Posted: 18/08/2014 at 11:44
I've been growing Hurst Green Shaft for 2 years now and I really like them. They have long pods, tend to get 9 or 10 peas in most of them. They have a nice "garden pea" flavour. Have been reliable at coming up - about 4 non-shows from 150 seeds.
They do grow though! Mine are in a raised bed which accentuates it, I guess easily 5 feet high and would probably go taller still if the wind didn't batter them down when they poke above fence level! So make supports plenty tall enough, last year I didn't and a lot of them broke in high wind where they stuck out too far above the top of the supports, but kept on producing in a tangled mess!
I find it easiest to loosely tie a few stems to the canes/netting when they are young - they are great at gripping each other and will grip the net eventually but are in no hurry to do so!
I was also given some Kelvedon wonder which are shorter (might be considered dwarf?) and have shorter wrinkled pods. They seem to produce well but obviously you get fewer peas per pod, also they aren't as sweet as HGS so not really my kind of pea.
I sowed accross the raised bed this year so have 2 x 2' rows of HGS and 1 x 2' row of KW. The second round of HGS are about ready to pick (when you pick them they shoot out again and make more flowers) but I ended up with 600g of HGS in the freezer, so when you consider that I only freeze the ones I can't use the day I pick them I must have had at least 1.5 kg of peas from 4' of plants - and they are still going! I haven't frozen any KW, just pick as I need them.