DWARF, CLIMBING & SWEET PEAS
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 slowly 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 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. For a continuous supply, plant a selection of early, mid and late season varieties. For example, the dwarf variety ‘William Massey’ is a classic early season garden pea, maturing in 70-80 days. ‘Greenfeast’ is also dwarf, but it’s a mid-season variety, maturing in 80-85 days. ‘Giant Alderman’ is tall growing (2-3m) and late maturing – up to 100 days. This popular heirloom’s pods contain up to 11 peas. For climbers, use the same stakes 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. Protect your trenches with chicken mesh, bits of bracken fern or small twigs from hungry birds who will otherwise scratch the seeds out as soon as they pop up.
This is a period of low vitaility where growth is minimal and sap run is low. Weeding is the best use of a gardener’s time. Gardening by the moon Plant root crops. Last quarter