Friday, August 1, 2014

How do I tie my Snow Peas?

Seriously it is 6 Deg out here and blowing a gale.  Snow Peas growing in a raised bed outside my office.

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 good question.  

Our Snow Pea Bikini (Oregon Sugar Pod is the real name) is a dwarf variety so it doesn't need a great deal of support.  Trellis is better than a stake or one of those inverted wire cones they sell for Tomatoes, this allows the plant to spread out and absorb as much sun as possible. It also allows the air to move around the foliage which helps prevent powdery mildew which is very common in peas, especially at this time of year.  
If possible tie the stems loosely to the trellis/stake with old stockings or a product called Jolley Ties (I'm not aware of a web site but they are stocked by most decent garden centres), it's a fabric off cut that is strong but very gentle on the plant stem.  Tie as often as the stems appear to need support.  Use figure 8 loops to prevent crushing the plant stem directly against the support structure. This is a one season crop so you need not worry about creating a  plant dependent on the support.
Snow Peas, Snap Peas and Podding Peas are ideal for planting now and harvesting through Spring. Personally my favourite are the Honey Pod Snap Peas, true to their name the small fat pods are very sweet. We certainly find that Snow Peas and Snap Peas are much more popular than the more traditional Podding Pea (Massey Gem), probably because they are much easier to handle when cooking.... no need for shelling.

Peas at a glance
Position.  Full sun.  Grow in Spring and Autumn but avoid the heat of Summer.
Soil. Prepare thoroughly. They are hungry beasts so add organic fertilizer generously.  Dwarf Peas make ideal pot plants, use fresh, quality potting mix, they will require a top dressing of manure once they start setting fruit. Peas prefer a slightly alkaline soil so additions of lime or gypsum will help.
Visitors.  No white butterfly issues here.  Use broken egg shells to deter snails.  Peas are prone to Powdery Mildew if they are stressed, grow them in a sunny position where they get plenty of fresh air flow (yes finding the balance between too windy and too protected is half the challenge).
Companions. Peas grow well with lots of vegies. Tall plants like Corn & Tomatoes can provide wind protection.  Peas don't like growing close to Onions and their relatives.

Peas were one of the most successful vegetables introduced to Australia with the first fleet.

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