Kitchen Gardening

Undercover Peas

Some vegetables enjoy a shady spot as much as gardeners do. Here’s an ideas for keeping cool-season crops undercover to help extend the season.

A simple cover helps extend the season for snow peas.
Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey

One of the gardening tasks on the typical June to-do list is to pull up cool-season plants before they start to bolt and toss them on the compost pile. 

This is something I’d usually do, but this season the peas are still going strong.

In April I planted snow peas from Ferry-Morse’s Taste of Asia vegetable line in a large container that sits near the vegetable garden. To protect the sprouts from birds, squirrels, and other critters that might nibble at them, I covered the container with a large piece of row cover.

Once the plants started to grow, I added a tall, triangular trellis to the inside of the container and refastened the row cover to provide protection from cool spring weather that suddenly turned unseasonably hot.

The snow peas started producing flat pods in May and they haven’t stopped since. I’ve used them in stir fry recipes and have also quickly steamed them as both a hot side dish and a crunchy, chilled addition to salads.

The plants are still producing and I’m sure it’s because they’re staying cool undercover. My attempt to extend the season for snow peas reminds me of another Denver vegetable gardener’s extra efforts.

Last year I described how Kathy Corbett created an ingenious shade to keep her lettuce bed cool during hot weather in a blog post called “Lettuce Grow All Summer Long.”

Kathy built the lettuce shade out of recycled materials and an old sheet. She said the shade helped keep her lettuce cool during hot summer weather in her Zone 5 garden.

I plan to keep the snow peas undercover to see how long they’ll keep growing. If I can keep harvesting peas during 100-degree weather, I’ll have it made in the shade.

Have you had success growing cool-season vegetables in summer? Please share your gardening tips here.

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