A few weeks ago I blogged about planting peas from a 5 lb bag of organic whole dried green peas that I purchased at the health food store last winter. I bought them to sprout for salad but didn’t really like the flavor of the sprouts. I’ve been rehydrating them and eating them like raw peas, which isn’t too bad. I also made mushy peas with them and that was good. So I decided to put some in the garden and see how the unknown, mystery peas developed.
Well, I’m amazed! These are the strangest peas ever! They started out as normal sprouts, but then began sending out extraordinary amounts of tendrils. They didn’t make any leaves at all until they were almost a foot tall! Just huge amounts of tendrils. The poor things looked so desperate for something to grab on to that I ran strings on poles. They grappled on and kept reaching for the sun. In late June, these crazy peas started to bloom. They had lovely creamy-white flowers in profusion. Soon baby pea pods formed. Still the plants climbed and produced profusions of tendrils. I opened a couple half-ripe pods yesterday and the peas are delicious. The plants are covered with pods and still making flowers.
I did a little research and discovered these are a new type of pea called hypertendril (good name!) They are a natural hybrid developed from a mutation called parsley peas. The benefits of the hypertendril mutation are, among others, the peas don’t require trellis support, they hold each other up, and the lack of leaves increases airflow to prevent mildew and other diseases. They are also heavy producers and easy to harvest. What a surprise for me! I had never heard of hypertendril peas.
This variety is pretty amazing. The minor support from the stakes and strings has made a wall of peas with pods hanging on both sides that are very easy to see and pick. But as a sprout pea, hypertenrils are certainly not the right choice since they have hardly any leaves. I serendipitously stumbled onto this type of pea and am glad of it. There is a variety of hypertendril called magnolia blossom that has gorgeous pink and purple flowers. Next year I’m going to try them in the garden.