Monday, May 18, 2009

Great Companions: Wheat & Peas

The winter wheat and peas I bought from Native Seed SEARCH have done really really well. I planted them in late spring, way after the guides said I should, just because I was excited and didn't want to wait 7 months.

(click on pic for larger image)

Well, somehow, despite them being winter crops, it has worked out pretty good, with the wheat now maturing on the stalk and even the peas surviving in full sun, long after all the other peas and grasses have totally burned up. The trick, without a doubt, was intensive planting, and the surprising companion relationship between the peas and wheat. Being local varieties has probably helped as well.

The wheat stalks have provided a perfect scafolding for the peas to latch on to and grow with. As well as providing some nice shade so the ground stays moist and cool.

To top it all off, this is on totally unimproved Arizona soil. I added absolutely zero fertilizer for this bed, no bonemeal, no bloodmeal, nothin'! It was just a test patch, but it has turned into a great lesson on local varieties, companions, and intensive methods. Next time I will more carefully balance the peas to wheat ratio, plant earlier, and fertilize, and I can't wait to see the results.

(click on pic for larger image)


  1. It is an interesting combo. I'm really surprised the two would do as well as they have for you, planted when you did. It seems things that come from Native Seed just naturally do well where regular varieties fail.

  2. Yeah, it was a great surprise! My amaranth from N.S. was junk, but oh well....