Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 46: Presidential Peas Please

We, The Mayne Gardeners...fancy ourselves "amateur historians" as well as "amateur gardeners". Of particular interest to us is the 3rd president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Not only is Jefferson the author of the Declaration of Independence, he was also an avid us.

Of all the vegetables in Jefferson's garden his favorite was the Pea. Throughout his life Jefferson took fastidious notes and he kept a detailed account of the many vegetables planted in his garden. According to the Massachusetts Historical Society "Peas are mentioned frequently, in fact, two-thirds of all the pages of the AGArden Book (44 of 66 pages) include Jefferson's notes about various types: frame peas, Hotspur peas, cowpeas, marrowpeas, blackeyed peas, and Prussian blue peas." 

Some historians believe Jefferson's interest in peas was more than just epicurean and actually sprouted (excuse the pun) from a local contest. The Monticello Association website states that Jefferson often particiapted in an annual contest "to see which farmer could bring to the table the first peas of the spring".

In honor of America's greatest founding father The Mayne Gardeners also planted peas. Truthfully, Jefferson wasn't our only motivation...the fact is we love to eat peas too. On many summer afternoons we've sat on our deck overlooking the Webhannet River shelling peas purchased from Chase Farm on Rt 9 in Wells and on many evenings gobbled them down at dinner. Funny thing though...we often found ourselves eating a large quantity of the raw bounty right from the pods while shelling.

If you look back at our Day 1 inventory post, you'll see we planted five pea plants, but in addition to this we also sowed three rows of pea seeds. Our 30'X3' planting bed limited us to one varity of snap pea, nothing compared to Jefferson's varietal indulgence.

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