There are 2 types of pea, but they are both grown in the same way:
- mangetout – the whole pod is eaten with tiny underdeveloped peas inside
- shelling peas - these are round (for early peas) or wrinkled (for summer peas & are sweeter)
Peas grow best in the first half of the year when it is not too hot.
Sow every 2 weeks from March until July for a continual supply.
Sow seeds thinly in drills 5cm (2in) deep, allowing 45-60cm (18-24in) between the rows.
Site – sunny as soil needs to be warm for peas – so cover with polythene if cold.
Soil - deep & rich with well rotted manure or compost dug in the previous
Weed rows regularly.
Support plants when 8-10cm (3-4in) tall, with twiggy sticks or netting.
Water twice a week during flowering and pod development to help fill the peas in the pod.
Pick mangetout when the pods are small, flat and stringless – just as the peas inside start to develop. Pick shelling peas when the pods start to swell & the peas are a good size, but before the pods change colour & the peas go hard.
Depending on the sowing time, peas can be harvested from June-September. Pick regularly to allow more pea pods to grow & develop.
Peas have done well this year, producing lots of pods, but they must be picked regularly to catch them when young and juicy.
The recent hot weather has encouraged the pea plants to mature rapidly, so that peas in the pod will become harder and starchier sooner than normal. Picking peas every day, will ensure that the young pods are caught before the hot weather ripens them too far.
Paul has sent in this idea for how to cook asparagus peas:
Hi, I’m a chef up on the Isle of Lewis and have just received my
first crop of locally grown asparagus peas. I use around 95% of
locally grown produce from the usual run of the mill stuff, up to
the weird and wonderful. With the asparagus peas I’m just going to
simply flash fry them in truffle butter and simply serve them with
Thanks Paul – sounds delicious!
The peas were sown on 10th April. TopVeg has not grown the asparagus pea before and is our entry for the Growing Challenge
Peas pudding a traditional english recipe.
Peas pudding can be served chilled on toast with salad, or heated up with roast beef and gravy!
* *1 pack of bacon*
* *475gm split peas*
* *salt & pepper to taste*
* *place split peas in a large oven proof dish*
* *cover with water*
* *add salt and pepper to taste*
* *leave soaking overnight*
* *chop the bacon and add to the mixture*
* *place in an oven heated to 150C until just set*
* *cool and then put in the fridge*
Growing peas just for shoots is a novel idea.
Pea shoots are the leaves & stem from the top 2 to 6 inches of a younger pea plant, & include two
to four pairs of leaves and immature tendrils. They sometimes have small flower buds amongst them.
Two or three cuts of shoots are taken from each batch of seeds.
How To Grow Pea Shoots:
1. plant in early spring or late summer as peas grow best in cool weather. Young pea plants can withstand a little frost, though frost may damage the flowers and pods. As a winter crop, peas tolerate temperatures down to 28°F (-2°C) in the seedling stage, but top growth may be damaged when the temperature falls below freezing.
2. choose varieties suited for this such as:
- 1 inch deep
- 2 – 4 inches between peas (much closer than if growing for actual peas)
4. clip off the growing points plus one pair of leaves to encourage branching, when plants are 6 to 8 inches tall. These clippings are the first pea shoot harvest.
5. every three to four weeks – clip the top 2 to 6 inches of each plant.
6. keep harvesting until shoots taste bitter, late in the growing season. Three cuts per batch of seed is average.
7. wash and spin dry harvested pea shoots as you would lettuce.
Use pea shoots:
- in salads
- as a garnish
- lightly steamed and eat as a hot vegetable
Pea-shoots are a good source of vitamin K, C and are especially high in vitamin A.
Growing pea shoots is an easy way to produce fresh vegetables full of vitamins.
4 Comments »
Boy we are going to have the best vegetables ever with all of your helpful
hints. Our peas, sugar snaps, are about one inch out of the ground outside.
There is netting for them to attach to, is that right? I can’t wait to taste
the tips and have bushier plants as well. Great!
Frances at Faire Garden
Comment by Frances – March 10, 2008 11:39 am
I am not sure if you will do your sugar snaps much good by taking off the tips
if you are wanting them to climb up the netting and produce mange tout. I
think you have to go for one or the other – pea shoots or mangetout.
You could try taking the shoots off one plant – and see how it does, or
alternatively- plant a few more specially for pea shoots!
Comment by TopVeg – March 10, 2008 11:54 am
Can you do this with pole beans ? I just finished with my last harvest off of
my beans, but getting ready to plant again. They grow sooo fast down here.
Comment by Deb – March 11, 2008 4:25 pm
Not sure how tender and sweet they would taste. Sugar snap & mangetout peas
are particularly well suite for shoot harvest.
Why not try a few pole beans and let us know how you get on? It is worth a go!
Garden peas ( latin name – Pisum sativum) are in season. Peas planted in
the spring are ready for picking. Later sowings are still in flower.
TV Chef, Rachel Geen, has devised numerous recipes using peas which can
be found on peas.org
Downy mildew of peas (Latin name – Pisum sativum) is caused by Peronospora
viciae, which also infects broad beans. Downy mildew is regarded as the
most common foliar disease of peas and is a major problem in the UK,
particularly in the east. Late-drilled peas are the worst affected.
Downy Mildew Symptoms in Spring Beans & Peas
Yellowish blotches appear on the leaves, with a pale mauve or brown
mould on the underside. Infected pods are spotted and distorted.
Downy mildew is more likely to appear when temperatures are below 10°C,
& when crops have been wet for more than 12 hours.
Downy Mildew Control in Spring Beans
* Crop rotation reduces the possibility of downy mildew
* Plants affected with downy mildew should be burnt after picking
* Sprays are available to control downy mildew. Although the disease
may be present when the crop is in flower, no benefit will accrue
from spraying at this time. Always follow the manufacturer’s
instructions on the spray container.