Nothing beats home grown peas for tenderness or taste. Picked when small, boiled within an hour of picking with a sprig of mint and you won’t taste better. And they are relatively easy to grow, especially if you improve your soil and grow them fast when the soil has warmed.
Soil and position
A sunny spot is best which has been improved with Levington Organic Blend Soil Conditioner or some garden compost to provide a free-draining, humus-rich soil.
|How to plant Peas|
Choosing the right seed can be confusing because there are round seeded or wrinkled; tall or dwarf; early, second early or late; peas for shelling or the ones that are eaten as whole immature pods (mangetout).
For shelled peas, novices should stick to tried and trusted varieties such as ‘Kelvedon Wonder’, ‘Early Onward’ or ‘Hurst Green Shaft’. For mangetout pods try ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ or ‘Sugar Snap’.
Wait until early April to sow your first short row of pea seeds in garden soil. Sow more at fortnightly intervals to give a succession of crops throughout summer. Take out a drill about 5cm (2in) deep and 15cm (6in) wide (a ‘drill’ is a shallow trench that you plant seeds into). Sow the peas 8cm (3in) apart in double rows and then cover with soil. Water well.
Birds or mice will often pick out the seed for food. To keep the birds off cover the area with netting until the plants have germinated. To protect the seeds from mice cover the soil with fine plastic mesh. You will see new shots appear in just over a week and this needs protecting from slugs with a sprinkling of SlugClear Ultra. When the seedlings are 8cm (3in) tall, push some twigs along the row for the plants to climb.
In dry spells water the soil thoroughly adding some Miracle-Gro All Purpose Soluble Plant Food to the watering can, or using a Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed hose attachment, every fortnight or so.