Pea Plants on the Playground, Spring 2017

To kick off our spring outdoor education season at JF Burns Elementary, we started a plant race by sowing “Pea Plants on the Playground” along the chain link fence in the “Sunflower Row” playground garden this week.

pea plants on the playground pic 2017

I chose a different variety for each grade level so the students can compare and contrast once things get growing.

(K) Sugar Snap Peas: Juicy, tender pods. Can be shelled to use alone or left in pods to be eaten together. Raw, snapped pods are excellent in salads. 8-12 days to germination (3/17-3/21). 62-70 days to harvest (5/10-5/18).

(1st) “Wando” Peas: Heat and drought tolerant. Dark green pods, blunt and well-filled with 6-8 medium sized peas. 8-12 days to germination (3/17-3/21). 68 days to harvest (5/16).

(2nd) “Little Marvel” Peas: Popular pea for home garden. Vines, 18 inches long, produce a profusion of pods about three inches long. Tender and sweet. Excellent for quick-freezing. 8-12 days to germination (3/17-3/21). 59-63 days to harvest (5/7-5/11).

(3rd) “Oregon Sugar Pod” Peas: Heavy yields of 4” long, plat, sweet pods, Tasty in stir fry or raw. Resistant to powdery mildew and common wilt. Freezes well. 8-12 days to germination (3/17-3/21). 65-68 days to harvest 5/13-5/16).

(4th) “Early Perfection” Peas: Excellent for short spring areas or poor soil. Pods are filled with 7 to 8 sweet peas. 8-12 days to germination (3/17-3/21). 66 days to harvest (5/14).

pea varieties.png
Each classroom was given one plant (we planted a few per class and we will come back and leave the strongest one and remove the others in a few weeks). The classroom teachers can use the plants however they’d like; some ideas would be to make predictions about the different varieties (which will get the tallest, which will produce the most pods, which will have the earliest harvest), measure and record growth of the plants, keep observation journals with students about how the plants are changing from week to week, research the nutritional value of peas and how they’re used in dishes around the world, draw pictures of the different plants, etc., or simply enjoy some pretty green plants where there used to be an ugly fence. 🙂 When the plants produce pods, teachers are welcome to have their kids pick them!

Want to learn more?

A few students were concerned that the cold snap predicted for the next few days will affect our plants. This is a great observation! Fortunately, peas are a cold-weather crop that can withstand variations in temperature like the ones we can expect this time of year. As long as the soil temp stays around 45 degrees F, they’ll be completely fine. (It was around 50 degrees F yesterday.) Many times students are surprised to discover the soil temps stay relatively steady, regardless of how much the air temps fluctuate!

 

~Shannon

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