Minding Your Peas and Q’s

For the last few years I have grown Kelvedon Wonder peas, they were one of the economy brands and came as a fairly large pack. They were lovely and sweet, and I liked picking a few to eat when I went into the garden. 

When they finished last year, I thought of ‘Tom Thumb’ to try this year, they are good for growing in patio pots as they are only about 20 cms tall. They do provide a reasonable harvest but I was disappointed with the flavour. They are quite hard before they are even fully grown, so I suspect they might be tasty if cooked but a little tasteless if you like to nibble them fresh from the pod.

Only just sown, because my neighbour keeps finding me sale bargains of reduced price seeds, are the Hurst Green Shaft peas, which are promised to have a ‘fabulous flavour’. Recommended by various suppliers as the ‘one to sow’.  A later arrival, they get a container to themselves and at about 10 cms tall yet, they still have a long way to go, but I may get to taste them before the season is out.

The absolute stars are the purple podded peas, which were a bit of a disappointment last year, partly due to snails sitting in ambush. They are stunning. They have to fit into my permaculture containers, so share with dwarf curly kale and marigolds. But as climbers, they have been extremely well behaved and grew up the netting at the back of the container. The flowers are purple and pink and the pods, a deep maroonish purple covered with a bloom which makes them look like velvet. They are tasty and when cooked, they turn green. They are such a pretty addition, I will grow more of them next year.

Purple podded peas June

Also to the left of the photograph above, is my second permaculure container, and sharing it are kale, (Nero di Toscana), pot marigolds with achocha (fat baby) climbing the net.

Sweet peas, Sarah Raven’s ‘harlequin’, should be growing up the arch, but even tied to it they have gone their own way, like an unruly teenager. Checking on the website, Sarah Raven says to remove the climbing tendrils. The tendrils these plants have look as if they had no intention of climbing anywhere. I tied more stems up but they made no effort to climb on their own. Now they look like a ball of tangled, unravelled wool, defying me to straighten them out. However, I can almost forgive them, as coming close to the arch, there is a waft of highly perfumed sweet peas, mingled with the perfume of the ‘Handel’ rose at the other side of the arch.


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