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How to Grow Peas (continued, page 2)

How To Sow Peas

Prepare the soil in December to allow it to settle. Dig to at least a spade's depth (the roots of peas like to grow deeply), incorporating as much organic material as possible. Peat (or peat substitute) is fine because peas 'fix' nitrogen into their roots from the air and have little need for a nitrogen rich soil. Add a handful of bonemeal (two if the soil is poor) per square metre (yard), and incorporate it into the top soil.

Picture of Pea variety 'Kelvedon Wonder' Peas can be sown outside with no protection in March . If you want pea crops three or four weeks earlier, use a small poly-tunnel or cloche. Simply place the poly-tunnel in position two weeks before sowing (to warm up the soil), then sow the seed three or four weeks earlier than normal. Click here to buy a poly-tunnel or cloche online from our recommended suppliers.

An alternative to cloche protection is to sow the seeds in late February on a windowsill - if this is done, use peat pots (not plastic), because the seedlings can then be planted directly into the soil with the peat pot (the peat will quickly break down in the soil) - peas do not like their roots being disturbed. Remember to harden off the seedlings prior to planting permanently.

Prepare a shallow drill using a trowel, and sow the seed 2.5cm (1in) deep - where more than one row is being sown, the distance apart should equal the eventual height of the plants. Sow the seeds singly at 5cm (2in) intervals - the germination rate is high and over-crowding will affect the health of the plants. One method of increasing the success rate is to soak the pea seeds in water for 4 hours before planting. When planted, water well if the conditions are at all dry. The seedlings should appear in approximately 15 days time.

Care of Your Peas
The first key need of peas is moisture, and they must be watered throughout their lives when conditions become dry. If the soil has been well-prepared (see previous page) they will have no further need for feeding. A mulch of organic material around the plants will help to keep weeds at bay and preserve moisture. 

Support for peas - training peas pictureVirtually all pea plants will require support of some kind, consult the seed packet to find out their final height. The easiest method of support is to place twigs near the plants - the tendrils of the plant will twine around the twigs for support. Thinnings from conifers are ideal - see left diagram.

Diagram of supporting pea plantsAnother method is to erect canes in a row, tying in the plants as they grow - netting (available from most garden centres) tied to the canes will give extra support. The diagram on the right shows a row of canes secured together with twine at the top. Each plant is grown up its own individual cane and can then spread across the netting. 

Yet another method, and the best one from our view is to use wire netting. Plant two rows of peas and when they start to come up , "cage" them with wire netting.

Pea plants supported by wire mesh Click the picture on the left to enlarge it and see exactly what we mean.

The cage is simply supported by four canes at the corners. This method requires no tying in of the plants. And best of all, at the same time as supporting them it protects them from rabbits etc.

The plants should be pinched out when they reach the top to encourage shoots further down the plants. Where the plants are grown against a fence, plastic netting can be secured to the fence and the tendrils will cling to it pulling the plant up.



Name: Vishal Chandran
Date posted: September 04, 2011 - 01:02 pm
Message: i have a rose plant..quiet big..but there are no flowers...
please tell me what i have to do

Name: Elizabeth
Date posted: August 06, 2011 - 11:11 am
Message: I am a first time gardener and i don't understand alot of the terminology used in gardening. What is a Cloche? What is "pinching off" and how do I do that? Can I plant the seeds in August? I currently have in a small pot some peas, carrots and bok choy seeds planted in a bit of soil. I know that if I want them to grow soon, I will need to move them to the soil. So any and all advice is appreciated. Thanks.

Name: Gabrielle
Date posted: July 05, 2011 - 05:57 pm
Message: I have a couple of pea plant bushes. I have no idea how to plant them and I cant find any website that will tell me. How do I plant a pea bush? HELP!

Name: Bob
Date posted: June 24, 2011 - 12:33 pm
Message: This is first time that I have tried growing peas and something is cutting them off about 5 inches off ground. It is a clean cut at an angle. Suggestions??

Name: Azad nahar
Date posted: December 03, 2010 - 03:09 am
Message: Do not west a single " of land.Growing some thing whatever it may be for us or animals.