Thursday, January 29

Minding your peas ...

Compared to beans we don't get as big a harvest from our garden peas and once the peas are produced the length of the harvest is relatively short so we stagger sowing and grow a few different varieties.
We sowed our peas directly into the ground which we have found far more successful than growing in pots etc and planting out. This way seems to produce much stronger, healthier looking plants. We sow the seeds in a shallow trench and like for many other crops plant through weed control fabric.

We are also very generous in the amount of seed that we sow to allow for some loses due to poor germination or hungry pests.

Once the small plants have reached a reasonable size hazel twigs are pushed between them to offer support. The twiggy branches offer plenty of opportunity for the tendrils to catch hold. The spent plants are also easier to remove from the twigs than they are from netting.

One pest which always tries to attack the young plants is the pea and bean weevil that bites notches in the leaves. Judging by the amount of weevil damage we suffer on both broad beans and peas our plot must be home to a whole army of these creatures. If the seedlings grow quickly enough they can usually outgrow any damage.
Out first pickings are eaten fresh and often raw but there comes a point when the plants need stripping before the peas spoil and at this stage we have a harvest for the freezer.
Last year our sowing of Ambassador peas was a total failure. The seeds just did not germinate. We bought a packet of Misty from the garden centre so we could resow the row of failed Ambassador seeds. As Ambassador is given an excellent write up we are trying it again but it had better perform this time. Kelvedon Wonder will again be our early sowing and Onward our mainstay. We hope to give more space to peas this year and so have bought a bumper pack of Onward.

We will also be growing the mangetout variety Carouby de Maussane again this year. These provided us with the pea experience before the garden peas were ready to pick.

19 comments:

  1. I must admit that I'm not always that successful with peas. I'm always worried about finding grubs in them too, so I usually go for a short variety and grow them under nets, it really puts me off if I find anything in the pods.

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    1. I have been known to launch a pea pod into orbit, Jo when coming dace to face with a pea maggot

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  2. I think it shows true dedication to grow your own peas! So many problems….
    I do sometime try a few mange toutes but they seem to go over quickly.
    As to any possible Qs to go with the peas I will try harder not to sow my outdoor cucumbers too early this year. So much nicer and easier than greenhouse ones

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    1. You've been and gone and fired my bullet as I'm doing cucumbers next. I was going to write a post on both called Minding your peas and cucumbers but decided to split them up. Scary that our minds seem in tune isn't it?

      Peas are problematic - yes but also delicious

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  3. I can't wait to plant peas, and I will likely do some inside for the shoots soon. Great to see the photos and to learn what varieties you plant. I have not seen that weevil damage, and at first I thought it was some kind of frilly pea foliage. ;-)

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    1. Broad beans end up frilly too Bren, Maybe the weevils don't live in your part of the world

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  4. I've grown pea many years and now decided to not grow them more. Why? there were many worms in pea pods, I throw them away. I think our soil isn't good for pea. Yours are better, Sue.

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    1. We do sometimes have years that are worse for pea maggots than others Nadezda I guess the only way to avoid all those pests waiting to eat our crops is to cover everything with enviromesh or fleece

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  5. May be tempting fate but so far I've found peas to be less of a problem than french or climbing beans and as easy as broad beans.They don't seem too fussy about a coolish start up here.Generally get enough to germinate from a fairly thick sowing and once they get going then just wait for the glut! Can't beat them for freshness.Shop bought pods are no comparison.
    Early Onward pod peas and then late mangetout (cropping into late September) both good last year and so planning more regular sowings this year on my succession beds.Golden Sweet mangetout the year before were prolific too and with lovely flowers.

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    1. We sow thickly too David - the Golden mangetout sound interesting

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  6. Interesting! It's so hard to grow pea in my garden. I guess it's too hot here. My pea plants just produce a small amount of peas, and they looked so small. You give me spirit to try to grow peas again. Thanks Sue!

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    1. I think you are right about peas not being keen on heat, Endah. They don't like to be too dry either, Good luck,

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  7. I grew Misty last year and wasn't that impressed with the quantity, although the flavour was good. Interesting to see it was also your least productive variety.

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    1. We ended up with Misty as it was what they had left at the garden centre Jessica, I think it is an early variety and we sowed it late which may have had an effect,

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  8. I always sow peas direct too, I always wish I had more room to grow more, you just can't beat eating peas raw and fresh.xxx

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    1. They are tasty raw and fresh, Dina - we add them to our summer salads.

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  9. I grow marketmore outdoor cukes which did well this year. They're spikey, so you have to peel them. The mini ones sound nice, might give them a go next year. The flavour of a home grown cucumber is just incredible compared with a shop-bought one.

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    1. Oops, somehow got this against the wrong post! Well, on the subjct of peas then, unfortunately I'm not a great pea grower even though they're one of my fave veggies. I think my sandy dry soil doesn't help. I've just had a bit of a change around on the plot though and put up a bit of mesh fencing that I'll try and grow some peas up this year.

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    2. Peas do seem to like moisture Lou so maybe you are right about the soil, We grew Marketmore once but as I recall they didn't perform well for us.

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