A perfect pea

Person Author: Ryan Lewis Calender March 23, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment 2 Comments

Peas for me sum up a beautiful British Summer. Imagine picking peas straight from the vine and sitting in the sun shelling and eating them pod by pod, or even better, eating sugarsnap or mangetout, pods and all. On the plot they are the perfect snack for eating on the go and I always sow extra to ensure that at least some manage to reach the plate at home.

Peas are one of the easiest crops to grow and the offer almost immediate results, germinating in no time at all, making them perfect for the impatient or younger gardeners among us. Planting to harvest should take between 12 and 15 weeks and a successional sowing approach will give best results. As climbing plants, peas will require some support to grow well. I like to use traditional pea-sticks(large and bushy twiggy branches) when growing peas, although the use of chicken wire held up with bamboo canes is just as effective.

To get growing, simply sow your pea seed in containers or in situ at around 1 inch deep and spaced well, water them in and wait for them to germinate. As soon as your peas are developing their first tendrils, small filament like grasping structures, plant them into open ground if grown in containers and push in your peasticks to form a consistent structure, which your plants can clamber over. Peas are susceptible to pests, particularly slugs and mice, and precautions should be taken to protect young shoots. Slug traps, cloches and the use of gorse or other prickly stems placed in seed drills should help to reduce losses without resorting to using chemicals. Peas are unlikely to require additional fertilizer as they are nitrogen fixing plants but on poorer soils bonemeal and a liquid comfrey or seaweed feed will aid growth.

Four favourites:

Oregon Sugarpod – A delicious and crisp mangetout pea, which is eaten young.
Douce Provence – An early pea, originating from France, this is the year round pea perfect for sowing between November – April.
Kelvedon Wonder – A sweet and early to mature plant, this pea only grows to around 24 inches making it perfect for both the vegetable garden and containers.
Waverex – A petit pois pea that produces small, bushy plants with a high yield of sweet peas perfect for salads and risottos.

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