Friday, February 19

Not always so easy peasy

We like to have as many peas as possible as we eat them raw in salads as well as a cooked vegetable and also like to have plenty to freeze. I don't think shop bought frozen peas come anywhere near the taste of those that you grow but you do need the space to grow sufficient plants to give a good harvest.

Our pea performance was very varied last year.
On top of that we grew some pea shoots which don't feature on the chart.
Just like for the beans, we grow our peas through weed control fabric but for peas we cut a flap in the fabric and fold it back. A shallow trench is dug and then plenty of pea seeds are scattered in the trench - generally more than is recommended on the packet.
Just like broad beans peas suffer from weevil attack and so by sowing plenty of seeds we have a better chance of having enough plants survive. We have tried growing them to transplant but haven't found this to be successful. Once the peas begin to emerge we lay hazel twigs across the rows to deter birds. Surprisingly it seems to work, I don't think the birds like how the sticks move when they land on them.
Once the peas are growing well we add willow branches as supports. We have a couple of large willow bushes on the plot and we cut one back very hard every year. This method of staking has so far been the most successful by far.

Last year our best producing variety was the old stalwart, Onward  which we find to be reliable. Kelvedon Wonder was OK and maybe it is unfair to compare this with Onward as we buy a very large packet of Onward seeds and so have more plants to harvest.
Ambassador which is a tall growing variety didn't perform very well at all.

This year we will only be sowing Onward. One thing we make sure of is that the peas never run short of water. They are always top of the to water list and given a good soaking at each watering. The weed control fabric maybe helps conserve the moisture especially when the plants are small.

The two varieties of Mangetout were not particularly impressive although it was novel to have some yellow ones.
This year we are trying a variety called Delikett which doubles as a sugar snap and a mangetout and Oregon Sugar Pod - a mangetout.

18 comments:

  1. 13 kilos of Onward - that's impressive!

    Looks like you have had great success using branches as pea supports. I tried that one year, but I suppose the branches we used were just not suited to that. I think you will absolutely LOVE the sugar snap peas - I bet it will be a "wow" moment in the garden when you taste the first one.

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    1. The branches need to be twiggy, Margaret. If there is a wow factor I'll let you know.

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    2. I should make clear that the peas were weighed in the pods.

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  2. These photos made me mouth water. It won't be long and we can start planting here, maybe next month. Your chart is probably most helpful over the years. I wish I was as meticulous about record keeping. I realize after all these years it just won't happen. Too depressing to look at all those empty charts. ;)

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    1. We usually start sowing some seeds in March, Lisa but the ground is saturated at the moment and clay soil takes ages to dry out

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  3. I love peas! You have an amazing crop, even if some didn't perform as well as hoped. Something keeps eating my peas so I haven't grown them for a while now. Wonder if it is that weevil you mention?
    I once used apple tree prunings as support and they rooted!

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    1. I had that happen with buddleia prunings, Deborah The weevils nibble at the leaves so if they attack newly shooting leaves they could cause a problem. Birds also sometimes nibble the young leaves. If the seeds don't germinate mice could be a problem. Variety can also make a big difference.

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  4. Against my better judgement, I'm trying some peas again this year - Early Onward and Terrain. In the past my peas have always suffered from mildew and produced very modest crops, but I live in hope of a better harvest this time...!

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    1. Do you keep them well watered, Mark as dryness makes them more prone to mildew?

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  5. You are quite right Sue, you can't beat home grown but as I no longer have the conditions to grow vegetables successfully I have to say that peas are about the only veg that freezes well commercially.

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    1. Frozen peas are quite good, Rick but growing your own spoils you. I had peas went we went out for a meals the other day and although all the other veg tasted just fine the peas didn't taste at all. The meal was otherwise very goof.

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  6. All that freezing must take you some time! What a woman:)
    May I pick your brains while I'm here? Its about garlic. Usually I plant it in November but this year did not manage it and since then I've heard that it is rotting in some places because of the damp. So, would you plant it now if you were me, or wait until we reach drier weather? Not quite sure which way to go on this one.

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    1. I have to admit Martyn does a lot of it and we don;t blanch anything.

      I'd plant the garlic now - generally early March is the cut off but garlic needs a period of cold weather. The only problem is if the ground is very soggy. If it is you could try popping gravel in the planting hole

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    2. Thanks very much, that's very helpful and most timely. I'll try and get it in this week so that it can benefit from our current cold snap:)

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  7. I wasn't going to try growing peas this year but now I must after reading how you grow them sucessfully. Thank you for sharing your knowledge Sue. Marion x

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    1. A pleasure Marion I hope that you do well/

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  8. Peas are one of my favourite things to grow, though I'll never have enough to freeze! I'm not growing as many mange-tout this year, I loved looking at the purple and yellow pods but the taste was disappointing.

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    1. We are not growing coloured mangetout this year either, Janet

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