October 12, 2000:
Planted the Tutankhamen Pea in my flower bed
Although we are not so good at gardening, we make it a rule to grow pea every year because it requires little efforts. This time, we will try an unusual kind of pea like this. Don't you think the violet color of the case is different from ordinary peas?

Yes, this is very rare pea called "Tutamkahmen Pea."
Mr. Saga, one of my close friends of FOOD mailing list, describes on Tutamkahmen Pea in his homepage.

By following his links, I found a homepage of Technical Course of Matsuida Municipal Nishi Junior High school that says "The Tutankhamen's Tomb Pea will be given to you on your request."

I soon mailed the school and got 23 pieces of the pea.
Today, I planted the precious seed of the pea in my flower bed.
Will it shoot out and grow healthy next spring?

I expect it very much and at the same time I feel anxious about it.
The growing record will be upped on this site.

October 18, 2000; cloudy: Hello my little germs!
I have been looking for germs of the pea everyday and I finally found two germs this morning.

I will continue to watch them carefully.

October 22, 2000; cloudy: Almost all germs came out.
While I was away from home for two days, almost all germs came out of the soil. After a slight rain, some of them have already grown up to 5-6 centimeters.

October 26, 2000, cloudy (The 14th day): Set up the supporting rods.

All the germs have put out and growing quickly. I scaled the height and got 20 cemtimeter already.

I made a simple supporting frame with gardening rods.

November 18, 2000: Clear. The peas are growing healthyi The 37th dayj

All the seedlings are growing up, up, and up.

They measure about 52 centimeters at the top.

January 11, 2001: Cloudy, The coldest day in this the winter i91st dayj
Just three months have passed since I planted the pea.

Today, we have the coldest morning in this winter, they say. The leaves of the pea are slightly covered with white frost. I wonder if the pea is OK.
The vine is growing vividly. I covered the foot of the plant with died leaves for protection. I pray the pea will grow healthy.

February 19, 2001 clear: Bloomed at last! (130th day)
"This winter is warmer", they said. It has been very cold until today, however. We had occasinal below-freezing-point days even after the first sign of spring on February 4. I have been very anxious about the growing of the pea.

The first flower bloomed this morning ! I am really delighted. My dear pea, you have survived this cold winter at last, I love you.

March 26, 2001: A violet shell appeared (165th day)
We had a spring rain all day long yesterday. I was worrying about if the cherry blossoms might be fallen down. Today, however, we have a fine crispy day from the morning.

I can enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms from through the kitchen window. The cherry trees are in the kindergarten garden across the alley.
I found a shell of the pea this morning. Only small violet shell still half wrapped with pedals. It looks like just born.

I can see the pea at last! I am so delighted.
Beautiful pea flowers are here and there on the plant. I have a new pleasure to find new shells everyday.
In my garden, Forsythia is in full bloom now, competing the height with Tutankhamen Pea. Both of them are now higher than me (151 cm, 5 ft.)

April 4, 2001 clear : So many flowers bloom(174th day)
The cherry blossoms started to scatter on a breeze. The Chinese redbud in the garden is just about to burst into flowers.

The pea plant holds many flowers. I love to watch them everyday.

April 22, 2000: My healthy children (193rd day)
We have a beautiful spring day today. The pea is growing healthy by stretching their tendrils high into the blue sky.
I have been worrying about during cold days if they could grow and bear fruits. Today, I found a lot of shells on the plant, however. Thee are still many flowers as well, suggesting additional grow of the shells.
This is the whole view of the pea in my garden. They grow so high more than 250 cm, far exceeding my height.
As they have grown so thick, I reinforced the supporting rods on the other side of the picture.
Today's extra report: The buds of lemon tree I planted in commemoration with the marriage of my son. The plant had a large fruit last year for the first time. How many golden-colored fruits can I expect this year?
Beside the lemon tree, borages are growing from the seeds scattered on the ground last year. They have sharp prickles on the leaves, but the flowers have beautiful color and shapes. I love the herb very much.

May 13, 2001: The first harvest of the pea (214th day)
We have really beautiful days recently. It is a good time to crop the Tutankhamen pea in my garden. The shells of the pea are growing round and chubby.
A couple days ago, I sampled a shell to check the growing condition of the contents. Today, I dared to crop some of the shells for cooking with rice.
I enjoy the beautiful day on my terrace by taking breakfast and relaxing in reading books.
The shell is violet, but the peas in it are green and sit in order. Today, I cropped 12 shells in all. The number of the pea was 64, meaning five peas in a shell in average. Until today, I have cropped 15 shells containing 73 peas in total.
I hit on an idea, if those beautiful violet shells could be utilized for something.

My imagination spreads, Tutankahmen Pharaoh's tomb to Egypt to Cleopatra to Emperor violet color. I made up my mind to try dying a piece of cloth by the violet shells. I boiled them in a pan. The boiling water turned blue in the end.
As an additive, I dropped vinegar on it. The color has turned to emperor violet as I had expected. (I am not sure what the real color is, however.)
I dipped a piece of white cotton handkerchief and boiled further, but as it might have been too short, the cloth wasn't dyed well.

Next time, I will challenge again by using much more shells. I believe it will go. Am I right?
Now, today's main theme ended up with cooked rice. I mixed some amount of sticky rice, stock of kelp, Japanese sake, and salt and cooked them with an electric cooker. I left the cooked rice for a while after it was cooked. The color of the rice turned to slight pink. The color is, sorry to say, too faint to identify on this picture.

May 16, 2001: Retry to dyeing
I cropped 70 shells including 340 peas. The total number as of today is 85 shells with 413 peas. As I got many shells, I tried dyeing again. I boiled the shells down and added vinegar. The result was beautiful liquid like this. I tried to dye a piece of white cotton cloth.
I left the cloth in the liquid overnight, but it didn't worked well. On the left is dyed handkerchief and on the right is white one.

I am sorry to say that the experiment was ended up with an unsatisfactory result. The experiment itself, however, was successful because I could learn that dyeing in this way was improper.

May 28, 2001: The final harvest (229th day)
I hope to grow Tutankhamen Pea next year again. I am happy if the readers of my web page are interested in planting the pea.

I asked one of my friends, an expert of the kitchen garden growing, how I could make the seeds. She advised me crop the pea before rain. I soon cropped all the plant.

How many shells and peas in all? My husband put them side-by-side on the table. The result: 79 shells and 9 naked peas. After all, the total number of the shell came up to 155.
The shells should be hung down as they are in a cool place, my friend said.

I will make the final report of the number of the seedling pea after this year's hot and humid summer is over

Till then, good-bye.
To be continued

Mieko Nagano