The perfect vegetable to grow, pick and eat straight from the plant and the more you pick they more they produce! There are lots of types to choose from podded or mangetout/sugarsnap (where you eat the whole pod), tall or dwarf, and for edible and something beautiful too the purple podded ones are lovely. Practised pea growers can really focus on different varieties, types and eating peas from may to the end of September.
Peas need open ground or a deep container to grow in, sun for most of the day, regular watering and something to climb up- a wigwam or trellis.
Sow: March, April, May, June
Eat: June, July, August, September
For an early crop, start peas off indoors in deep pots or old toilet roll to accommodate long pea roots, from the end of March or sow directly into the soil from mid-April. If sowing directly it can help to cover your pot or soil with something to help warm the soil; this speeds up germination and stops the seed from rotting in cold, damp soil.
For a continuous crop of peas for you and the bees, sow a few seeds once a month until mid-summer.
If you have space to start peas indoors this can ‘secure’ your crop from mice who love peas. When moving plants outside from your windowsill they will require ‘hardening off’ to adjust to cool summer nights. Bring them out during the day and in at night for a few days before planting.
Protect young shoots from pigeons with netting or twiggy sticks, this also gets the peas climbing.
Once the pods have started forming, check that the plants receive regular water to make the pods swell.
Wherever you can grow in peat-free compost, more and more peat-free varieties are available, but beware, they dry out quickly. In dry periods soil just under the surface should be damp but never wet to touch. Watering first thing in the morning gives the plants time to take up water and can help avoid slug damage.
Collect rainwater near your growing space or grow your peas near the kitchen sink- vegetables can cope with dirty dishwater; just give the soil a good soaking, not the plant!
If you have a large space try saving some peas by letting a few pods ripen on the plant at the end of the season and dry out. Once dry these can be stored for next year or resown indoors for pea shoots.
Every growing space and every season is different and changes how we grow. Grow 6 is a place to start to practice and learn how to grow and adapt to these changes. Along with supporting new growers through regular updates, your tips and experiences are welcome as we all ‘Get Growing’.