The pea is indispensable in the garden, and there is more satisfaction in growing it on one's own ground, than there is in raising any other vegetable. If too old when picked, or stale, which is too often the case when purchased from the dealers, peas have but little resemblance to those taken directly from the vines. For an early crop peas should be one of the first things sown in the spring. We prefer to sow in double rows, which saves half the labor in staking or bushing up, and gives nearly the same crop to the row as if sown in single rows, Donble rows are made at eight or nine inches apart, and four feet from other rows. Set a line and draw the drills with a hoe three or four inches deep; the seed should be sown to lay as near as possible an inch or so apart. The Sidney Seed-Sower, mentioned in the chapter on Implements, is a most convenient affair for sowing peas; one can with a few minutes practice distribute the seed with great regularity. In order to have a succession of crops of peas, they should be sown every two or three weeks until July. If succession crops are grown, an average quantity for a family would be twelve quarts; if only first crops of early and late, from four to six quarts will be sufficient.
The varieties of peas are almost innumerable, and new sorts - or at least sorts with new names - are sent out every year. They may be classed in two groups, the round and the wrinkled peas. The round varieties are the earliest, but they are as much inferior to the wrinkled or marrow kinds, as field is to sweet corn; these two groups are subdivided according to hight. The earliest pea is Daniel O'Rourke, under some of its dozen or more names, for most of the "early" and "extra early" peas are only selected strains of this, which, under other names, dates back into the last century. It is of medium hight, productive, and valuable as yielding the earliest crops. The earliest of the wrinkled sorts is the Alpha, of medium hight. The standard late sort is the Champion of Eng-land, an old variety, which has not yet been superseded. The dwarf sorts, which grow only about a foot high and need no brush, are very handy in the family garden, as they may be used to occupy odd spaces. The leading dwarfs are Tom Thumb, early but round, and Little Gem, productive and of the best quality. The catalogues give the merits of numerous other sorts, early, medium, and late.