In my previous post, I mentioned that our wwoofers Ivan and Bérangère sowed some “Easy Peasy” peas from Egmont Seeds against the back trellis near our washing line. I thought that it would be a good idea to write a growing guide for peas. They are incredibly easy to grow. It’s not too late (or early, depending on how you look at it) to sow some now, as we have done.
When to sow
Traditionally, peas are sown in spring but you can get a head start by sowing them in autumn. They grow slowly over winter but mid-spring, you can be harvesting your own fresh peas from the garden once the bees pollinate the flowers. It’s nice to have something ready in the garden at a time when there aren’t many crops to harvest. I’ve found that peas sown in autumn actually grow better than ones sown in spring, which inevitably end up succumbing to humidity as temperatures increase.
If you sow your peas now, your trellises will be vacant by November, when it’s warmer and you’ll be wanting to sow beans.
Where to plant peas
Peas prefer a sunny position in the garden. Like beans, peas need some support. They climb and weave their way up as they grow. . It’s ideal if you use a trellis and/or a fence. We use plastic green trellis which you can easily find at Bunnings and Mitre 10. The trellis is fixed to our back fence, where our washing line is located.
There are lots of varieties of peas on the market. This year, I’m excited to be growing Easy Peasy from Egmont Seeds. In the past, I have also grown Alderman Tall Climbing peas, which I became aware of when my gardening friend Rob Hammington gave me some seeds from his Koanga seed collection. They are also available from Egmont Seeds. Other varieties you might like to try include Feathers Tendrill, Greenfeast, Mammoth Melting, Onward and Sugar Snap Tall, all from Egmont Seeds. Dwarf varieties include Dwarf Massy and Dwarf Sugar Snap from Egmont Seeds. For stir fries, you might like to grow snow peas (or mange tout). Egmont Seeds has a variety of snow pea called Oregon.
How to sow peas
As peas have a hard coat, it’s a good idea to soak seeds overnight before you sow them. This aids their germination.
Prior to planting, make sure that you prepare the ground well. Dig the site over. I like to mix compost, sheep pellets and some general garden fertiliser into the area beforehand. Use a stick to make holes approximately 3 cm apart and place each pea seed in the hole. Cover as you plant the seeds. Afterwards, water well. Protect against snails and slugs using pellets or an alternative means if you are gardening organically.
You should find that your peas germinate in approximately 14 days. As mentioned above, if sown in autumn, you should be harvesting peas by spring. If sown in spring, you can expect to harvest peas in approximately 12 weeks.