This week on the podcast I'm joined by guest expert, Rod Lamborn. Rod is the son of the well known plant breeder, Dr. Calvin Lamborn, who's also known as the Father of the Sugar Snap Pea. I'm sorry to say that Calvin passed away this past year, but it's an honor to have Rod here to share with us a little bit about his father's legacy and the future of the Sugar Snap Pea.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- How the Sugar Snap Pea came to be
- A basic overview of how pea breeding works
- Transplanting onions into the garden
- Sugar Snap Peas originated as a cross between Mammoth Snow Pea and mutant shelling pea. It took 10 years of selective breeding, before the sugar snap pea made its public appearance.
- Over the past few years, as more and more distributors sell Sugar Snap Pea seed, the stock has started to become less and less consistent. Rouge pods that have the qualities of the parent plant are starting to become more and more common. You can see this in the in the photo of a planting of Sugar Snap Peas at the top of the page, where many rouge pods look more like snow peas.
- PVP: This term gets thrown around a lot in the podcast and I forgot to define it on the recording. Basically, PVP provides intellectual property protection to breeders of new varieties of seeds and tubers. For more info, check out the USDA website.
- Hilary's favorite pea varieties include:
- Sugar Ann: although not as productive as Sugar Snap, this snap pea shares many of the same qualities when it comes to pod shape, size, texture and sweetness. Sugar Ann's are a bushing variety and do not require a trellis, making them a great option for a container garden. They will require some amount of staking to keep the plants upright.
- Royal Snow Pea: A pretty purple podded snow pea. I like to plant a handful of these alongside my Oregon Giant snow peas to add a little color to my summer salads.
- Oregon Giant Snow Pea: The most productive snow pea, in my opinion. Large, sweet pods.
- Maestro Shelling Pea: A reliable shelling pea that offers multiple harvests. Takes about 11 days longer than Strike shelling pea, which I often plant first thing in the season in front of my Sugar Snap and Snow peas, but does offer a slightly longer harvest period.
- Strike Shelling Pea: A productive, short season pea that produces in about 50 days. The harvested pods are small-medium but the peas are sweet!
- For instructions on growing peas, see the following archived blog posts:
The following photos are two of the pea varieties that Rod and Magic Seed are currently breeding: “speckled snow pea” (Left), is a variegated yellow and maroon snow pea. The bloom photo (Right) is an experimental variety for bloom production.
Left to right: Strike Shelling peas growing in front of Sugar Snap and Snow. The shelling peas will be harvested and removed before the taller peas reach maturity; Oregon Giant snow peas; Strike shelling peas.
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More about this weeks guest expert:
Rod Lamborn is the son of Dr. Calvin Lamborn (pictured below), well known plant breeder and the man behind the well-loved garden pea, Sugar Snap. Rod took over the family business when his dad passed away in 2017.
When it comes to summarizing Calvin's work, the website for his family business, Magic Seed Company, does it best:
"When it comes to all things Snap Pea, that seed starts with Dr. Calvin Lamborn, known as the father of the Snap Pea.
As a young breeder, with a PHD in plant virology and a keen curiosity that led him to cross a rogue garden pea with a snow pea - Calvin Lamborn created the seed for what we now know and love as the Snap Pea.
Since then, Calvin's Peas have earned prestigious honors and awards in the trade as well as acclaim from top chefs in the country.
Calvin's techniques are traditional (non-GMO) plant breeding. And seeds like his are the sparks that have ignited the farmers market and farm to table restaurant movements."
About the Host:
Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food.