Peas grow fast from seed. Eat them as sprouts or watch them grow into climbing plants with loads of pea pods to pick. There’s nothing like eating peas straight from the garden - just pop a pod open to find the sweet green peas inside. It’s the sweetest pea of all!
Did you know? A pea is a seed. The pea is only green because it is picked when still immature. A ripe pea (seed) is more yellow in colour.
Peas need somewhere to climb. A teepee makes a great climbing frame for the garden or build one in a large container. Make your teepee from sticks and twigs or bamboo stakes. Push stakes in firmly around the edges of a large container or make a circle in the garden. Tie them together at the top with garden string, then wind more string around the teepee frame to help the young pea seedlings climb. Once they produce tendrils, they’ll cling on all by themselves.
TIP: To help peas germinate faster, place them between damp paper towels the night before you sow.
Peas are ready to pick about 70 days after you sow the seed. Check the packet to find out the days to maturity for your variety and make a mark on the calendar. Sow a batch of seed every second week so you’ll be picking peas for months! Peas love growing in cool weather but they don’t like frost. If your winter is very cold sow peas in spring.
Peas are legumes, which means they have a special power - special ‘nitrogen fixing ’ microbes that live in their roots take nitrogen gas from the air and turn it into food for plants. Dig your old pea plants into the soil to feed your next vege crop.
A bunch of sweet peas is one of the sweetest, freshest scents of all. Old-fashioned varieties have the strongest perfumes. There are lots of beautiful varieties to try. Sow sweet peas in autumn to flower in early spring or in spring for summer flowers if your winter is very cold and frosty. But the seeds that form in pods after flowering are not edible!
Snow peas are delicious and you can eat the whole thing - pod and all! In France they’re called ‘mangetoute’ which means ‘eat all'.
Pea sprouts grow fast, and they’re good to eat. Pea sprout are baby pea plants, packed with nutrients. Try them in sandwiches or sprinkled over pizza or pasta. They are ready to eat in just two or three weeks and you can grow them from any kind of edible pea seed. Snow peas grow the fastest.
Pea roots don ’t like being moved once they’re growing but if your soil isn’t ready for planting yet you can easily sow seeds in biodegradable pots made from toilet rolls. The seedlings can then be planted pot and all, without disturbing their roots. The pot rots away as the plant grows.
Create a teepee in a large pot with bamboo stakes and plant 2-3 pea seed at the base of each stake.
A germinating pea seed.
Pea plants showing the flowers and tendrils that support their upward growth.
A crop of pea pods nearly ready to pick and eat.
Colourful but not edible sweet peas.