Supporting peas

I’ve planted out some Sugar Snap peas on the plot. This is a variety that allows you to harvest the pods when they’re young and tender to eat whole, or allow some to develop the peas inside and harvest them for podding. So I decided it was worth doing a full row of these. I haven’t had the greatest success with peas in the past, but I persevere every year, hoping to learn by past mistakes.

The main problem I have is that they need a fair amount of water in order to produce good healthy pods, and not run to seed too quickly. Last spring and summer was so dry, the peas and beans really suffered.

When it comes to supporting peas, I’ve tried various methods. Netting strung between bamboo canes, which was fine until we had some strong wind and it blew down. Twiggy sticks, which weren’t very successful as it was a nightmare to weed around them, and the bindweed eventually took over. So this has become my best method: good old chicken wire, supported by canes which I weave through the wire and push into the ground.

I plant the peas alternately on either side of the wire, and encourage the little tendrils to cling on. So long as the canes are pushed firmly in the ground, this seems to be pretty wind proof (even here in the Fens) and they have plenty of vertical space to cover.

Things are speeding along on the plot now – got 6 rows of potatoes in, 1 row of Early Nantes carrots, 1 row of Purplette spring onions, 2 rows of broad beans and the peas above. A continuos production line of seeds (sowing, hardening, pricking out) going on at home.

And my first lettuces have made it onto the plot. Though how long these will last before the slugs find them, or they die of thirst, I don’t know. I’ll give them a try, but I’m starting to realise there are some things which are perhaps better grown at home, where I can keep a close eye on them.

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