It’s the year of the pea here in the deep south. With a spring like the one we’re having, it has to be! It’s far too cold for anything else to grow! But chin up – onward and upwards (literally, if you’er a pea) because there’s no point planting tomatoes and cucumbers when it’s too cold even for carrots. So peas it is – row after row of them.
Peas are amazing. They may not grow fast when the weather is damp and cold, but they don’t give up, either. Consequently, I’m sowing more of them each day. After all, they’re one of the few proteins you can get without having to actually go out and slaughter anything. These purple ones are the prettiest.
I grew them for the first time last year, and despite their being a teensie weensie bit on the woody side if left to fill out the pod (best eat them when they’re French petit-poit sized) they are so beautiful to behold. I spent more time drawing mine than I did eating them!
Sugar snaps and snow peas are the first to go in the ground, of course. That happened way back in September. And because they grow a couple of metres high, tricky planning is required to support them. A tee-pee of stakes is what I use, plus my patent tee-pee wrap-around to get them started. The plastic seals in the moisture and any heat that’s on offer, while offering protection from cold winds.
As soon as the peas are away on their own, I unveil them to the world (and the birds, unfortunately).
Good old garden (excuse the pun) varieties of pea are sown on-goingly throughout the season, though if it gets dry (a rarity in The Catlins!) they do need to be watered ‘cos peas really don’t like to dry out.
My pea tips:
* add a few handfuls of lime to the soil prior to sowing
* soak the peas overnight before sowing to hurry along germination
* protect with netting or plastic and slug bait until the peas are several centimetres high
* grow loads – they’re protein-rich and require no butchering
* builder’s reinforcing iron makes a great climbing frame