Peas are a type of legume and easy to grow. They are nitrogen fixing so need less fertilizer than other crops. They prefer soil that is not freshly manured.
In kitchen gardens peas are a good crop to precede brassicas.
Start with weed-free soil as peas are difficult to weed once they get growing.
Peas prefer a sunny sheltered site with moderately fertile, well-drained soil.
Peas need protection from birds (especially wood pigeons).
Sow 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm) deep in shallow, flat bottomed trenches around 6 inches (15 cm) wide.
Space seeds 2-3 inches (5-7cm) apart – further for taller cultivars, closer together for dwarf types.
Early selections can be sown in late winter or early spring for an early summer crop.
Sow successively until early summer.
Water during dry spells if flowering.
Sow hardy (round seeded) over-wintering types (such as Douce Provence) in mid- or late-autumn for a late-spring crop. In colder areas these need cloches to survive the winter.
One of the best methods of supporting peas is to stretch netting between posts or canes around your row of peas, creating a pea ‘hedge’, with plants supported from all sides.
Use scissors when harvesting as stems are fragile. Pick as soon as pods are ready.
If your peas have gone over you can dry them and make your own mushy peas or pea soup. Or save them for next year as peas usually come true from seed.
Types of Pea
Edible pods – sugar snaps or mangetout.
Leafless Peas – pea shoots
Shelling Peas – most of the traditional cultivars.