Patience With Peas

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Heritage Pea: Sutton Purple Podded

One vegetable, Gardeners will agree with me, that can be hit or a total disaster, is Peas.

If its not Mice, Pigeons or Slugs as the main pests, than it’s the Cut worm! Not actually a worm by a Moth Larva (cut or bite marks are left all around the leaves and stems of young plants), if unlucky these Larvae can decimate your seedlings overnight. Just as much as we love these lovely sweet home grown peas, SO DO THEY!

Telephone Pea

In the past I have tried growing them straight to the plot, but one of the above pests has always got to them first, so last year I invested in ‘deep root trainers’ to start off peas, beans and sweetcorn. You can also use these deep root trainers to start your sweet peas in. The less disturbance the roots get the stronger the plants grow.

I cannot sing enough praises for 2 varieties of Peas:Sutton Purple Podded from Heritage Seed Library and Telephone Peas from Real Seed Catalogue.

When you receive seeds from the HSL e.g.Sutton Purple Podded peas, you will receive only a few seeds, say 10 seeds, these are to grow and enjoy but you are encouraged to also save some for creating own seeds. Last year, I planted 5 seedlings (having started them off in the deep root trainers) in the allotment, and all were attacked by slugs. As you know Rekha NEVER gives up, started the next sowing, this time planted out in a 10ltr plastic pot and kept these at home in the back garden, under a watchful eye; all were earmarked for seed ONLY. 

To be honest I could not resist……. I did have a cheeky pod here and there…before you go asking….it was purely for assurance and quality control purposes, as one must do ?. 

Drying out Sutton Purple Podded Peas

As for Telephone Peas; apparently its a well know old variety of Peas, loved by many Gardeners. Last year I grew some for consumption and left some Pea plants allowing to go to seed, in order to have my ‘own seed’ to plant in the following years to come. 

Plants were kept covered until about 50cm in height; removed the protection, and just in case (as a deterrent for Pigeons), tied 4 small lengths of ordinary shiny silver Ribbons to the bean poles and simply allowed the plants to carry on climbing, as the name suggests the plants grew approximately 2 metres in height, and to my surprise not a single plant or pod was attacked.

So for this year I am now planting these own saved seeds of Telephone Peas (and will also be sowing my own saved seeds of the Sutton Purple Podded Pea, around late April). I hope to sow throughout the growing season, in succession, aiming for fresh peas hopefully harvesting right up until early September.

Soaked overnight and ready to pot.
Deep root trainers

I pre-soaked 64 seeds to pot into 32 modules, and to my surprise they all doubled in size so decided not to plant 2 per pot, but only 1 per pot, and have had a very successful 100% growth. Waste not want not; the other 32 seeds were potted on too, as back ups, so now I have 64 seedlings. I am not complaining, just really amazed, at the success rate of my own saved seeds.

By mid to end of March these seedlings should be ready to plant out, once they have been ‘hardened off’ (climatised to outdoor temperatures) in the cold frame by moving them into the Cold Frame during the day and back in the Greenhouse at night for about a week, then left in the Cold Frame, day and night for another week. Finally planting outdoors in a well prepped area which has been conditioned with either homemade compost or farmyard manure

A home made brew of Comfrey Tea (which is naturally rich in NPK: Nitrogen Phosphorus and Potassium) will be applied regularly, once flowers have set in, so no need to purchase any feeds, growing either in the garden or the allotment. 

How to make your own Comfrey Tea? Look out for my next blog.

I would love to know how you start your pea seeds and what your favourite ‘to go to’ varieties are? Drop me a comment or you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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