Further information: Pea plants
Where to grow? – Pea plants do best in an open, sunny site sheltered from strong winds.
How to grow? – Pea plants thrive in deep, fertile and well-drained soil. If your soil is poor then it’s worth digging a trench and throughout winter filling it with a mixture of well-rotted garden compost and soil. Once growing pea plants don’t need feeding as they manufacture their own nitrogen from the air.
Do give support to the taller varieties. Traditional pea sticks (twiggy branches) are great but netting, cane wigwams, etc. will all do the job.
When to harvest? – Depends on the variety but with garden peas pick when the pod is well filled but there is still a space between each pea. Start picking from the bottom of the stem and work upwards taking great care not to damage the stem.
Mangetout are best picked when 5 – 8cm in length.
Regular picking will encourage your pea plants to keep cropping. Once the crop has come to an end cut the plants down and compost but do leave the roots in the ground. The nitrogen nodules in the roots will fertilise the next crop.
How to eat? – Those that make it to the kitchen are best eaten fresh and only cooked lightly. Steam or boil them gently and then dip in butter or a sauce of your choice. Older peas can be pureed, turned into soup or eaten with fish and chips in the form of mushy peas.
As alike as two peas in a pod