What I’ve learned about Peas


As you can see, the Peas are in full swing. I have learned some useful things about peas this year that I want to share with you. Firstly, I grew two varieties, Kelvedon Wonder (my usual) and Rondo (a new variety for me). Early on in the year I sowed both seed separately in lengths of guttering in the coldframe. Then once it got a bit warmer I put the guttering peas out and started to sow peas directly into the ground. I alternated between Kelvedon and Rondo so that I would have a successional crop of both varieties.

This sounds nice and neat on paper but in reality it didn’t work out so well. This was for several reasons. The first was that the two varieties germinated and grew at different rates. So even though I sowed them at different times, the Rondo seeds seemed to catch up on the Kelvedon pretty quick. Secondly, Kelvedon is a very short, squat variety that produces short(ish) pods with big fat peas inside. Rondo is a tall variety (1.5 metres at least) that produces larger pods with the peas spaced out inside. However, the pea sticks that I put in were really not designed to support a pea that tall and eventually the Rondo peas started to flop over – putting them at risk of slug attack and also they started to shade my carrots (which incidentally I planted way too close to my peas).

So now both varieties are pumping out at the same time and I have more peas than I can eat. So I’m busy harvesting peas everyday and freezing them until I can use the. I’m also stuffing as many into my mouth on a daily basis too – don’t want to miss out on that fresh, green taste.

So what I’ve learned is that if I grow two varieties then they should be grown in separate beds with appropriate support. And maybe choose some more distinct early and late varieties.

11 Comments on “What I’ve learned about Peas

  1. I did the same thing with cherry tomatoes one time, i calculated ripening times wrong and ended up with three varieties of cherry tomatoes at the same time- there is only so much tomato salad a person can eat :P and only so many times you can give the neighbours tomatos without them running away every time they see you approach with a ruby filled plastic bag :P

  2. Peas are a delight to grow!
    It is interesting to hear about your experiences with the different varieties maturing at different times. I have only grown peas that climb high up a support structure of some kind, so have placed them away from veggies that require lots of sun (I make up for the nitrogen with green manure crops).

    My Grandmother never minded if we ate peas off the bushes (as many as we wanted) as long as we never ate from the bowl that she had shelled for eating! (then we were in trouble!)

    I hope next year proves to be a better crop!

  3. You’re continually learning when you garden, which helps to make it interesting, if a little frustrating. Our pea pods have justed started to set, so we are hopeful.

  4. Are you shelling-blanching-freezing? or freezing whole? or some other thing? I have a shelling variety and a sugar snap variety, and am likely to have too many of both.

  5. You mentioned carrots! I don’t know what happened to ours but I am now on the third sowing. Nothing germinated yet last year we had a good crop. I despair since carrots fresh from the ground are such a great joy and my grandchildren love them with all their lovely ‘feathers’ on top. Hope your little jackson has some doting grandparents around

  6. Pea Moth,

    So what I have learnt is not to ignore advice about netting and pea moth. Brought hom ebountiful crop today only to have to throw away 2/3rds. The only thing is though I hate it that all the plot is ending up netted and even in blcak it looks ugly.
    Off now to pick cut flowers before they go to seed. Some lovely Malope trifida filling the sitting room.

  7. You make an interesting and valid point. I have the same with my broad beans this year, one older traditional variety and a new one for this year. A good idea to have an early variety and a late variety for a longer growing season and no glut.

  8. Good idea, Matron. I always use Aqua Dulce and try and sow my braod bean seed in November or January, to avoid blackfly, but I’m finding the pods aren’t always full, presumably because they’re in flowerbefore there are too many bees about. I don’t entirely avoid blackfly this way, anyway.

    Maybe I should try a late variety as well and be vigilant for blackfly.

  9. Hello mtp,

    I enjoy growing vegetables in two little beds in my back garden and am on the list for an allotment (I was number 64, I have now risen to twentysomething, there is hope that I may get one oneday!) I recently discovered your site and am reading through past posts a bit every day (I am in January 06 now). Anyway, my point. It is my birthday on Monday and I hope to get a gardening magazine subscription, you post sometimes about things you’ve seen in magazines (and things you’ve written!) so I was wondering which one you would suggest I got. I mainly like veg, fruit and salad and don’t grow many ornamental things.

    Hope you can help me out! Keep up the good work,


  10. Hello, Gemma, I hope you don’t mind me telling you about gardening magazines I find useful. If you want something that tells you how to grow food, I’d recommend Kitchen Garden magazine http://www.kitchengarden.co.uk/ , which I bought for several years. If like me, you are interested in growing food with the environment in mind, then try the Organic Gardening Magazine http://www.organicgardeningmagazine.co.uk/

    My local W H Smith stocks a reasonable supply of these each month. I don’t know about other newsagents as I live in a one newsagent town.

    I think good, easy to understand but well-informed gardening books are the best, but you need to make time to sit down and study them. The book that accompanied Carol Klein’s tv programme, ‘Grow Your own Veg’ is colourful and easy to read, but also has lots of info and good advice, so that could be a good one to start with.

  11. Thank you Karin,

    I will certainly check out the two magazines that you suggested. I have Carol Klein’s book at home, it really is a nice one isn’t it?

    I haven’t read either of the magazines that you suggested before – so thank you! I have occasionally read Gardener’s World which seems to have a bit too much of everything else and not enough fruit and veg. I bought Grow Your Own once which is definitely the right ethos for me but I was distracted by quite a lot of trivial mistakes in it (spelling and formatting). Maybe it has got better now though!

    Thank you!