Monday, 10 May 2010

Impossibly beautiful - the asparagus pea

Have you heard of it?
Almost certainly you won't have seen it in the supermarkets.
Apparently it's a pea plant, with pods that are eaten whole when about 3-5cm long and it tastes like asparagus. Ticking lots of boxes for me so far, plus it has lovely red flowers. So where's the catch? Is it difficult to grow? Is it, frankly, disgusting?
Certainly it's nothing new - my ancient copy of Peter Seabrook's great veg growing almanac refers to it as a standard veg alongside all other peas.
Curiosity and optimism won the day for me and I sowed some seeds in March.

Here is one today ready for planting out about 8 weeks after sowing - doesn't it look just gorgeous? Like a sort of botanical snowflake.
And this is what it should look like in a few weeks time.

It's now the perfect time to sow direct outdoors so why don't you give it a go? It likes an open sunny spot with light soil - perfect for growing in our Willow Planters - and it doesn't need much by way of support as it grows in a bushy form.
I'll tell you what it tastes like in due course.

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