SOW PEAS – DWARF, CLIMBING & SWEET
Winter is the only season when, for most of us, the vege garden ‘‘to do’’ list focuses on what’s coming out of the garden rather than what’s going into it. There’s very little that can be sown successfully in cold, wet soil and transplanting tiny seedlings can seem equally futile, given how slow these baby plants grow without the benefit of a plastic cloche.
What will still germinate if sown direct this month? Broad beans and peas of all types. Provided your soil isn’t frozen solid or so saturated that the seeds rot before they sprout, peas will germinate within 2-3 weeks and grow throughout winter, cropping in early spring.
My favourite variety for shelling is ‘Sugarsnap Climbing’. Use the same stakes/trellis as you use for runner beans in summer, but keep in mind that peas will need tying for a leg up early in the season. Most importantly, protect your trenches from hungry birds who will scratch the seeds out as soon as they pop up otherwise. Protect pea beds with chicken mesh, bits of bracken fern or small twigs.