The Peculiar Purple-Podded Pea

No one who has read my blogs will be at all surprised to learn that I am interested in old varieties of vegetables. With these you should be able to get a real taste of the past. So when, last year, I found a stall at our county show which sold, amongst other things, some old varieties of pea. I was immediately attracted to the Purple-Podded Pea as I remembered reading about it in one of my old gardening books. I naturally bought a packet, and managed to grow a few plants (two in fact after a disaster with my propagator and a gale!).

I was curious to see what they were like, as the two books I had, that mentioned the variety, gave completely different opinions on the plants quality.

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William Robinson, in his magisterial The Vegetable Garden of 1905, a companion volume to his well known English Flower Garden, considers that the Purple-Podded Pea is;

A curious but not very useful variety, with dark purple-coloured pods. The seed is large, grey-green, becoming brown when cooked, which lessens its value for table use.

On the other hand Eleanour Sinclair Rhode in her Uncommon Vegetables of 1943 holds that;

This is a very old variety and an excellent one. This is not merely my opinion, but apparently that of many of my customers, for I notice that the same people order it year after year. It is tall growing, quite six feet, with purple flowers and pods, and is very prolific.

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So what do I thing, Mr Robinson or Miss Rhode. It is certainly tall, the pods are purple and the few peas that I have tried taste fine. However I will not have enough to cook for  a meal this year. So I will let most of the pods ripen, collect the seed and try again next year.


Filed under Historical Reconstructions

4 responses to “The Peculiar Purple-Podded Pea

  1. If I can get enough seeds from the plants, you can certainly have some.


  2. Autism Mom

    They are really lovely! I wonder if I could grow them where I live… hmmmm.


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