Saturday, 21 April 2012

A trio of Peas

A progress report on the peas...

Here's a general view of them, protected under netting in one of the raised beds.

The bed is 2.4 metres long and I sowed only one row - the other plants you can see behind the peas are Broad Beans. I divided the row into 4 parts, each approximately 60cm long, so that I could plant more than one type of pea, hoping that they would mature at different times. Actually I planted three types - Purple Podded Desiree (the two 60cm end-sections are devoted to these), Premium, and Boogie.

I sowed the peas pretty thickly, because I know that they usually don't all germinate (some will rot, and some will be stolen by mice). I didn't count them but I would estimate that in each 60cm stretch there must have been about 60 peas. The Desiree peas germinated first and most successfully:

Purple Podded Desiree

The other types did less well, with a fairly modest germination success rate. These are Premium:


And these are Boogie:


The Boogie peas seedlings have a very distinctive style - you can see why they got their name!

C'mon Man, let's Boogie!

I've shown in a previous post the support structure I use for my peas, which is a piece of chicken-wire stretched between two stout wooden posts. Here you can see the bottom part of it. The chicken wire is stabilised by three bamboo canes which also serve to mark the boundary between the various types of pea.

Premium (Left) and Boogie (Right)
Since the Premium and Boogie varieties look a bit thin on the ground, I have put in a second sowing of both types - just pushing a few more seeds into the soil, with my finger, wherever there was a gap. This will definitely prolong the cropping season, because the later batch will be about a month or so behind the first one.

I know I'm never going to get a huge quantity of peas from one little row, but believe me - it's worth it! Home-grown peas (especially the ones stolen when you are "just checking to see if they are ready") are so much nicer than ones bought in a shop, which have probably been picked several days before you buy them. As soon as the pods are picked the sugars in the peas start turning to starch, so eating peas as soon as possible after harvesting is highly desirable. I remember once seeing on TV how Birds Eye Frozen Peas are made. They are often harvested in the middle of the night because they have to be frozen and packed within 24 hours of picking and every minute is precious, and I have to admit that frozen peas are generally nicer than "fresh" ones (other than those you grow yourself of course!).

By the way, if you think my little row of peas is neat, you should visit Daphne's Dandelions and see how well-organised Daphne's pea-production arrangements are - most impressive!


  1. All my peas are sugar snaps or snow peas. For some reason I'll shell beans, but I won't for peas. So I never grow regular peas anymore. I used to when my daughter was around. She loved peas. But she would eat them in the garden so I wouldn't have to shell them myself.

  2. It's looking brilliant - I just love your veggie garden

    Can you tell my where you bought your plastic ridged cloches please?

    1. Hi Lottie; Re your comment on my blog about the cloches... I got them from a place called, based in Tamworth, but lots of places (like most of the big seed companies) sell the same ones. They are called "Longrow" cloches, made by Parasene. Approx £35 each.

  3. I love peas eaten fresh from the pod, no taste quite like it. Mine are still in the greenhouse as I started them in modules to be planted out at a later date. The second sowing will be direct. I'm trying my best to stagger and prolong the harvest.

  4. Our peas are in pots in the cold greenhouse - we haven't managed to get any sown directly yet!

  5. I was waiting for the weather to warm up a bit before I planted mine out - it looks like I will have to plant them regardless. Every year I say I'm not going to bother with peas but I always succumb as I love them so much.

  6. We didn't plant peas this year but yours sure are looking great!

  7. I never get very many peas but I almost always plant some just because the taste of even a few fresh from the garden is wonderful.

  8. 60 pea plants - that's a lot, even if only half generate thats a loovely lot of peas....we grow ours in winter and mine have just come up. Hope the snails keep away....

  9. This is a great post. This is the first year I am plants peas and beans. I have only two peas plants and three french beans plants. I am planning to plant them by-annually as the weather here supports them (according to the Indian gardening association of course!)

  10. I'm in the "you can ever have enough peas" camp! I'm envious of the space you have to devote to them. We have just enough for eating while gardening, with some left for the kitchen, but never enough to freeze for later!

  11. They look great. I've never bought fresh peas but remember eating home grown from my grandfather's plot. And this year I'm growing them for the first time - Show Perfection is the variety - will see if they live up to expectations.

  12. I've just planted my peas for the winter crop as well. Though now having read how densely you planted yours I'm thinking I should go and push a few more seeds into the ground. I certainly won't be having a glut of peas, but Miss Three just loves to eat them while we're playing in the garden so they're worth it just for that. And hopefully I'll be able to pick enough for at least one meal for the rest of us.


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