This year I'm having another try with peas.
In the past whenever I grew peas they were a disappointment - small crops, and big problems with mildew. Pea-moth grubs were sometimes an issue too. I see this as a challenge though: I must do better! Since I last grew peas (probably 6 or 7 years ago) I have improved the soil in my raised beds a lot; in fact I have improved the raised beds a lot! The new-pattern beds are much deeper and thus retain moisture better, which I'm sure the peas will welcome.
My peas are also in a bed that has never had legumes in it, and is sited away from my main patch of six raised beds, which means that it will be in a different "micro-climate" area. I think the incidence of mildew is increased when ventilation is poor, so I have tried not to over-crowd the plants. I had also read that the application of volcanic rock-dust reduces the chance of mildew, so I added some of that Seer Rockdust that I bought. All these are factors that may contribute towards success. So far, things are looking pretty good, and the plants seem very healthy. There are flowers on them, so the prospect of eating home-grown peas is now real again.
A couple of days ago I removed the chicken wire that had been protecting the peas and their attendant beetroot plants, because the peas were beginning to grab hold of the wire. If the wire were to remain in place it would be very difficult to pick the pea-pods, so off it came. Unfortunately the badgers and other nocturnal creatures like to root around in the soil at the edges of the raised beds, so I have done my best to protect the little beetroot plants by creating a forest of sticks. It might work...
The beetroot is far from ready, but it looks OK so far. Fortunately the foliage on the peas is relatively sparse, so even the row of beetroot in the centre seems to be getting enough light.
This is the first actual pod to form. It is on one of the "Douce Provence" plants:
So far the twiggy pea-sticks I used are proving sufficient. Now that the plants are flowering I don't expect them to get much taller. The metal posts I installed are there in case I need to add a few strings for extra support, but at present it doesn't look as if they'll be needed.
Hopefully before very long I will be reporting a harvest of peas. I wonder if any of them will make it as far as the kitchen...?