As a substitute for in-person programming, we’re offering a series of posts on starting a vegetable garden. This science-based information comes from the Seed to Supper program, developed by the Oregon Food Bank.
Along Oregon's North Coast, early spring is a good time to plant peas and carrots. Both are planted from seeds, not transplants. Besides tasting good when eaten together, peas and carrots make good companion plants.
"Suitable companions provide benefits
such as nitrogen fixation, production of invigorating exudates, repelling or trapping of
insect and other pests, and weed suppression among other benefits," says Leonard Githinji, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Sustainable and Urban Agriculture, Virginia State University.
In our region, carrots can be planted from January through June, and again in late summer for fall and winter harvests (in cool temperatures, carrots get sweeter as they grow). Peas can be planted from January to August.
Both are good candidates for succession planting. With succession planting, you plant a row or two every week or two in order. Succession planting provides for harvesting throughout the growing season so you aren't overwhelmed with too much of the same kind of vegetable all at once.
The harvest season for carrots planted in the spring is July through November. Harvest when carrots are at least one-half inch wise. You can brush dirt from the top of the carrot to check its width. Carrots become bitter and woody if they get too large; they may also split. To harvest carrots, hold leaves close to the root (the edible part) and wiggle. Loosen soil first to avoid breaking the root. If you use a trowel, work the soil away from the carrot to avoid slicing the root.
To store carrots, cut off the tops and store in a bag in the fridge for four to six months. Sliced in sticks, carrots make tasty, healthy snacks. Shredded, they make a nice addition to salads and baked goods such as carrot cake. Carrots can also be steamed, sauteed, and roasted.
Peas are harvested from May through July. You'll get the most mileage out of snap and sugar peas, which both have edible pods. Harvest snap peas when the pods begin to fill out. Harvest snow peas when the peas are just barely visible through the skin. In the height of the growing season, harvest every day or two so that the pods don't get woody and the peas too large. To harvest, hold the vine with one hand and gently pull the pod off the vine with the other.
In a bag in the fridge, peas will keep one to three weeks in the fridge. Peas with edible pods make great snacks. They also make a nice addition to stir fry dishes or seasoned and sauteed.
Here, a Food Hero recipe for Glazed Peas and Carrots.