Over the past few weeks, we have been harvesting “Easy Peasy” peas (Egmont Seeds) from our vines which have been cropping prolifically (see picture attached to this post). It is the first time that I’ve grown this variety and it’s one that I’d definitely sow again. Normally, I sow “Alderman”, also from Egmont Seeds (Kings Seeds stock it too), but last year the lovely folks at Egmont Seeds sent me an ENORMOUS box of seeds to grow in my garden and follow up on in my blog and on social media. “Easy Peasy” peas were one of the seed varieties given to me to try. I sowed these peas back in April, as I’d rather be harvesting peas in September than sowing them from scratch. The great thing about growing peas is they’re so easy, compared to, say, eggplants (read my last blog post which describes my disappointment so far this season). All I did with a wwoofer called Berengere from France was work a little compost and garden fertiliser into the soil (I used Thrive Granular All Purpose Plant Food from Yates), dig a trench along our fence line and sow the pea seeds in a row, covering them as we went. To help them to germinate, I soaked the seeds in some water overnight. This can be beneficial for any type of seed with a hard coating.
Peas generally require very little care once sown. I liquid fed my plants every fortnight with Thrive Vegie and Herb Liquid Plant Food from Yates. But even if you don’t liquid feed your plants, you’ll probably still be okay as plants don’t require as much fertiliser during the cooler winter months.
One of the great things about sowing peas in autumn is that they grow steadily during the winter and start flowering in the cooler months. Before you know it, it’s spring and you’re harvesting fresh peas from your garden. This is great at a time of the year when there aren’t many veggies in the garden that are ready to be picked. It also means that when they’ve finished producing, it will be time to sow beans in the same area. This ensures a good, continuous use of space in the garden. When I first started gardening I used to sow peas in September, but found that they developed mildew as the weather warmed up in November. Sowing them in autumn avoids this problem.
As with all fruiting veggies, the more you pick, the more the plants will produce so make sure you check for new peas every day! I don’t have children, but I imagine that this would be a task which kids would enjoy.
If you missed the opportunity to sow peas in autumn, it’s not too late to sow them now. You’ll probably be looking at harvesting them in December. What could be better than peas fresh from the garden on the table with Christmas lunch?
You might have noticed that garden centres sell pea seedlings in punnets, but personally I wouldn’t bother with them as they’re so easy to grow from seed. Besides, peas don’t transplant very well. Just make sure that you protect young seedlings from slugs and snails. Peas also require some support as they climb. We nailed some plastic trellis against our fence which is ideal, but you can be more creative and use an obelisk. If you’re handy, you could even have a go at making one yourself from some pieces of wood. I once saw such a DIY project in an old issue of the NZ Gardener magazine.
At the end of the season, you could do what I normally do and have a go at saving some seeds from your plants. All you have to do is let the peas on one plant remain (ie don’t harvest them) and allow the pods to dry on the plant. The process is very similar to saving seeds from beans.
Are you growing peas this season? If so, which varieties are you growing? Or are you harvesting peas right now, like me?