- Freshly picked peas are one of summers great joys! Without a doubt my favourite crop to grow and a must in every kitchen garden.
- When peas are harvested the sugar soon turns to starch making the pea loose its sweet taste! This means unless you grow your own peas you will most likely have never tasted a peas true flavour!
- Peas do not require a lot of room, they will grow happily in large containers with four or five plants growing up a wigwam.
- Grow peas in a sunny position and ideally in full sun for the best results.
- Peas do not like extreme heat so plant in a sunny but slightly protected location in the garden.
- Never overwater your peas as they do not respond well to being waterlogged. Where possible grow in a moist but well-draining soil.
- Peas come in both early and main crop. Early are planted first giving you the first harvest then you plant out your main crop to follow.
- Mangetout and sugar snap peas are slightly easier to grow so if you are a beginner starting out these are a good option.
Sowing and Growing
- If planting early peas it is possible to overwinter a batch sown in October is protected in a greenhouse.
- Personally I prefer to wait to sow early peas at the start of March.
- Peas cannot be planted out in the open soil until at least the soil temperature is 10C.
- As a general rule early varieties are normally slightly smaller than main crops.
- Main crops can be sown in April but will tend to grow slightly slower than early varieties.
- It is a good idea to start your peas in deep seed modules and transplant out once the plant reaches 10cm. This will allow you to start a slightly earlier batch undercover.
- From mid spring in the UK it is normally warm enough to direct sow.
- Peas can be grown in a circle growing up a wigwam support, or alternatively in rows. A wigwam formation is best for those growing in containers.
- Space the plants 10 cm apart and 15cm between rows.
- While peas are low maintenance when it comes to watering, do not let them dry out! Once the peas start to flower they will benefit from a liquid feed every ten days to maximise fruit production.
- My pro tip for growing peas is to sow a fresh batch of seeds every three weeks in order to keep a constant supply all summer long.
- Early varieties take anywhere from ten to fifteen weeks from sowing to harvest.
- Main crop will take fourteen to seventeen weeks from sowing to harvest.
- Pick the pods when they feel nice and plump but do not let the pod get too big as the peas inside will start to turn bitter.
- The pods will form from the bottom of the plant upwards, so when harvesting start at the bottom in order to pick the oldest pods first.
- There are too many to choose from and you cannot really go wrong whatever one you pick, I recommend trying many different varieties until you find your favourite.
- Here are a few of my Favourites:
- Blauwshocker: A heritage variety that forms beautiful purple flowers and pods. The purple pods are not only pretty but make harvesting very easy.
- Kelvedon wonder: Fantastic early variety that is perfect if you do not have much space.
- Meteor: One of the hardiest varieties, fantastic for small spaces.
- Little Marvel: A very tasty early variety.
- Hurst greenshaft: Produces lovely long straight pea pods.
- Onwards: A really high yielding main crop.
- Rondo: A main crop variety that produces massive pods.
- Cavalier: A long trusted main crop.
A fun project to try is growing pea shoots. These can be grown on a windowsill and are packed full of nutrition. Simply scatter peas over a thin layer of soil and wait for them to sprout. After around 14 days they should be around five centimetres tall and ready to trim over a salad or as a garnish.