When you first think of winter greens, Austrian Winter Peas may not be first on your list. Spinach, kale, and arugula are usually the first hardy greens you think of that can handle lower temperatures (and without any protection).
However, Austrian winter peas are a great vegetable to add your garden.
They are sweet and delicious with a similar taste to snap peas, but have soft-leafy texture. They are a great addition to your salad that will pack extra nutrients and protein. Most hunters will know this crop, because it is used to attract deer or wild turkey. It is also a great crop for poultry to eat that can add extra nutrients to their eggs. Sometimes referred to as "field peas", they can also serve as a cover crop to improve soil for future planting. They are nitrogen-fixers, meaning they boost the bioavailable nitrogen levels in your soil.
A pound of Austrian peas is about $5, a 5 pound bag can be $15. They can grow in most zones (ours are thriving in 7A), but do not like hot weather. We dumped ours more or less evenly (our toddler helped with this) and put an inch of soil on top. Most were densely together, which is okay. Look at how much we have to harvest!
Once these tangled vines reach about 8", use a pair of scissors to cut a tip off and use on top of your salads or stir fry. You will know they are ready when you can pull of a leaf or simply by tasting them. Be sure to not harvest if they are covered in frost, as the inner cells will shatter and the greens will wilt and die before they reach your table. If left to mature as dried peas, they can make a delicious spilt pea soup!
We are currently including Austrian Winter Peas in our bag of greens, if you are local to North Georgia, check out our facebook page or instagram and send us a message for a bag of fresh, all natural greens!