Vegetables on the plots at Green Lane have developed all manner of strange growing habits this year (2008) – mainly strange shaped leaves courtesy of the heaps of manure suspected to be laced with hormonal herbicide residue that we unwittingly spread on our soil.
You could be forgiven for thinking our peas had also fallen victim and had, had their hormones interfered with in some bizarre way. It’s not their shape though that is out of the ordinary but the colour. People generally expect their tomatoes and beetroot to be red, their carrots to be orange, and their peas to be green. Not on our plot! We have yellow carrots, white and yellow beetroot, all manner of coloured tomatoes and peas in purple pods.
A couple of years ago we visited an ornamental kitchen garden where we first came across the old fashioned purple podded pea. Apparently in dates back to the beginning of the last century. As we wanted to try and make our plot ornamental as well as functional we decided to give purple podded peas a try. Not only does it have purple pods but the flowers are also purple and could be (and has been by visitors to our plot) mistaken for a perennial sweet pea or lathyrus.
It grows taller than many other pea varieties – about six feet, and therefore is susceptibly to strong winds and needs adequate support.
Although the last time we grew them the flowers and peas were all purple this year the flowers have been variable with different shades of purple and some even white. Some plants this year have also produced green rather than purple pods.
The purple colouring actually comes off on hands when podding them and the peas themselves are a paler green than those of their green podded cousins and not really as sweet and tender as green peas so they will probably be used for soups and stews. However, they make an interesting addition to an ornamental vegetable garden.
Purple podded peas are available from Robinsons Seeds click here
What about trying other coloured vegetables such as the ones below?