Sow Pea Seeds Now to Enjoy Decorative Flowers & the Sweet Taste of Delicious Peas, Pods, Leaves & Tendrils in Late Spring & Summertime!

Sow pea seeds now to enjoy decorative flowers and the sweet taste of delicious peas, pods, leaves and tendrils in late spring and summertime!

Homegrown peas are a taste sensation!  Peas are decorative plants that produce handsome flowers and tasty edible leaves, tendrils, pods, and peas.  You’ll need a bright and sunny area to grow these delicious vegetables (peas won’t grow in the shade).  If you have a sunshiny patch of garden with moist, well-drained soil, I’d encourage you to grow these magnificent edible plants.

Pea ‘Rosakrone’ in flower. This pea has such pretty flowers; the blooms are small in size and very dainty. ‘Rosakrone’ plants usually grow up to around 1.2-1.5m (4-5ft) tall. These plants need a support framework.

If you have access to soil, direct sow: Pea ‘Oskar’, Pea ‘Rosakrone’, Mangetout ‘Golden Sweet’, and Pea ‘Sugar Magnolia’

‘Oskar’ is a first-early pea from the Czech Republic. I’ve been growing this pea every year, because it can be sown at the start of the season and ‘Oskar’ produces super sweet and tender peas. ‘Oskar’ pea plants grow up to 90cm (3ft) tall.

For early sowings, I’ve been impressed with a sweet and delicious pea called ‘Oskar’ (from Real Seeds) that I sow in early March.  ‘Oskar’ is a fast-growing pea.  Plants reach 90cm (3ft) tall.  Later, I’ll sow Pea ‘Rosakrone’, Mangetout ‘Golden Sweet’, and Pea ‘Sugar Magnolia’ (all from Real Seeds).

‘Oskar’ is a quick-growing, early pea. I sow this pea before the other varieties I’ve mentioned in this article.
This is a Sugar Snap Pea ‘Sugar Magnolia’ flower. Peas are very decorative plants that will thrive in a bright and sunny area and flourish in almost any moist but well-drained soil. Never grow peas in wet and waterlogged areas or in shaded spots, as the plants won’t succeed in these conditions.
This is a Sugar Snap Pea called ‘Sugar Magnolia’ that produces flowers in shades of Burgundy, pink, and purple, which are followed by these striking inky-purple coloured pods. Harvest the pods soon after they appear on the plant for flat pods, or wait a little longer for fuller pods. Alternatively, delay harvesting until the peas are ready. The peas, pea pods, pea leaves, shoots, and tendrils are all edible; they all have delightful pea flavours.
The purple pea pods are Sugar Snap Pea ‘Sugar Magnolia’ the green pea pods are from a pea called ‘Rosakrone’. I bought these peas from Real Seeds.
It’s lovely to watch bees pollinating pea flowers. I really enjoy growing plants for bees, insects, and wildlife.
Mangetout ‘Golden Sweet’ produces lots of soft-yellow coloured pods. Pick the pea pods soon after they appear to eat as sweet and crisp mangetout or leave the pods on the plant and allow the peas to develop. Either way, ‘Golden Sweet’ really are sweet and delicious – this mangetout pea is well worth growing.

For container gardens: sow Pea ‘Half Pint’

This is Pea ‘Half Pint’, a gorgeous dainty pea that thrives in containers. Peas are naturally deep-rooted plants that require soil or compost with a depth of 20cm (7inches) but ‘Half Pint’ is easy-to-grow pea that will still do well in smaller containers, provided you use a good quality growing medium (I grew these peas using Dalefoot Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads) and water whenever necessary.

If you have a patio garden or balcony without any option to sow seeds directly in the soil, forget the aforementioned peas and grow ‘Half Pint’ (from Mr. Fothergill’s), a delightful, self-supporting dwarf pea that flourishes in containers of peat-free compost.  I use Dalefoot Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads.

These are just the pods from two ‘Half Pint’ pea plants. This pea produces pods that usually contain between 4 and 6 sweet and tasty peas inside.
It’s important to ensure that container grown plants have access to moisture and their growing media isn’t allowed to remain dry for long. Peas need to be watered while they are in flower and whilst their pods and peas are developing.

Supporting peas

I recommend installing a pea support system before sowing seeds; this makes it easier to sow seed in optimum positions.  Check the back of the seed packet for your pea’s eventual height and ensure your supports are a fraction taller.

Mangetout ‘Golden Sweet’ plants will grow up to a maximum of 1.5-1.8m (5-6ft) and need a strong and sturdy support frame with lots of places for their tendrils to cling to.

Prunings of twiggy sticks work very well indeed as pea supports, but not everyone has access to a supply of twiggy sticks, and sticks need replacing every year or two.  Many years ago, one of my neighbours was removing and disposing of the wire mesh fencing around their garden.  I was given lengths of PVC covered metal fencing, which I’ve treasured it ever since; as wire mesh fencing works exceptionally well for supporting peas.  I weave tall poles through the mesh, then insert the canes into the soil to create a sturdy support frame that can be installed and removed in a matter of moments and has all the footholds my peas require, from soil level and up.

Bees and other pollinating insects are attracted to peas and pollinate pea flowers. This image also shows the wire mesh fencing I use to support my peas.
Sugar Snap Pea ‘Sugar Magnolia’ plants will grow up to 1.5-1.8m (5-6ft) tall. These plants need supports to climb up. I rarely tie my pea plants in, as the plants are able to easily climb up my wire mesh supports and there are so many places for their tendrils to cling on to.

For a continuous supply of peas: sow a row (or container) of seeds now, then sow new rows (or containers) every two to four weeks, throughout the spring and early summer months.

‘Rosakrone’ peas form almost all their pods at the top of the plants; this makes it very easy to check the peas and gather your harvest, because there’s no bending involved.
‘Rosakrone’ peas can be sown from the beginning of April to the end of May (in the UK). However, in the South East and in warmer areas of the country, ‘Rosakrone’ seeds can be sown as early as March and the sowing season could be extended to the end of June, depending on the weather and growing conditions. Sow seed every two weeks to generate a regular harvest of tasty peas.

Protect peas from mice

Rodents are a skilled and determined adversary; mice will take pea seeds and young seedlings but once the plants reach 10cm (4inch) tall they lose interest.  Protect pea seeds using a shield made of a double layer of chicken wire (with the tiniest holes you can find); overlapped (to make smaller gaps).

Growing peas in drainpipes

Alternatively, follow Geoff Hamilton’s method: sow pea seeds in lengths of guttering filled with soil or peat-free compost.  External stop ends clip on the end of the drainpipe (alternatively use slate or stone) to prevent compost falling out and provide the maximum growing area; whatever you use, ensure that excess water can drain away, as pea seeds and seedlings will die in wet, waterlogged soil.

When planting out gutter-grown peas, water your peas first and make a shallow drill to plant the peas.  Remove your drainpipe’s end caps, then tilt the drainpipe and gently slide the compost into the row.

When you’re harvesting peas, it’s easier to find coloured pea pods like these ‘Golden Sweet’ mangetout, as the yellow pods stand out against the plant’s green leaves and stems. Green-podded peas are more of a challenge to spot.
Breeder, Alan Kapuler PhD, named Sugar Snap Pea ‘Sugar Magnolia’ after the Grateful Dead song from the 1970 album ‘American Beauty’.

Other lovely things to do in March

For more gardening advice for March, please click here.

To see my Vegetable Plant Pages, with pictures and advice for growing a wide range of vegetables, please click here.

To see all my Plant Pages and choose whether to view edible, ornamental plants, including plants for bees and butterflies, fruit, perennials, cut flowers, roses, scented plants, trees, shrubs, ferns, houseplants, and orchids, please click here.

For more articles on edible gardening, please click here.

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