Nothing tastes better than home grown peas picked straight off the plant and nibbled whilst walking through the garden on a warm summer’s morning.

Peas can be sown from mid-March. Sow small batches of seed every few weeks for a succession of harvests.

When sowing seeds always keep an eye on the weather. This March has turned out to be especially cold and peas sown in cold, wet ground are liable to rot. It is possible to start peas off early in a greenhouse, polytunnel or cold frame and plant them outside once the soil has warmed up. However, peas dislike their roots being disturbed. To prevent this we use a technique where peas are sown into lengths of old guttering.

What to do:

  1. Cut a length of guttering to the same length as the row of peas you want to achieve.
  2. Drill drainage holes at regular intervals along the base.
  3. Fill with compost and sow the seeds about 7.5cm apart in a zig zag pattern.
  4. Cover the seed with compost and water well.
  5. Place the gutter in a greenhouse, polytunnel or coldframe.
  6. Once the seedlings are about 10 cm high gradually acclimatise the plants to outside conditions. For 2 weeks take the gutter outside for progressively longer periods of time.
  7.  In order to transplant the seedlings, dig out a shallow trench and gently slide the whole row of pea seedlings into it.
  8. Whilst the plants are growing provide support such as fine twiggy branches or netting.
  9. Once the plants start producing pods pick them regularly.

Top tip:

Pea roots are full of nitrogen-fixing bacteria.  After harvest cut the stems off at ground level, allowing the roots to rot down and release nitrogen back into the soil for the next crop.