Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How Much Does a Garden Grow? Spring Peas

Welcome to the first official installment of "How Much Does a Garden Grow?"

In mid-March, just before we headed off for a much-needed week in the subtropics, Mr. FC&G and I put up the pop-up greenhouse over the garden soil, let the soil warm up, and planted peas and carrots.  We returned to find pea sprouts, and we harvested peas all through June.

Today, I took down the pea vines.  I could have left them for a few more days and a few more pods, but they were getting woody, and besides, the cucumbers growing right beside them desperately need the trellis to grow up.  Peas were always intended to be a spring crop that would make way for the summer cukes.  Today, I realized the cukes were heading toward the squash and zucchini and reaching out their little tendrils, and I had to do something before I had menage-a-squash on my hands.

Upon doing the math, I realize that the peas were a much greater success than I expected.  At one point, I was afraid that it would be a better economic deal to just eat the pea seeds from the pack rather than go to the trouble of growing them, but I was quite wrong.

I planted about two-thirds of a pack of Sugar Bon peas, for which I paid $3.25.  From that, I harvested 3.18 pounds of peas, which we ate both as young pods and mature peas.  I could have upped my poundage by letting them all mature, but the pleasure of peas comes from munching them in both forms.

In the first part of the season, I could find Sugar Snap peas at Meijer for $2.49 a pound.  I could not find an organic version when I looked, nor did I see any readily displayed at the farmers' markets when I went.  So, had I wanted to purchase 3.18 pounds of peas this year, I would have paid $7.94 for them, and I would not have had an organic option that I could easily find.

Subtract the cost of my seeds (which I will plant the remainder of this fall, but I will subtract the full cost because I could not buy a partial pack), and I saved $4.69 by growing peas myself. 

Mr. FC&G just breezed by and commented that the peas also netted us "sanity," by which he means that he could start throwing me in the greenhouse barefoot when I became moody a good month or two earlier than usual.  He is also correct in pointing out that we would not have purchased peas at all, so growing our own enticed us to consume additional nutrients and fiber. 

The Analysis

Fast:  As long as you warm the soil for germination, peas are a fast-growing crop, and easy to grow.

Cheap:  As you see above, a $4.69 savings resulted.

Good:  Fiber, nutrients, and yummy spring goodness. 

2011 Tally to Date:  3.18 lbs of crops; $4.69 saved
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