Peas are easy to grow, producing masses of pods loaded with sweet-tasting peas that can be eaten raw or cooked, and used in salads, stir-fries and as a traditional accompaniment to meat dishes. The sweetness of peas quickly diminishes after picking, so it’s best to eat them as soon after harvesting as possible.
There are many pea varieties to choose from, ranging from early maturing peas that can be sown in autumn and are ready to harvest in June, to maincrop cultivars that don’t mature until October. Dwarf varieties don’t need staking but produce fewer pods, while sugar snap and manetout peas are the easiest to grow.
Pisum sativum ‘Hurst Greenshaft’ is a maincrop pea variety, which produces a heavy crop of long pods, each with at least 10 peas per pod. The pods can be harvested from June to July and have an excellent flavour. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit.