One of my favourite memories from running a school gardening club was the day we harvested the first peas. One of the girls asked me what she was eating… I told her they were peas, and she replied that they looked like peas but tasted sooooo good they couldn’t possibly be peas! Homegrown peas, eaten straight from a pod just been picked from the plant are a taste revelation. Definitely worth finding a space for in the veg patch. And (as if that wasn’t enough), peas have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria which live on their roots, converting nitrogen from the atmosphere into a form plants can use. A crop that tastes fabulous and helps build healthy soil… win, win.
Sow : Directly into prepared ground in early spring. Plant seeds in staggered rows about 2.5cm deep and 7cm apart. If you have mice in the garden it might be worth stating the peas in pots or the cardboard tubes from the centre of toilet rolls (stand them upright in a large pot and fill with compost)… mice love to eat the seeds before they get a chance to germinate.
Grow : Depending on the variety, some plants will need support – use pea sticks pushed into the ground among the rows or pea netting strung between canes in the row. Watch for slugs as the seedlings push through the soil and start to grow. Keep watered in dry weather and weed free.
Harvest : Harvest when pods have filled with peas. Eat as soon as possible after picking for the best, sweetest flavour.