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How to grow peas

Overview

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.


How to do it

Sowing pea seed

1Peas 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.


Pushing twiggy sticks into the soil

2Once the plants are around 15cm (6in) tall, plant them outside. Push twiggy sticks pruned from shrubs or trees in the soil to support them.


Planting out pea plants

3Carefully 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.


Training the peas to cling to their supports

4Encourage 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.


Watering the plants in

5Water the plants in well. Then, over the coming months, water them regularly, particularly during dry spells. For the best results, keep the soil moist.


Adam's tip

Peas prefer rich, moist soil, so prepare the ground well by forking in plenty of garden compost or well-rotted manure
Peas are vulnerable to attack from birds, so consider protecting them using netting
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


Discuss this project

Talkback: How to grow peas
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bella4legs 24/11/2011 at 15:29

I'm not sure about the different types of peas.

Linda Law 26/03/2012 at 18:48

I have read conflicting views about how far apart to plant. The packets says 2 inches but on this site it suggests 4-6?

janemillard 28/02/2014 at 12:16

I grow my peas in lengths of guttering with cardboard separators every 25cms. They are then very easy to slide out and plant more quickly in sections.

Alan4711 28/02/2014 at 13:50

Hi Bella, i can highly recommend Hurst Green shaft they are a cracker with heavy crops. 4" apart for us and 12" between rows this makes it easy to use both sides of your supports,we used a metre high chicken wire.

NewBoy2 28/02/2014 at 14:42

Im trying peas for the second time this season

I have been advised to place 3 - 4 foot tall  posts in the ground every 6 foot along and hang a net from a wire to form a partial wind break and to plant the peas on the side that the wind will blow from so the plants get pushed onto the netting

This allows you to weed easily in between

You can eithere use 2 lines of say 6 foot or one of 12 foot

I used twigs last year and it was impossible to weed or dificult to pick the peas

Good luck

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