Pea Seeds

Many young people today have never seen a pea-pod and only recognise peas if they come out of a plastic bag. This is a sad state of affairs as home-grown peas are like a different vegetable. Although peas do freeze very well, to get the sweetest flavour they require picking young and cooking within 30 minutes of harvest before the sugar has changed to starch. Only the tallest varieties require support in the form of netting, allow about the same distance between rows as the height of the variety. Regular watering is essential once the plants are in flower and pod. Two main predators attack peas when first sown, mice will steal seeds so set traps under tiles, birds delight in eating the young seedlings, either twine between sticks or best of all wire or netting covers shaped like cloches to keep them at bay. The worst pest in mature crops is Pea Moth causing maggots within the pods, spray with a suitable chemical about 7 days after flowering begins. The list has been divided into First Early, Second Early and Maincrop to help plan a succession of crops but good results can be achieved by successional sowing. Pick the pods from the bottom of the plant upwards, use two hands to avoid damage to the stem. Pods do have a habit of hiding under the foliage, seek them out as yields will be much less if pods remain on the plants to get old and large. The traditonal method of sowing is to make a drill about 12-15cm wide and 4-5cm deep, seeds are then placed about 5cm apart throughout the drill, watered and then filled in. If tall varieties are being grown, the support should be in place as soon as possible after the seedlings appear.