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Alderman (Tall Telephone) Pea

Alderman (Tall Telephone) Pea

Regular price $3.09 USD
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75 days — A very old English variety, 'Alderman', also known as 'Tall Telephone', is a main crop garden pea. It does require support as it will climb to about six feet in height. The pods are large (up to four inches), maturing five to nine peas each. Very productive and good for fresh eating or freezing.

The history and pedigree of 'Alderman' is a bit convoluted. This is not uncommon when researching very old varieties but here are the facts that we do know.  In 1878, Carter's of London, England released a variety called 'Telephone' that was a sport of the older variety, 'Telegraph'. There was a lot of variability in 'Telephone's' genetics. At the time that it was introduced into the United States, light-colored pods were popular. But as public preferences changed in favor of darker pods, growers started selecting seed stock from the darker-podded variants of 'Telephone'.

Then in 1892, Thomas Laxton of Bedford, England released 'Alderman'. It possesses many of the same characteristics as 'Telephone' but appeared to be more uniform. W. Atlee Burpee introduced it into the U.S. market in 1901.

By the mid-1930s, 'Alderman' had nearly replaced 'Telephone' or was being marketed as 'Dark-Podded Telephone', 'Tall Telephone', or simply as 'Telephone' with no apologies. By the way, the word "Tall" was added to the name in the early part of the twentieth century simply to distinguish it from a variety that had been introduced called, 'Dwarf Telephone'.

History aside, it is pretty safe to say that at this date, the original 'Telephone' is now long gone having been replaced by several similar, yet superior, strains. Each ounce is approximately 100 seeds, which is generally enough to plant at least a ten foot row.
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Planting Instructions: Loosen rich well-drained soil in a location that receives six to eight hours of full sunlight per day. Add compost or fertilizer before planting.

Plant seeds directly outdoors in spring or fall when temperatures are cool. Plant 1½ inches deep, one to two seeds every two inches. Keep moist until germination. Thin to one plant every two inches in rows spaced thirty inches apart. Informational References:
  1. "Descriptions of Types of Principal American Varieties of Garden Peas," USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. 170, March, 1934.
  2. "Vegetables of New York: Peas," U. P. Hedrick, New York A. E. S., 1928.