Despite the fact that our weather has returned to seasonal form for mid-April, it's okay to plant certain cold-hardy crops. One of my favorites is peas! Peas grow quickly (4-8 weeks) and you can plant them in the spring and the fall.

I like to eat the pods whole when they are young and tender. They make a great snack right off the vine or in salads. If you let them grow a bit longer, you can remove the peas from the shell and enjoy them that way.

My wife and I found seeds for 20 cents a pack at Wal-mart. We plant ours along a fence so the vines can climb. A trellis or tomato cages also work well for growing peas.

By planting them in early to mid-April, we can harvest spring peas and then use the same fence for cucumbers during the summer. Then more peas in the fall. With crops like peas and cukes, you can get a lot from a small space.

You don't need a lot of room to grow your own food, just a little creativity. You can also plant peas in containers if you want to grow them on a balcony or porch.

If you want expert advice for your garden, contact the MSU Extension office of Genesee County at (810) 244-8500 or visit:
www.msue.msu.edu/portal/default.cfm?pageset_id=27254