Back to Basics

The best of the best from the 2011 OG Test Gardens.

By Doug Hall

Photography by Christa Neu


oregon giant snow peaSnow Pea

‘Oregon Giant’

We found ourselves snacking on these right off the waist-high vines. If any of the harvest makes it into the kitchen, the sweet and crunchy pods are tasty in stir-fries and salads or lightly steamed.

Seed Source: Nichols Garden Nursery

Growing tip: Pea plants are floppy and need some support. Kathy Shaw, our test gardener in Neenah, Wisconsin, uses straight 4-foot sticks—usually shrub or tree prunings—to weave simple pea trellises in place. “I love the look of the woven pea trellis, since it reminds me of Colonial gardens and makes me feel in tune with gardeners over the centuries,” Kathy says. She sows her peas in a double row 6 inches wide, then pokes the sticks down the center of the row to form the trellis. “I arrange the sticks diagonally in both directions about 3 to 6 inches apart, making overlapping Xs and weaving them back and forth.”

Keep reading: The Best Heirloom Varieties from the 2011 Test Garden