropriate day in late January it crossed my mind that I’ll be preparing my garden for the upcoming growing season in about six weeks. Something I have always wanted to do but have never done is to take full advantage of those earliest gardening days of the season, when the March air is warm and the days are bright. This year I’ll make it a point to not just prepare the garden in early March but to also get growing as early as possible.
I can rely on the folks at All-America Selections to recommend the best-performing varieties of edibles (and annuals and perennials) through the organization’s AAS Winners program. For 2017 AAS has chosen a nice crop of new vegetable releases with at least one winner appropriate for early spring.
That winner is a variety of pea called Patio Pride. According to AAS’s description, Patio Pride grows in a habit that is appropriate for small spaces or even in containers—hence the word “patio” in the name. This compact plant produces sweet-tasting fruit within just 40 days. And with its tolerance of cold temperatures, Patio Pride can be either one of the earliest crops from the garden or even one of the last (especially for you southern gardeners).
What I like about Patio Pride—and why it’ll get some space in my garden—is that it is ideal for succession planting. That means I can directly sow Patio Pride seeds (3-4 per hole) every 6 inches each week for 3 to 4 weeks and have a consistent harvest of peas over time.
Another benefit of Patio Pride is what I mentioned earlier—that compact growing habit. It gets to be just 6-8 inches tall. That’s a great size for growing in a container on a patio, but it’s also a size that doesn’t require staking or trellising in the garden. That compact habit also means less mesh is required to e to prevent birds from nipping at the tender shoots before you get a chance to harvest. Sounds like a winning variety to me!