(Pisum sativum 'hortense'). Originally, the name was PEASE, the reduction of which to Pea is an example of a "false singular", arising from the mistaken belief that Pease was a plural. Cf the word 'cherry', which arose from a similar belief about the French word 'cerise' (Putnam).
Sow peas and beans on David and Chad, Be the weather good or bad.
That is, the first and second of March. But study the weather a month earlier than that, and:
On Candlemas Day if the thorns hang a drop, Then you are sure of a good pea crop.
Cambridgeshire farmers used to say that it would be a good year for peas if the hedges dripped on St Valentine's morning (Vickery. 1995). Tusser gave different advice, autumn instead of spring for sowing, but he also said they must be sown in the wane of the moon:
Sow peas and beans in the wane of the moon. Who soweth them sooner he sowed too soon.
It is lucky to find nine peas in a pod, not only lucky but useful in marriage divinations. If a girl finds such a pod, and if she then wrote on a piece of paper:
Come in my dear And do not fear, and folded it and put in the pod, which then had to be laid under the door, the first man who entered the room would become her husband. In some areas the pod had to be hung up, and in the Midlands and the west of England, the Christian name of the first man to enter provided the initial of the future husband's name (Opie & Tatem). In America, the good luck of a nine-pea pod is recognised, so it is put over the door (Stout). Another way to celebrate the find is to throw one over the right shoulder and make a wish. It will come true (Waring). Against all logic, a pod with just one pea in it is also lucky (Waring).
Warts can be charmed by touching each one with a green pea, which would then be wrapped in paper and buried. As the pea decays, the warts will go (Allen).
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