A cool season favourite, peas are great whether they are eaten raw or cooked up in an Asian stir-fry. Both snow peas and garden peas are delicious, have similar growing requirements and are easy to grow. They are the ultimate winter treat.
Being a climber, snow pea and pea plants will need a trellis to grow onto. It’s easiest to install this before planting so as not to risk damaging young plants. Ready-made trellises can be bought from garden centres. They can also be constructed from 3 or more tall sticks wound together with twine and meeting at the top to create the shape of a teepee. As peas are tall plants, any trellis should stand at least 1.8m high.
Peas prefer to be sown in their final position. Find a position in full sun and cultivate the soil by digging in Searles Kickalong Vegetable & Herb Organic Plant Food. Plant peas about 9cm apart and (for seeds) 35mm deep. Although peas grow better in the cool season, young plants will need protection from frost and plants won’t flower until frosts have passed.
Like most vegetables, peas like an alkaline soil. If your soil is acid, dig in some lime and allow it to settle for at least a week before planting. Add some compost and ensure good drainage. Soil that has been heavily manured the season before is ideal.
Pea seeds are large and easy to handle. Water when planted. If planting seedlings, make sure you follow the directions regarding depth and keep them well watered for the first week to prevent dryout.
Peas, like other legumes, produce their own fertiliser (nitrogen) so they usually require very little nurturing. Searles Liquid Potash can be applied to boost flower and pod production.
Feeling like a healthy snack? Munch away! The more peas you pick, the more they will produce, so harvest them as soon as they reach their full size. Continual harvest will encourage more pods and a longer season.
Being an annual crop, peas will die at the end of their season. When they have finished, plant leafy vegetables (such as lettuce, silver beet, cabbage or broccoli) in their place. If you’re not growing vegetables, any plants that grow lush, leafy foliage will benefit from being planted in a previous pea bed. This is because the nitrogen that peas ‘fix’ in the soil is an important nutrient for healthy foliage growth in other plants, so rotating crops in this way can make the most of this natural boost of nutrients.