Spring Companions: Turnips and Peas

Turnips and peas are staples of spring that can be enjoyed in some simple and healthy recipes.

| Spring 2017

  • Bright purple turnips add color to the spring garden.
    Photo by iStock/AnthonyRosenberg
  • You can sow peas about a month before your last frost, and they'll do well as long as weather stays cool.
    Photo by iStock/bhofack2

Turnips and peas are fitting companions in the garden. Both can be sown leading up to spring — peas about a month before your last frost and turnips about two to three weeks before your last frost. You can plant turnips where you’ve grown early peas, and you can plant both again in fall. With a quick search, you’ll also find many recipes that combine these two dissimilar yet complementary crops — with carrots and dill, with meats, in soups, or in curries. The recipes here offer a variety of flavors and some unique ideas for using turnips and peas — in pesto, with miso, and with mint. These lovely dishes can help you use up any turnips you stored through winter and also welcome your spring harvest.

Turnip-Green Pesto Pizza
Miso-Glazed Turnips and Snow Peas
Cauliflower 'Couscous' with Peas, Mint, and Feta

Pea Cultivars

‘Blue Podded’: ornamental; purple-blue pods; harvested young for snow peas or mature for soup peas

‘Tall Telephone’: vines up to 6 feet; large pods with 8 to 10 peas

‘Little Marvel’: vining; heirloom from 1908; large yield; good for home gardens

‘Mammoth Melting Sugar’: snow pea; large, sweet pods; fast-growing; needs cooler weather to produce higher yields



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