How to Grow Peas
How to Grow
A very popular summer vegetable that can be grown in succession to give a supply for most of the summer and early autumn. Surplus can be frozen to give supplies throughout the year. There are now good varieties that can be eaten whole; pod and seeds.
A deep and open soil well supplied with bulky organic matter is needed for, or they stop cropping prematurely. Many gardeners achieve this by digging out a trench and working into the bottom before replacing the soil.
Very variable – 4-10lb (1.8 – 4.5kg) per 10ft (3m) run of row.
Time from Sowing to harvest
About three months, more than six months if sown in the autumn; though this practice has largely disappeared as it offers no benefits.
Early: ‘Early Onward’ or ‘Kelvedon Wonder’. Maincrop: ‘Hurst Green Shaft’. ‘Sugar Snap’ can be eaten whole.
Experienced gardeners sometimes sow in wooden troughs in a heated, early to mid-February for planting out later.
Normally, sow in situ from late February to late May. Make a drill 6 in (15cm) wide and 2 in (5cm) deep. For accuracy, sow in two rows within the drill, 3in (7.5cm) between rows and 3in (7.5cm) between seeds. In practice, you may scatter the seeds in the bottom of the drill so that they end up roughly 3 in (7.5cm) apart.
Only those raised in heat; transplant March.
Keep down weeds and water copiously to ensure a heavy crop. As soon as the seedlings are 1-2 in (2.5-5cm) high, either put up pea netting along the rows or push twiggy sticks in down the outsides for the plants to climb up. Some varieties are said to require no support; in reality this is not the case.
Pests and diseases
Sparrows will peck and seriously damage the seedlings. Pea moth maggots are often found in the pods. Spray with permethrin immediately after flowering.
Pick hard and regularly before there’s the slightest sign of the pods maturing (drying out and wrinkling). All peas freeze well. Pick ‘Sugar Snap’ varieties when large but not coarse. If they get too old, they can be podded like normal peas.