To Sow Peas
Prepare the soil in
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
Peas can be sown outside with no protection in
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.
to buy a poly-tunnel or cloche online from our recommended suppliers.
alternative to cloche protection is to sow the seeds in
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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