Warning:  Insect photos below.

Was it too much to hope that we would make it through snap pea season without seeing any aphids?  I mean, we moved the peas to the other planter and I have been diligent in spraying the vines with an herbal insect repellent.  Unless it turns out that spontaneous manifestation is a real thing, there is no reason that there should be aphids anywhere near here.

But, yes, I suppose that it was hoping for too much.

Rachel spotted a few of aphids last evening as we were harvesting the first batch of peas (she has better vision than I have) and this morning I made a more thorough inspection.  The infestation is much less extensive than last year—a small consolation but I’ll take it—which I hope is due to my periodic spraying with repellent.  Or perhaps we have caught it earlier.  Either way, it did not take long to pick off the intruders, both the adults and their tiny offspring.

So now starts early-morning preening sessions to pick off the unwelcome insects.  I will also continue to apply the herbal spray although I believe it is more effective as a deterrent than as a treatment for bugs that are already present.  Preening is the only method that seems to work once the aphids have arrived.

It is a nuisance but the Sugar Snap peas are worth the effort (that I actually enjoy it is evidence that I am truly a nitpicker).  This year’s variety—Sugar Ann—produces a smaller pod than those we grew last year but the peas are plumper and sweeter, exactly what I look for in a snap pea.

We planted twice as many as last year in the hopes that we could harvest enough at a time to use as a side dish or part of a main course.  That plan would have worked were it not for the fact that the best way to eat the peas is straight from the vine.

Rachel’s treatment is the second best way:  steamed in the microwave oven for a minute and then plunged into a cold water bath.  The short but intense blast of heat brightens their color and intensifies their sweetness.  We devoured them as a snack before dinner.

I’m not sure if any of the Sugar Snap peas will ever make it onto a dinner plate after all.