Gardening Australia - - CONTENTS -

Botanical name Pisum sativum

An an­nual herba­ceous climb­ing or semi-climb­ing plant, with pale green fo­liage, curly ten­drils, white or pur­ple flow­ers, and green, yel­low or pur­ple pods that con­tain ed­i­ble seeds.


Green­feast, Massey Gem, Golden Pod­ded, Novella, Pur­ple Pod­ded Dutch, Sugar Snap Bush, Tele­phone Pole, Ear­li­crop Massey Bush

Plant­ing & care

Sow in au­tumn and win­ter in frost-free tem­per­ate and sub­trop­i­cal ar­eas, or in spring in cold dis­tricts (they are not suited to the trop­ics). They like sun and pro­tec­tion from wind. Soil must be well drained with plenty of com­post or well-aged ma­nure added be­fore plant­ing, and a pH of 6–7 (add lime if be­low 6). Bush types are rel­a­tively self-sup­port­ing when sown 10–15cm apart in dou­ble rows. Climb­ing types need a sup­port, such as a bam­boo teepee, ver­ti­cal wires on a fence or plas­tic mesh stretched be­tween stakes. Sow 3–4 seeds, 3–5cm deep at the base of each teepee pole or wire, or 5cm apart at the base of mesh. Pea seeds rot in con­stantly wet soils so water in well, then don’t water un­til they start grow­ing. In­sert twigs be­side seedlings to guide them to their sup­port. Grad­u­ally in­crease wa­ter­ing as plants get go­ing.

Har­vest­ing & prun­ing

Pods start to form in about 10 weeks. Peak har­vest lasts about three weeks, so plant reg­u­larly for a suc­ces­sive har­vest. Eat pod and all when young and ten­der. Pick shelling peas when pods are just plump. Har­vest every cou­ple of days and eat at once. Lightly blanch and freeze ex­cess.

Turn to page 70 for pea recipes.

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