Last Updated on January 26, 2023 by Real Men Sow
When I first started gardening, growing mangetout peas in my garden was one of the first pea plant seeds on my shopping list. Every allotment holder and GYOer grows peas, right? They’re a plot staple. Where would we be without the good old garden pea?
Growing Mangetout Peas On Wigwam And Containers in Your Garden
Growing mangetout pea plant and sweet peas have always been hit-and-miss for me. I’ve grown them in lots of different ways, ranging from up wigwams (the most successful for me) to containers, as well the traditional garden methods, such as supporting dwarf varieties with twigs and sticks.
Growing Mangetout Pea Plants from Seed
The trouble is, I’ve often felt underwhelmed by the yield of the produce. Everything would look promising, but by the time I’d shelled the pea pods, there wouldn’t be much to show for the considerable space the plants were taking up. Then I discovered sowing mangetout, and slowly, everything changed. For anyone who doesn’t know, mangetout is a type of pea plant, but they’re the little flat pea pods, which you eat whole before the peas swell.
Do the mangetout pea plants grow every year?
Each year that I’ve grown mangetout, they’ve outcropped the peas. Given the same space as peas, mangetout provides so much more bang for the buck, and now my peas are on the brink of being phased out completely in favour of the bigger mangetout harvests. With space being at a premium in the garden beds, I’ve no room for both, and there’s only ever going to be one winner. It is with veggie growing regret that I’m not giving peas a chance.
When growing mangetout, it’s critical to choose a spot with full sun exposure and soil that drains well. The pH range that works best for the plants is 6.0 to 7.0. They should be spaced about 2-3 inches apart in rows 18-24 inches apart, whether grown in raised beds or directly in the ground.
Growing Mangetout Peas to Save Money
In stores, mangetout peas are significantly more expensive than other peas, such as snap peas and snow peas. I noticed this when we picked up a big bag of frozen peas from the local supermarket for just over a quid. I couldn’t believe how cheap they were—loads of British peas, at a cheaper price than a packet of seeds.
Cost of Planting Mangetout
On the other hand, the price of mangetout is through the roof. A 215g packet of mangetout costs £1.40 in one of the big supermarkets—that’s a whopping £6.51 a kilo, compared to just £1.50 for the same quantity of peas. I know mangetout is out of season and the peas are frozen, so the comparison is possibly a bit unfair, but that’s plenty of food for thought if you’re growing to save money.
Pick Good Mangetout Pea Plants Garden Varieties
If you want to try your hand at mangetout, I recommend the dependable and popular Oregon Sugar Pod AGM or the heritage seed variety Golden Sweet.
Oregon Sugar Pod is the best sown in a row and has grown against some netting. The plant will reach about a meter high, making it a doddle to harvest.
Golden Sweet are available from Real Seeds and are trickier to pick as they can grow up to six feet high. I grew this variety up a wigwam a couple of years ago, and it was the best harvest of mangetout I’ve ever had. Even the courgettes couldn’t keep up!