Real Men Sow

What I Did to Get Good Peas (Or Was it the Weather?)

I’m currently rejoicing at my first successful pea crop in ages.

It’s a great feeling, as I almost gave up on them after last year, especially after working out how little they saved me compared to other more space-efficient vegetables. I couldn’t believe you can get a kilo of frozen peas from the shops for little over a pound.

However, fresh peas are so delicious, and such a traditional allotment crop, that I couldn’t resist sowing some more this year. They can’t be rubbish every year, surely?

The Star Crop of 2012
And what a result. At the moment, they’re the shining light in a difficult year. I’ve harvested three big bagfulls so far, and the little green pods are still coming. Jolly tasty they are too, whether nibbled straight off the plant, or boiled gently at home with my dinner.

This success has led me to ask why this year, of all years, has delivered a bumper pea crop. Veg success rates baffle me, year to year. I do the same things, yet one season I’ll have success in one veg, but a failure in others. Sometimes I wonder if actually, veg growing is completely random.

Was it the Trench?
That said, I reckon I’ve worked out a few reasons for a good 2012 pea crop. They’re not all of my doing, but I did try a couple of different methods. I sowed the peas in pots under cover as normal, but this year I prepared a trench where I was to plant out the baby pea seedlings.

I dug the trench several weeks before planting out, and filled it with manure. Peas like well dug soil with good amounts of organic matter, so in theory peas will love growing on top of a good, nicely prepared trench. Trenches such as this also retain moisture, which peas like too.

Or Was it the Cold and Rain?
In the past, I’ve found my peas dried up and died off, so perhaps the extra levels of rainfall we’ve had also helped my peas grow on.

I also wonder if the colder spring has contributed to a good crop. Peas enjoy cooler temperatures, and will die off if the temperature gets above 20 degrees or so. From memory, past springs have been warm, which could certainly have contributed to my previously poor pea crop.

Yes, I can do it!
Whether the plentiful peas is down to my tinkering, assistance from the wet weather, or a bit of both, it’s very gratifying to know that I can actually grow this veg. For me, some veg, like squashes and beets, are as much a certainty as death and taxes, but others, such as peas and caulis have proven very hit and miss.

It’s deeply satisfying to see more of my ‘can do’ column become ticked off as each year passes. Last year I nailed sweet potatoes and outdoor cucumbers, hopefully this year will bring some more successes on top of my peas (the humble spring onion would do!). Next up, sweetcorn and cauliflowers.

Then maybe, just maybe, they’ll all grow well in the same year…

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4 Comments

  1. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!July 3, 2012 at 9:46 pmReply

    Jono, I envy your long pea season. I think all of the factors you mentioned contributed, but cool weather probably most.

    I’d consider 2012 to be a success for peas in my garden too, but my peas were done with a month ago. :(

  2. StacyJuly 4, 2012 at 10:37 amReply

    I have had a bumper crop this year too, i think its down to the weather, last year my peas we just covered in mildew and due to the hot weather just kept dring up. i have never seen so many peas as i have this year.

  3. Dee SewellJuly 8, 2012 at 10:33 pmReply

    Glad to see you didn’t give up! My peas in the polytunnel are collapsing with the weight at present and must get around to picking them! Outside they’re only just coming on as the first batch were devoured by slugs. The little slimy critters have moved onto the bean plants now as clearly tasty so hoping for a good crop outside too now :)

  4. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » A Patch From Scratch: Thoughts on Starting Out Part 1 – Why Am I Growing?July 30, 2012 at 8:44 pmReply

    [...] be choosier with my seed purchases too. Some of the heritage varieties I’ve tried this season have really distinctive flavours, and are interesting to grow for that reason [...]

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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