Winter has been cold this year but it’s still possible to plant peas, both those used for shelling and those eaten pods and all, like snow peas (sometimes called ‘mangetout’, literally: “eat all”).

Peas need a soil temperature of less than 20°C to germinate, which will be no problem at this time of year!

If your garden soil is too cold (less than 8°C), sow your pea seeds into a toilet roll tube or make a paper pot from newspaper by rolling it around a narrow, straight-sided container, then folding the bottom – the soil will hold the folds of the paper pot (or toilet roll) in place. Detailed instructions for making pots can be found on YouTube.

Ideally, pea seeds are sown directly, at an average distance of 5-8cm apart (check your plant label for the variety you are growing). Pea seeds will germinate in 7-21 days, depending on the temperature of your soil and the air temperatures at night. If you sowed your seeds into a paper pot, plant them out when they are a few centimetres tall. If you leave it too long, the transplant shock may set them back quite a bit.

Young pea plants can be hit hard by frost, so if frost is a problem in your garden, make sure you cover the plants at night with horticultural fleece or something similar.

All peas, even dwarf varieties, will need support: trellis, fence, arch, teepee, another plant, etc

PSW seed bank has several types of peas available to current financial members.
These are:

  • ‘Alderman’ (aka ‘Telephone’) – a tall growing shelling pea
  • ‘Capucyner’ – purple podded peas that can be used fresh or dried
  • ‘Golden Podded’ – tall growing, young pods can be eaten as snow peas
  • ‘Green Feast’ – dwarf plant to 90cm, shelling pea
  • ‘Mammoth Melting’ – tall growing snow pea variety
  • ‘Novella’ – a strange looking dwarf plant, which is more tendrils than leaves
  • ‘Sugar Snap’ – climber to 1.2m; shelling pea, more frost hardy than other varieties
  • ‘Yakumo’- snow pea with large pods, up to 15cm in the right conditions

Orders for pea seeds from the PSW Seed Bank are now closed.