Friday, April 13, 2012

How should I Tie my Peas?

Pea Tee Pees

Hi Peter,
As a first time gardener watching the recently planted snow peas grow could you recommend a tying process to the 1 meter stake to which I plan to support their growth.
To date they seem very flimsy and I don’t want to over or under support them.
Kind regards,

What a fantastic question. As a nursery industry professional I tend to overlook some of the things that we take for granted.  Click on the images to see some excellent sites offering tips on growing Peas.

Fancy Pea Trellis

Clearly there is no need to worry about over supporting peas. I will recommend Jolly Garden Ties, they're like a long roll of tee shirt material off cuts. Old nylon stockings, if you have access to them are also very gentle on soft shoots.

Utilitarian trellis

The question about Peas reminded me that now is an ideal time to plant Peas, Snow Peas and Snap Peas (my personal favourite, very sweet).  In Melbourne's climate they will grow quite happily through winter, if frosts are severe protection with a cloche will help. We will stop sowing Green Beans this week but we have just started sowing Broad Beans, "a springtime treat" according to Stephanie Alexander. The biggest issue I am aware of with Peas is Powdery Mildew which is best controlled by growing the plants in a sunny position and keeping them growing vigorously with plenty of nutrient and water as needed.

Peas and Broad Beans are terrific vegetables especially for novice vegie gardeners, they are dead simple to grow successfully and they are very prolific. Harvest Peas while they are young and fresh, preferably before you can see individual peas pushing through the pods (true for all three types).  You should be able to start picking 6-8 weeks after planting your Peas.  Broad Beans will take 2-3 weeks longer to mature they are also best picked before the beans bulge through the pods.  As a rule of thumb pick when they are 10-15cm long.  I'm hedging here because we picked some green beans recently at Tony Lanza's farm, they were huge! Kerry and I were worried they might be woody but we couldn't have been more wrong. These plants were grown in their fertile market garden soil and were irrigated regularly, the Beans were huge, tender and sweet.  Wonderful!


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