Ruth starts this year's pea crop
Few things taste as good as fresh peas straight from the garden. That sweet, crunchy taste is simply a mouthful of summer and peas are so easy to grow, it seems silly not to. So this weekend, we sowed ours.
This year we are sowing two varieties of peas. ‘Kelvedon Wonder’ is a good early pea with disease resistance and good cropping. ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ is a tasty mangetout, sweet and tender and great for salads and stir fries.
A few of the peas are saved from last year’s crop and I bought the rest from a family garden shop in the local high street (pre-lockdown) for the princely sum of 18p!
This is peak outdoor sowing time as the soil is warming up but it isn’t too hot to stymie germination and healthy growth. Choose a sheltered sunny site with good ventilation, fertile, free-draining soil and if yours tends towards to acidic, add some lime.
Ours are growing in a raised bed but you can also grow them in containers if space is tight. Dwarf varieties such as ‘Pea Bingo’ and the mangetout ‘Sweet Horizon’ are perfect for small spaces.
Start by creating a flat-bottomed trench around 2in (5cm) deep and 6in (15cm) wide.
Place the peas evenly around 3in (7cm) apart and – this is optional – place your peastick near them now so the seedlings have an immediate support to hand when needed.
Cover with soil and water well, keep the soil damp and wait for the first shoots. Watch out for pests as they grow. Pea moth are active in summer and lay their eggs in the flowers, mice love nothing more than a juicy pea and wood pigeons are the utter bane of pea growers, eating the leaves right down to the stalk.
Keep netting to hand to protect against larger pests and if you feel the need to use a chemical against insect invaders, make sure it’s organic and suitable for edible crops.
Also protect against powdery mildew by growing peas where there is good airflow and keeping their soil damp.
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