Do you have wholesome childhood memories of munching on peas straight from the pod? Nothing tastes fresher and more delicious than a handful of garden peas, harvested in the summer. Perfect in soups, curries, risottos, and on their own as a snack, peas and mange tout are a delightful crop for gardeners at all levels. If you have peas leftover at the end of the season, they freeze beautifully. Best of all, they are nitrogen fixers, which means that they will actually improve the soil in your garden, and help other plants thrive. That’s why peas are so popular in crop rotation planning!
Even if you are unsure if the conditions in your garden are right for peas and mange tout, you can improve their chances of survival with a polytunnel. Polytunnels protect your harvest and make the entire process so much easier – they’re perfect for novices and seasoned pros alike. Read ahead to learn all about how to grow peas and mange tout, a delightful and delicious crop.
Peas are an easy-going plant that do well in moist, free-draining soil. Plant them in a sunny area of your garden for the best results. Various types of peas will thrive when planted at different times of the year. With just a little bit of careful planning, you can plant them in succession and have these healthy veggies from June to October![i] We love planting a mix of heritage seed varieties, mange tout, English peas, and sugar snap peas for a nice variety throughout the year.
Are you looking for the easiest pea varieties to grow? We suggest mange tout, sugar snaps, and dwarf versions of shelling peas.
Follow these steps to grow peas and mange tout:
It’s also possible to grow peas in a container, but do remember that your yield will be smaller and that they require a lot more water, around three times daily.[iv] You’ll also need to fertilise the soil regularly to replace the nutrients that are lost during irrigation. That said, it’s a perfect way to grow plants on a balcony, or as a fun project for kids. We think that a dwarf variety is your best choice, as it won’t overwhelm your space or get too big for your pot.
Choose your preferred container and ensure that it is at least 30 cm across, and that it has three to five drainage holes (you can make these with a hammer and a nail). Add soil to the container, leaving a few centimetres at the top. Space your pea seeds 5cm apart, approximately 3cm below the soil. Water them well, and add a few centimetres of mulch.
You can harvest your peas by hand, or with a pair of gardening shears. Clip or pluck them by the thin stem at the top of the pod.
When should you sow and harvest your peas?
March to April
July to August
Sowing your peas and mange tout: Sow your pea seeds in March or April on a clear day with no driving rain. If you worry about germination rates, you can soak your peas overnight before you sow them. Remember that round pea seeds tend to be hardier than wrinkly seeds. As a result, they’re better for earlier sowing, and wrinkled seeds are better for sweeter summer planting.[vi]
Harvesting your peas and mange tout: You’ll be ready to harvest peas and mange tout by July and August.Harvest mange tout and sugar snaps when they are big enough and enjoy eating them whole! They make a great addition to salads, stir-fries, and crudité platters. Prolong your harvest by picking them regularly. Harvest your shelling peas when the pods are chubby, and you can see the round peas inside. However, don’t let them get too big, as they can taste woody and bitter.
Peas are a delicious crop that is actually fun to grow, and even more fun to harvest! Try growing a few different varieties next year. We love the Kelvedon Wonder early peas, Oregon Sugar Pod mange tout, and the Balmoral late maincrop. Which will you grow?
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