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North Jersey gardeners experience a bumper crop of peas

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Zone Six gardeners who planted sweet peas this spring should be looking forward to bringing them to the table any day now. Some may already have harvested.

Although this gardening season has been a tough one thus far, coming on the heels of a late running brutal winter, there has been an upside. Some cold weather crops have responded very well. Kale would be one such, and peas, as you can see from a picture of a portion of pea patch in West Milford, New Jersey, are another.

Whether boiled or steamed as a side dish, with butter, salt or a cream sauce or used in stews or pot roast or best of all as a component in a chicken pot pie, fresh peas are simply delicious. And of course those lucky enough to have a super pea crop can freeze or can them for later use.

Peas have some almost unknown health benefits as well, including phytonutrients indicated to be potent cancer fighters. Coumestrol is shown to be effective at dealing with stomach cancer, for example, and peas are simply loaded with this beneficial compound.

Anti inflammatories and antioxidants are well represented as is a substance almost unique to peas called saponins which show a profound ability to counter diabetes.

Did you miss the opportunity to plant this tasty, healthful veggie this spring? Cheer up you have another opportunity coming up. Peas make a great fall crop as well.

Simply find out the average first frost date in your area. Determine the days to maturity for your chosen variety of peas and then count backwards from that date, and add 10 days. Plant on and around that date and you'll be enjoying fresh sweet peas before the snow flies.

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