How to grow peas

Do it:

Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Feb

Takes just:

15 minutes

Peas are straightforward to grow and are so sweet and delicious when freshly harvested that they can be eaten raw. There are three main types: shelling peas (where only the actual peas are eaten), sugar snaps (where the entire, fleshy pod is eaten) and mangetouts (which are best eaten whole when the pod is flat, with only tiny peas inside).

All pea types are well worth the effort of growing, but sugar snaps and mangetouts are particularly sweet if home-grown, bearing little resemblance to shop-bought ones.

Most peas are best grown with support, such as pea netting or twigs. They are pretty enough to grow in ornamental borders so they're worth growing even if you don't have a vegetable plot.

You will need

  • Pea seeds
  • Seed compost if sowing indoors
  • Root trainers or toilet roll holders if sowing indoors
  • Pea sticks
  • Protective netting

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Peas sown directly in the soil can be eaten by slugs, snails and mice. For better results, raise them indoors in individual pots 8cm (3in) deep or root trainers.

Once the plants are around 15cm (6in) tall, plant them outside. Push twiggy sticks pruned from shrubs or trees in the soil to support them.

Carefully remove the plants from the root trainers or pots, without disturbing their roots. Plant them with the compost they grew in around 10-15cm (4-6in) apart, with the same distance between each row.

Encourage the plants to grow up the supports by gently twining them around the sticks. You may even need to gently tie them to the supports initially so they don't flop over.

Water the plants in well. Then, over the coming months, water them regularly, particularly during dry spells. For the best results, keep the soil moist.

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Even a single pod left to mature on the plant can dramatically reduce the number of flowers and pods produced, so pick your peas regularly to keep them cropping

Discover more ideas and inspiration

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