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 ‘Progress No. 9’ is one of the earliest long-podded pea varieties available. It produces a heavy yield of pointed, dark green pods, up to 11cm long, filled with up to nine peas. Grow in moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Sow seed successionally from March to August to enjoy peas all summer long.