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August 4th, 2011

A Twig Fence for Peas

kathy_tnThis spring I planted ‘Oregon Giant’ and ‘Super Sugar Snap’ peas on woven “fences” made using the long, straight sprouts from box elder stumps. I love finding uses for cutting down these weedy trees and this gives me the opportunity to cut more stump sprouts (and apple tree water sprouts) every year. I cut the sprouts in lengths of about 4 feet and shove about 6 inches or so into the soil. I arrange them diagonally in both directions about 3 to 6 inches apart, making overlapping X’s and weaving them back and forth. Just make sure you put the top end into the ground or they may actually re-root. Once the fence is set up, the tops can be trimmed to even it out if wanted.

pea-trellis

This photo was taken in spring, but I’ll be using the same technique when I plant my fall peas. I think we got 3 pounds of pea pods and almost a pound of shelled peas from the 10-foot double row of ‘Oregon Giant’ peas. Yum!  —Kathy Shaw, Neenah, Wisconsin

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January 12th, 2011

Lizards: Snail Exterminators

We usually have a hard time with peas down here in Florida. They just like it too cool for an extended period. Aren’t they one of the first things you far-north gardeners plant? When I got the first cold snap of the winter, I planted the ‘Magnolia Blossom’ snap peas that the rest of the Test Gardeners trialed last spring. Needless to say, they loved it. Great germination, still growing steadily. Some have had a bit of snail damage, and here’s the reason: My usual snail control is our great population of snakes, toads, and agama lizards. They apparently took a cruise to the Caribbean during the December cold spell, but they’re back working now. Andres Mejides, Homestead, Florida

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