The crown and sash reserved for the winner of the First Peas to the Table contest
If you want to wear the sash and crown, you have to plant early!

The pinkletinks are singing on Martha’s Vineyard, and that means it’s time to plant your peas if you want to compete in our sixth annual First Peas to the Table contest. We reopen May 3 and the first measured cup of garden peas will win it all. Read on for Simon’s advice on planting your peas:

“Use inoculant, it really works,” advises Simon Athearn. The inoculant used for peas—you can get it at any good garden supplier—is a bacterium that helps the seedlings develop the structures they need to grow vigorously and fix nitrogen into the soil.

fresh green peas in the pod with one pod cut open to reveal the peas inside, photographed by Alison SHaw
Photo by Alison Shaw

This contest was not our original idea. Thomas Jefferson and his farming neighbors near Monticello used to vie for the first peas every spring, with the winner hosting the rest of his competitors for a fine dinner.

What else can you do with fresh spring peas—apart from just gobbling them straight from the pod? Here are some of our favorite recipes with peas:

Other spring recipes we’ve posted recently include: