P is for peas

written by Becky Lewis, Seed teacher emeritus

The same precious hands that cradled pea seeds when my 1st/2nd graders planted them reached out for the harvest of those seeds. A warm feeling zoomed through my heart as I watched children munch organic peas from their individual gardens, and from our whole class garden. Children shared peas with their classmates who did not have any growing yet, and sometimes they stuck pea pods into their lunch boxes to share with family.

The children were very protective of their pea plants. One day I overheard a child say, “ Oh no, my pea plant has a lot of little holes in it. A caterpillar must be doing that.” Together we closely inspected the plant.  About two inches from the leaves we found a tiny green inchworm that was about one-fourth of an inch long. The same child asked, “How could a tiny inchworm like that make all of those holes?” I said, “Well it is amazing, but it did!” Another child heard us talking about it and said, “ It better not make a straight path to my pea plant right over there.”  Some children were concerned that their pea plants were falling down low to the ground so we tied them up with yarn to metal stakes. This kind of care was so genuine, and unique to each child as they cared for their plants.

As a child, my family always had a garden. Sometimes for lunch we had cooked peas on toast with warm milk over it. I loved it as a child even though it doesn’t turn me on now. Growing vegetables helped us put food on our table.  Sometimes I would help my mother shell the peas, and she would say this little poem that I really enjoyed:

I Eat My Peas with Honey

by Anonymous

I eat my peas with honey;
I’ve done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on the knife.

I sometimes recited this poem as the children ate their peas.  At the end of the growing season the children reluctantly pulled out their plants over a span of about two weeks. I remember one boy in particular who kept saying, “Please wait for just one more day!” He would inspect his plant closely to see if there was one more pod left. He ended up being the last child to pull out his plant that year.

I recently learned that one cup of peas has 8 grams of protein — more protein than one egg (6 g) or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (4 g). The protein itself is high quality. The little green peas provide nearly one-third of your recommended daily allowance for fiber, so they give any meal or snack staying power; so remember to eat your peas!
For more information about peas, check out this article:  Better Homes and Garden, May 2015   BHG.com.