Friday, September 23, 2011

Asparagus Pea

Last autumn I planted the seeds of the asparagus pea Tetragonolobus purpureus available from Erica Vale seeds. The seeds came up and grew slowly making little mounds of slightly furry green leaves. A few flowers appeared before winter set in and I picked half a dozen pods from about 6 plants. They stopped flowering over winter and I wondered how frost tolerant they were. They turned out to be very frost tolerant and they grew and grew and grew. Last week when I took these photos the plants had reached knee high and had spread twice that width. They were covered with their little maroon flowers and I was finally able to pick a bowl full of peas. I steamed them for a minutes and then doused them in butter and a little salt.

Now the big question is - did they taste like asparagus?!? I don't think so. In fact they didn't taste very much of anything at all! Would I grow them again? Probably not. I would need a lot more than 6 plants to produce enough for the family and the pods are very tricky to find amongst the foliage. Also they have to be picked when only 1 inch long (Gen Y read 2.5cm) any longer and they are tough and fibrous. Quite pretty though.
Here is a link to a website which talks about growing them in the Carribean where they appear to grow only 6 inches tall.

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