Sometimes you plant out humdrum seed like the stalwart but common Lincoln and you get a surprise. In this case, I got a variegated pea. I had planted these on my window sill to get pea sprouts so wasn’t prepared when something unusual appeared. The plant eeked along in the weak window sun until a single pod developed and set seed.
Now I wasn’t expecting this trait to passed down. Afterall, I had read that it was likely a chimera – two genetic lines (one without chlorophyll) intermingling and expressing in the plant – but the second generation had a percentage that was also variegated.
What happened next was I failed to properly label my seeds. When I teach seed saving, there are two points, I try to drive home (well three – all saving is selection) and they are 1) most seed needs to be dry for storage and 2) label. In fact, make notes. Put those notes right on the seed package. So how could I fail to label? I’m embarrassed to say that it was not the first time nor the last. Perhaps I thought I’d remember that those wrinkled green peas were the special ones. So the next year, when I thought I sowed them out, I saw only green and figured it was gone.
Low and behold, I discovered a jar of unlabelled packs of pea seeds two years later (um yes a whole jar full of different packages of different peas with no labels...). I sowed them. About a month later, a friend and I were walking through the garden when she leans down and says, “look at that.”
And there it was, appearing from seed in the third generation. The variegated pea had returned. It’s not something I’m likely to be able to offer as it takes a while to increase but it sure is fun to grow.
All about growing, selecting and using edible plants in the Ottawa valley.