Grow Your Own... Peas
Quite a lot of space is needed in the garden for what is often a relatively small crop. However by choosing a range of varieties of pea the pea picking and eating season can be extended from early summer until the beginning of autumn.
Varieties of Pea Seeds
Pea seeds fall into two varieties – Round and Wrinkled. All Round peas are the first earlies. These peas are hardy, can withstand bad weather and can be sown earlier in the year (late autumn or early spring) than the wrinkled varieties. The round pea seeds are smooth and plump in appearance.
Wrinkled pea seeds are, as their name suggest, very wrinkled in appearance. They are less hardy than the smooth varieties and should not be sown before March. Within this group there are First Earlies, Second Earlies and Main Crop.
How to Grow Peas
Protect sown pea seeds from the birds with guards or netting. When the seedlings are about 3” high put a bushy twig into the soil near each one. Water and mulch when the weather is dry. Weed by hand and hoe regularly.
Peas need good soil with plenty of organic matter incorporated.
Pick pods when they have filled out but are not hard and over-filled. Pick regularly. Pods which are left to mature will lead to a smaller harvest.
When to Sow and Harvest
Round PeasSow Feb/Mar or Oct/Nov, harvest May/June
Round PeasSow Mid Mar, harvest June/July
Wrinkled (First Early variety)Sow Mar/Apr, harvest June/July
Wrinkled (Second Early variety)Sow Mar/Apr, harvest June/July
Wrinkled (Main Crop variety)Sow Apr/May, harvest late July/early Sept
Wrinkly with good mildew resistance (First Early)Sow June/July, harvest Sept/early Oct
Some Pea Problems
This can affect peas when the weather is cold and wet. The leaves have yellow blotches on the top and mauve/brown mould underneath. The pea pods are spotted and distorted. Prevent by good crop rotation.
The leaves and pods of peas are covered in white powdery patches. Often occurs when the weather is dry and in sheltered positions. Prevent by regular careful watering.
Pea MothThe maggots of this moth burrow through the pods and into the peas. The peas cannot be eaten. Prevent with a suitable organic spray or concentrate on early and late sowings.