It’s the season to plant your mouth watering, sweet green crunchy peas. I am not sure which is my favourite, snow peas or sugar snaps, they are both so good! Each year I sow peas from mid Autumn right through until the middle of Spring and this year I will be sowing six times, spacing each of the sowings about 3 weeks apart. All going well, this should ensure that I have a steady supply of the sweet crunchy pods for around five months. With a bit of planning and not too much effort I reckon I can expect to be rewarded with a bountiful harvest from a small space. This is how, with some Proper Preparation I Plan to Produce Perfect Peas.
Select the best spot: Find a spot in the garden where you have not had peas or beans growing for the last 12-18 months. Good crop rotation principles will improve yields and reduce the impact of diseases spreading. Full sun in winter is best.
Prepare the garden: Add well rotted compost and manure to the soil. Use cow or sheep manure. Avoid chicken because it is high in nitrogen. Dig the soil well and rake the bed into a fine tilth. Then open a furrow 3-4cm deep and place a garden stake at either end. Use these stakes to attach your wire mesh to. The mesh will support the peas as they grow. I also spread sugar cane mulch either side of the row to reduce weed growth.
Sow the seeds: It’s not essential, but if you can soak your seed overnight in water so they swell you will improve your germination rate. Into the furrow sow the pea seeds in a line, spaced 5cm apart. Cover with 2cm of soil and give them a good soaking of water. Don’t water them again until they emerge, this is so you reduce the chance of the seed rotting.
Thin the seedlings: When they are 5-8 cm tall, thin the row of seedlings so that they are spaced around 10cm apart. I aim to have 10-12 plants per 1m row.
Feed the crop: Apply a half strength brew of your favourite liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks for the first 6 weeks. Then you can use a full strength brew if you think they need it.
Watering: Water once or twice a week if you are not getting much seasonal rain. It’s easy to over water peas, but if you need to water them keep the foliage dry if you can, to prevent diseases.
Pests: Snails and slugs are the main problem pest and they can wipe out your seedlings overnight if you are not vigilant. If you don’t like using snail bait, use a beer trap or coffee grounds to deter the blighters. A really good solution is a night patrol with a torch and a size 10 boot! – my personal favourite.
Diseases: The main disease issue is mildew. I use a preventative spray of Eco fungicide on a fortnightly basis and if I get an outbreak, I will strengthen the mixture and increase frequency. The best prevention for mildew is to keep them healthy and dry if you can.
So that’s how I grow my peas. Follow these easy steps, and I am confident that you will be able to brag to the neighbours about the bumper crop of peas that you are crunching every chance you can.