Peas grown and eaten fresh from the pods are delicious and sweet. Peas are part of the Legumes family and come in different varieties and they can be sown from late February onwards; earlier sown the sooner you can pop those pods!
Weather will have a factor and so it is recommended that you sow indoors or in cloches this early. However, sowing early and protected helps prevent problems like Pea Moth or getting eaten by mice.
Sowing in some guttering is effective for space-saving in your greenhouse and also for transferring into your prepared trench by sliding them in when you plant them out. Prepare a trench to plant them in rows and spaced for growth; staggered rows allow more room. They need to be sown approximately 2 inches deep and 3 inches apart. Make your trench wide enough for two rows and they can effectively grow on either side of your support system.
They will require support unless you have opted for a dwarf variety. Peas have climbing twine-type foliage that can grow around wire or string. You can run this around and in between each cane support to construct a make-shift trellis/fence for them to grow. Ensure it is sturdy enough to withhold the weight when they produce pods and can withstand any windy conditions.
Peas like well-drained soil and do not require added manure. Their root systems allow them to produce their own nitrogen. If the soil is acidic, add some lime.
Peas require regular watering during dry spells. You can also add some mulch to retain the moisture in the soil. Peas like the cool Spring weather; not too hot and not too cold.
During late Spring and into the Summer, they will flower and then grow pods.
Once the pods fatten up and bulge, your pea pods should be ready for harvesting. Pick them regularly to encourage re-growth and start from the bottom up. You will sample one or two for sure...they may not even reach a pan at home being so deliciously sweet!
You can eat them fresh and are a lovely crunchy addition to a salad. You can cook them and you can freeze them. Freeze a bumper harvest quickly to lock in the freshness. Alternatively, they can be dried. The pods are edible too.