Peas are one of my absolute favourite crops to grow in the summer garden. They are easy to grow, quick to germinate always look beautiful in a garden. There’s not much better than picking peas straight from the vine and eating them fresh. They’re like nature’s candy!
Since I’m talking about summer planting this week, I thought I would do a quick post on how to grow these fantastic plants as summer is the perfcet time to get them in the ground.
There are two types of peas you can grow, ordinary podded peas and eat all “mange tout” varieties. I grow ordinary garden peas on the plot every year and they never fail to do well.
Peas like full sunshine which is why summer is the perfect time to plant. They also thrive in well cultivated, loose soil as air is essential for the roots to thrive. Peas are known as nitrogen “fixers”, which means they can draw nitrogen from the air, as such, you do not need to feed your peas
I sow peas straight in the ground where they are to grow, you can sow them in pots and transplant later but there isn’t much need. Make a shallow drill about 10 cm wide and 5cm deep. Scatter pea seeds along the drill or space them evenly about about 20 cm apart. Cover back with soil using a rake to draw it over them. The warm summer soil will boost your pea growth and they should germinate in 7-10 days. Use succession sowing to ensure a steady crop throughout summer.
Most peas, particularly mangetout peas, will grow to be very tall so need support as they are growing. There are dwarf varieties available which do not need as much support but I’m warning you, I’ve seen dwarf peas grow very tall in the past, despite their title. Strong mesh or chicken wire is perfect for this purpose. Peas send out tendrils that grasp on to and wrap around structures for support.
Peas don’t really need too much care once they are established, birds can peck at them though and slugs love them so keep an eye out for pests. Peas can get sometimes get powdery mildew in the summer which appears on leaves . Make sure to keep your peas well weeded, especially when they are tender young plants. It helps to keep your peas well watered, particularly as they are flowering and again as the pods are beginning to swell.
Peas have a relatively short growing time and will be ready to harvest within 10-12 weeks provided the conditions are correct. Your peas are ready to harvest once the pod begins to swell, you will be able to see the peas forming inside the pod and should be able to judge when to pick them.
Peas are amazing straight off the vine, I challenge you to pick peas and not eat them straight away, go ahead, I dare you.