Growing Peas in Georgia

I planted pea seeds of several different types this year- Snow Peas, Oregon Sugar Pod, Sugar Daddy, and Super Sugar Snap Peas, in Raised Organic Garden Bed #2, on March 2nd, 2018-

The Snow Peas produced the best this time. I harvested the 1st peas on May 10th. It was 69 days till harvest, and the packages said 68. Even with the weather being so dry and warmer than usual, they still produced a gallon size freezer bag full so far. The snow peas produced a few more pods over the last weeks of May, but very few compared to earlier in the season.

I harvested Snow Peas that I planted from seeds sold by Lake Valley Seed Company.  Every other day or so over a couple weeks I harvested pods, and added them to a freezer bag in the fridge crisper, lying on a paper towel. Then, I blanched them for about 2 minutes, drained, and put in the freezer.

Then, I ate them a few weeks later, because I could’t resist. They stayed so vibrantly green, and sweet and tasty! Love them!

I had a huge slug infestation this year; I spent a great deal of time cursing & pulling slugs off my plants-mostly the peppers and peas, but there were still plenty left for us to enjoy. It was extremely wet the last few months, and the slugs seemed to have moved on now because of the drier, warmer conditions.

I knew nothing of the history of peas. Turns out they are the longest cultivated crop in history! I found some very useful info about the history of peas at

The New World Encyclopedia.org.

GA Native: Dwarf Crested Iris ‘Iris Cristata’

This native Iris, Iris Cristata came from the Night Song Native Plant Nursery plant sale, in Spring 2017. I thought it died last summer, but it came back early this Spring and bloomed two times!

I placed the rhizome on top of a ridge of dirt at the front of the bulb bed, sandwiched between the huge 2-3 foot tall bearded Irises. The Iris Cristata is super tiny, at about 6-10 inches tall.

The Georgia Native Plant Society is a great resource for information on Georgia’s native plants.

2018, GA, Zone 7b, Iris Cristata
Picture from last week. Only about 6-8 inches tall. Lots of new growth since blooming

I have a few new posts in the works about the new 3rd raised garden bed, and all the plants and herbs I am growing this year. Also, a great post to come soon about the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I was super excited to visit the gardens there for the first time, on May 5th, 2018.

Georgia Trees & Shrubs – Pruning & Maintenance 2018

Crabapple –

My husband & I pruned heavily with the new polesaw, in Spring 2017. The Crabapple has filled out beautifully since the great pruning, and the smaller size and shaping fits the front of the house much better. 

I identified this crabapple tree as a Centurion variety. Thanks mostly to the Colorado State University Extension Crabapple Identification page & Southern Living. I also looked at pics online. I didn’t know there are so many different varieties.

Abelia- 

Prune twice per year. First prune heavily in early Spring & then again in late Summer if necessary to shape prune. They smell so good, probably due to being related to honeysuckle. I love, love this shrub. Blooms from May til frost!

Dave’s Garden gives more details about this gorgeous plant.

Gardenia-

Only bloom on Old Wood, so I usually prune lightly in the Spring before blooms emerge in May. I don’t have the heart to cut the beautiful, fragrant flowers while they are open. I prune after it blooms, if not before.

Gardenia

I pruned the huge gardenia last week finally -early May 2018. See pic below. No blooms yet, and lots of fill in growing to do this season. It will help stimulate new growth and make a healthier shrub in the future.

Zone 7b, Georgia, Gardenia
After the great pruning. Looks a little sparse, but will fill in.

Loropetalum-

I prune every few years as needed in the early Spring. I pruned heavily in early March of 2018, but it is still very big, and has crossing branches. This shrub needs a major cut back again either later this year or next spring, maybe both.

Loropetalum March 2018 Before pruning, currently blooming

This post by Walter Reeves on pruning Loropetalum makes me laugh about the “needs little pruning” statement. Mine always has a natural look, especially now immediately after pruning, but I would like a more rounded appearance eventually.

Tools used: Long Pole Saw, Long Handled Loppers, Hedge Trimmers, Greenworks Chainsaw- this is new, and awesome. Quiet & No Gas & Powerful.

2018 Delaware Valley White Azalea. Not a native azalea, but beautiful!

I didn’t prune this azalea this year, but included it because it was spectacular this Spring. I will posts pics and details soon about all the great Native Plants I have planted in my landscape the last few years, like the Native Azaleas & Oakleaf Hydrangea. I love the Georgia Native Plant Society’s website for information on Georgia Native Plants. Also Raised Beds, Seeds, and 2018 Garden post to follow soon!

Oct-Dec & still gardening! Peppers & Peas Please

It was warmer than usual, longer than usual in fall of 2017. I harvested peppers and peas until Dec. 8th. It was a great garden year, and it was fun trying new seeds and plants for the first time. New garden beds, seeds, plants, and new adventures to follow for 2018!

Peppers everywhere this year! I grew Tabasco peppers and Early Jalapenos from seed, from Lake Valley Seed Company. The Tabascos took a long time, but we had many, many Jalapenos all year long!

I harvested green bells, orange baby bells, and absolutely no Poblanos. The Poblano bloomed many times, but no peppers.

Beautiful Pea Bloom

My first time growing peas, and I planted late Sept/early Oct. It was hot all fall, so they had trouble getting started, but continued to produce peas until December.

I grew two varieties of Burpee brand peas from seed for the first time- Sugar Daddy and Super Sugar Snap. I learned about the types of peas, Snap vs. Garden. With Garden Peas, the peas inside the pod are the edible part, and you discard the pod. Snap Peas have tender, edible pods. The peas are tiny and tender, and you eat the whole thing pod and all!

I have a small, metal frame greenhouse on the porch for the first time this winter. I put plants from the raised beds in the greenhouse before the first frost, and everything is still alive.  My next post will be about the greenhouse, and the new seeds I’m planting for my 2018 garden!

GA Native Oakleaf Hydrangea, ‘Hydrangea Quercifolia’

I found this Georgia native plant at the Spring 2017 Night Song Native Plant Nursery plant sale. This is the second year I’ve gone to the plant sale/open house/farmer’s market in Cherokee County, Georgia. Night Song’s Fall Open House & Market is November 18th, 2017.

I finally put the Oakleaf Hydrangea in the ground a few weeks ago. This post focuses on the challenges and triumphs of the process-including finding the right location, extreme summer drought and heat, and a little history of the plant.

I have written about William Bartram in previous posts, like my Finding Buffalo Creek project. He was the first to “discover”, and write about the Hydrangea Quercifolia (and many other native plants), in the 1700’s. I also wrote previously about another of the Bartram plants I brought home last year, one of them is known as the Ben Franklin Tree, aka ‘Franklinia Altamaha’.

The Official Site of the Bartram Trail Conference Library page provides further reading links on John and William Bartram. I also consulted the Georgia Native Plant Society.

Today, and the plant already looks greener! Hoping it will acclimate before it gets colder, and be back next year bigger and better.

I am excited to see what happens with this beautiful native plant. Fingers crossed the deer don’t find it there, and that it makes it through the winter into next season. Maybe it will bloom next year. Also, I think the leaves should change from green to red this fall-which hasn’t happened yet. Looking forward to changes, and new growth in the future!

Organic Herbs & Vegetables, August-September

I will update info and add links on all plants grown this year soon. Here are some pics, and a few details, on the garden happenings the last few months. Whew! Too busy to write much now, but check back soon. I welcome any southeastern gardener’s input, or anyone’s thoughts at all. Thanks!

3rd amazing Basil harvest this year, at least! My husband & I made this & some other herbs & ingredients into my first homegrown, homemade pesto later that week.

But wait … there’s more!

We used almonds instead of pine nuts in the pesto, and it was incredible. I gave it away as a gift, but had some left over. It was one of the most flavorful and delightful mixtures I have ever tasted. Using many fresh herbs from my garden including Basil, Rosemary, Parsley, and Oregano makes me happy. Yay!

Raised Beds, June-August 2017

I will post details on all 2017 plants soon. I am so busy with the gardening work, I haven’t had time to write much. What an exciting garden year!

August brought lots of harvests, and I planted a bunch of new seeds. I will post details about each very soon. I even canned some cucumber and jalapeno pickles for the first time this year.

I am working on a cool season garden for the first time this year with cabbages, lettuces, radishes, pumpkins, mustard greens, peas, and various herbs. I will post soon about those endeavors.

Wildflowers @ Panther Creek

My husband Hal and I chose an amazing day to go on the 7 mile round-trip hike to Panther Creek Falls. We hiked the moderately difficult trail at the mid/end of May 2017. It was 90 degrees that day, but deep in the woods by Panther Creek, the air was significantly cooler and mostly shady. I took pictures of the many azaleas, mountain laurels, and unidentified wildflowers along the path.

Snow white Mountain Laurel growing alongside Panther Creek Falls in Northeast Georgia May 2017
Mountain Laurel

I found many flowers blooming- too numerous to go into detail about each one, in this post. Below is a photo gallery of some of the flowers I identified with a brief description for now. I will talk more about each of these incredible native plants in later posts.

pink native Azalea growing by Panther Creek in northeast Georgia May 2017
Pink native Azalea

Panther Creek Falls

I went to Panther Creek Falls once about twenty years ago, but this time was truly an unforgettable experience. The first time I visited, I was just getting started on my nature observation and writing journey.  I had no idea then how much I would learn about the ecology, native plants, and ecosystems of this beautiful state. I am thankful to be able to enjoy the natural beauty here. My pictures don’t quite capture the scale or grandeur of the awe inspiring scene. Seeing the falls in person again was special, and worth the hike.

Seeds & Raised Beds 2017

I planted a multitude of seeds this year. I am amazed how many herbs and veggies fit in the two 3′ x 8′ raised, organic garden beds. We will see what survives & thrives in 2017.

Herbs grown from seed:

Parsley, Marjoram, Thyme, Lovage, Basil, Coriander/Cilantro, Catnip, Chamomile, Anise, Summer Savory, & Chives

April 2- the first round of seeds, in shade for a week to acclimate to outside

Veggies:

Peppers-Jalapeno, Tabasco grown from seed. I bought a Poblano (which the deer immediately destroyed), a Green Bell, & an Orange Baby Bell pepper.

Tomatoes: Cherry, Yellow Pear, Early Girl-from seed

Cucumbers-Pickling & Bush Beans- from seed

I started the 1st round of seeds indoors in early March- a few weeks later than usual. Those seeds became the plants above- pic taken before planting in the raised beds in mid April!

April 20th– (a little later than I like) I transplanted the first round, after prepping the beds. I also added a second round of new seeds directly to the soil. The Rosemary, Oregano, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, and Parsley survived the winter.

I added a second round of transplants and seeds in early May. Directly sowed more cucumber, bush beans & more tomato seeds.  I added my organic, homemade compost from the Earth Machine, mushroom compost,  organic pine bark mulch, and native clay soil to both beds.

This year, I have an infestation of what we call tater or pill bugs, (but they have many names). So far, they’ve only munched my cucumber leaves a little. I will leave them alone, as they don’t seem to be doing much harm. They are very interesting creatures, notable for their ability to clean heavy metals from soil.